Catholic women who have undergone an abortion are keeping their right to ask a local priest to absolve them, Pope Francis has said.
The Pontiff is indefinitely extending permission he gave during the recent Holy Year of Mercy which allowed all priests to declare such women free of guilt.
He said: "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."
Prior to the Holy Year of Mercy, which ended on Sunday, the ability to absolve women who have undergone the termination of a pregnancy was reserved for bishops and special confessors.
In an Apostolic Letter released by the Vatican on Monday, Pope Francis went on to say: "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]."
Cementing his position on abortion, he added: "I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life."
A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference
In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.
Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.
For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.
Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.