Pope gives priests permanent right to pardon abortion

Pope Francis greets the crowd from the popemobile after a mass marking the end of the Vatican's jubilee year on November 20, 2016

Pope Francis declared Monday that all priests would have the right to forgive abortion, making permanent a temporary measure put in place for the Vatican’s jubilee year.

“I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion,” the pope wrote in an apostolic letter marking the end of the “Year of Mercy”, which wound up Sunday.

“The provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended,” he wrote.

The Argentine, 79, said he had to “restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life”.

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