Pope Francis made it easier for Catholic women who have had abortions to receive absolution during confession, reported CBS News.
During the Jubilee year of Mercy, beginning December 8, priests all around the world will be able to grant forgiveness for abortions, which the Catholic Church considers a “reserved sin.” Such sins generally result in automatic excommunication: being banned from all sacraments, including confession. Abortion remains a reserved sin, but during the Jubilee year of Mercy, priests can forgive the sin and provide absolution.
“I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal,” Francis said in a letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, head of Jubilee initiatives. “I have met many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision.”
Normally, if one confesses to having an abortion, priests must first receive approval from the local bishop before offering absolution.