Tags: pope | abortion | forgiveness | priests

Pope's Abortion Forgiveness: Power of Priests Extended

Image: Pope's Abortion Forgiveness: Power of Priests Extended

Pope Francis walks past a crucifix, during a weekly general audience at St Peter's square on Nov. 16, 2016, in Vatican. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 21 Nov 2016 11:11 AM

Pope Francis gave priests abortion forgiveness power Monday, a power that is formally reserved for bishops.

The pope's move was seen as mostly symbolic, and many bishops had already conceded their power of abortion forgiveness to their priests, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life," Pope Francis wrote in a document released by the Vatican Monday. "However, I can and must state 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."

The Journal wrote that the move could also reflect Pope Francis's belief that the Catholic Church has overemphasized that issue in its moral teaching.

Granting priests the power to forgive abortion was a continuation of a special dispensation given last year for the duration of the Year of Mercy, which ended Sunday, CNN reported.

The broadcaster reported that Pope Francis has moved to what it calls "a more forgiving, merciful" direction since he became leader of the Catholic Church in March 2013. His positions have been more friendly toward those groups at the outer edge of the faith, like gays and lesbians, and divorced Catholics.

"The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented," Pope Francis said at the time regarding women who faced the "agonizing and painful" decision to end their pregnancy, CNN reported.

Some on social media, though, took a negative view on Pope Francis's announcement.

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Pope Francis gave priests abortion forgiveness power Monday, a power that is formally reserved for bishops.
pope, abortion, forgiveness, priests
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2016-11-21
Monday, 21 Nov 2016 11:11 AM
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