In his Apostolic Letter “Misericordia et Misera“, marking the end of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis permanently granted the power to forgive abortions to all Priests. Previously and traditionally, only the Pope himself could forgive the sin of procuring an abortion.
Francis, as part of the Year of Mercy, had temporarily granted the faculty to all priests but has decided to make the change permanent.
In his letter, he wrote “Given this need, 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. The provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary.”
The Pontiff was careful to leave no ambiguity that the sin of abortion remained a very grave matter and that no change in its gravity was being signaled.
“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, 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. May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.” the letter read.
Pope Francis also extended the decree that made Confession and Absolution granted by SSPX priests validly and licit “until further provisions are made.”
Read the Full Letter Here