Pope Francis has declared that abortion, which remains a “grave sin” in the eyes of the Catholic Church, can be forgiven by ordinary priests for the foreseeable future — instead of requiring the intervention of a bishop.
The announcement was made in an apostolic letter released on Monday, November 21, 2016.
Francis wrote in Misericordia et misera, an apostolic letter concluding the Year of Mercy, that “there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach,” while staunchly reiterating that “abortion is a grave sin.”
In the letter, the Pope also extended his decree that allow SSPX priests to hear valid confessions.
In the U.S., Catholic News Service reports
that most bishops have routinely granted the faculty to their priests, but the Year of Mercy made the permission universal.