Ignoring critics on the left and right, Pope Francis says all priests can now grant forgiveness to women for having abortions. It used to be only bishops and “special confessors” had that authority.“While firmly restating his opposition to abortion as ‘a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,’ the pope affirmed that ‘there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father,’” said The New York Times.
The move had an earlier precedent, the Times noted:
“Pope Francis’ decision last year, at the start of the jubilee, followed in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II, who granted priests the same right during the previous holy year, in 2000.
“Under canon law, abortion brings automatic excommunication unless the person receiving or performing it confesses and receives absolution. Abortion is considered a ‘reserved sin,’ meaning that permission to grant forgiveness usually must come from a bishop.”
Not everyone was thrilled:
— ((Wendy McClelland)) (@wendyweb47) November 21, 2016
I would rather Pope Francis give priests the power to understand why abortions are needed in the first place. Start there, please.
— Charles Clymer (@cmclymer) November 21, 2016
The Pope gave priests the ability to forgive women for abortions, but God gave me the ability to forgive priests for thinking anyone cares.
— call me liv📎 (@liv_thatsme) November 21, 2016
I love & respect Pope Francis. But think this condemnation of religious right is sort of Christian Gaslighting. No Abortions = Trump SCOTUS https://t.co/w7s2gFQVGv
— Rhonda Jo Aldrich (@RoosterWrangler) November 13, 2016
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