In an Apostolic Letter made public Monday, Francis said he was extending indefinitely the special permission he had granted to all rank-and-file priests during the just ended Holy Year of Mercy.
“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, the pope wrote in the 10-page letter, signed Sunday, the day the Holy Year ended.
But, 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.”
Because the Roman Catholic Church holds abortion to be such a serious sin, absolution had long been a matter for a bishop, who could either hear the woman’s confession himself or delegate it to a priest considered an expert in such situations, a potentially intimidating scenario for many of the faithful.
In his letter, the pope appeared to acknowledge that. “Lest any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God’s forgiveness,” he wrote, “I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion.”
A top Vatican official, Monsignor Rino Fisichella, told a news conference at the Vatican on Monday that the pope’s words applied to all those who were involved in an abortion — “from the women to the nurse to the doctor and whoever supports this procedure.”
“The sin of abortion is inclusive. Thus forgiveness for the sin of abortion is all-inclusive and extends to all those who are participants in this sin,” Fisichella said.
The pope is “absolutely not” lessening the gravity of the sin of abortion, Fisichella added in comments to Sky TG24.
During the recent U.S. presidential election campaign, some pastors urged their congregations to keep in mind the “sacredness in life” — seen as a reference to abortion — when deciding which candidate would get their vote. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump voiced opposition to abortion during his campaign, while his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, supported women’s right to have an abortion.
In his letter on abortion, Francis made plain that there can be no ambiguity in laying out moral principles, even while stressing the church’s merciful side.
Addressing priests, Francis wrote: “I ask you to be welcoming to all, witnesses of fatherly love whatever the gravity of the sin involved, attentive in helping penitents to reflect on the evil they have done, clear in presenting moral principles, willing to walk patiently beside the faithful on their penitential journey, farsighted in discerning individual cases and generous in dispensing God’s forgiveness.”
“Mercy cannot become a mere parenthesis in the life of the church; it constitutes her very existence,” Francis wrote.
Mar_2:7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
JESUS IS COMING. THE BEAST, THE PAPACY, PRESENT DAY BABYLON IS CATHOLICISM AND THE POPE. THIS MAN HAS SAT ON THE THRONE MAKING HIMSELF TO BE GOD TO DECLARE TO FORGIVE SINS OVER THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD. HE HAS MADE HIMSELF GOD BY PURPOTING TO DECLARE JUDGEMENT ON BEHALF OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.
JESUS IS COMING FRIEND. IF YOU ARE A CATHOLIC AND READING THIS, I BEG YOU IN THE NAME OF GOD, PLEASE LEAVE THAT CHURCH AND START READING YOUR BIBLE. PLEASE. IT IS NOT TOO LATE.
IF YOU ARE NOT A CATHOLIC, THIS IS A WARNING. IS YOUR LIFE IN ORDER? ARE YOU READY FOR CHRIST? NOT A MINUTE SHOULD BE LOST TO THIS WORLD AND IT’S DECEPTIVE PLEASURES. THE END IS HERE WITH US, AND THIS POPE HAS CONFIRMED IT.