Pope Francis

Pope indefinitely extends special permission on abortion

Pope indefinitely extends special permission on abortion beyond Holy Year of Mercy.

Pope Francis is allowing all priests to absolve women of the “grave sin” of abortion, extending indefinitely special permission he had granted for the duration of the just-ended Holy Year of Mercy.

Francis wrote in the Apostolic Letter made public by the Vatican on Monday 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 God.

But he also wrote: “I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life.”

Because the Roman Catholic Church holds abortion to be such a serious sin, it had long put the matter of granting forgiveness for it in the hands of a bishop, who could either hear the woman’s confession himself or delegate that to a priest who was expert in such situations.

But in 2015, Francis had said he was allowing all rank-and-file priests to grant absolution for an abortion for the duration of the Holy Year, which ran from Dec. 8, 2015 through Nov. 20, 2016.

By now letting all priests absolve the sin of abortion on a permanent basis following the end of the Holy Year, Francis is further applying his vision of a merciful church to those women who, as he has written in the past, felt they had no choice but to make “this agonizing and painful decision.”

“May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation” for faithful who had abortions, Francis wrote.

He explained his rationale thusly: “Lest any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God’s forgiveness, 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 provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary.”

How to form consciences on abortion figured in how bishops in the United States advised their flock during the recently ended U.S. presidential election campaign.

Some pastors urged their congregations to keep the sacredness in life in mind when deciding which candidate would get their vote. The “sacredness of life” phrase is widely seen as referring to abortion. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump voiced his opposition to abortion while campaigning, while his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, supported women’s right to have an abortion.

The Associated Press

Just Posted

Cruise ships leading culprits in rising greenhouse gas emissions at Ogden Point: report

The GVHA released its Emissions Inventory Report just days after City asks for restrictions

Saanich man charged in cross-border drug smuggling operation pleads guilty

William Milton Barnes was charged following a six-month joint investigation

Sentencing date set for Oak Bay father convicted of killing his two daughters

Andrew Berry was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder last month

Langford woman charged after allegedly racking up $10,000 in loans using stolen identity

A 32-year-old Langford woman faces theft, fraud, and impersonation charges

Victoria city staff start from square one on Crystal Pool project

Victoria staff need direction on revised plans for the Crystal Pool and Wellness Project

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

B.C. principal suspended for failing to help student who reported inappropriate touching

Principal didn’t remove student from the teacher’s class nor call the parents within a reasonable time

Port Moody mayor goes back on unpaid leave during sex assault investigation

Rob Vagramov said he intends to return as mayor in three or four weeks

UBC issues statement after instructor tells students to vote for Liberal Party

University says partisan messaging was not intentional

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Cowichan Valley brothers win big in lottery for second time

Playing same numbers net big wins over a three year period

B.C. woman finds mysterious coin among Grandma’s collection

Grandmother died when she was very young and her past is not well known to her mother

Report of gunshots leads to discovery of deceased male in Campbell River

Police conduct investigation in the south end of Campbell River

Most Read