Pope Francis on Tuesday called on priests to pardon women who have abortions during the upcoming Jubilee year — overruling hardline traditionalists within the Catholic Church.
“I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness,” he said.
In a message outlining special measures for the Jubilee year starting in December, Francis said he knew that while “abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness” many others “believe that they have no other option”.
The Argentine pontiff said he was “well aware of the pressure” that some women were under to abort, adding that he had “met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonising and painful decision”.
Abortion is considered a particularly serious sin and is punishable under Canon law by excommunication, by which those guilty are expelled from the Church and considered to be condemned to Hell in the afterlife.
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