By Mike DeNardo
VATICAN CITY (CBS) — Pope Francis says he’s giving all priests the authority to forgive women of the “sin of abortion” if they are repentant.READ MORE: America Marks Juneteenth As A Federal Holiday
The church still considers abortion a serious sin. But in a letter, Pope Francis is granting all priests the authority to forgive women who have had abortions, if they are contrite.
Priests will have the power during the church’s Year of Mercy that begins in December.READ MORE: Dre's Homemade Water Ice And Ice Cream Now Sets Up Spot At Spruce Harbor Park
Dr. William Madges, a professor of theology at St. Joesph’s University, says it’s not about minimizing the seriousness of abortion, but about the pope’s desire to expand capacity for mercy.
“I think it’s one additional piece of evidence of how throroughly committed he is to understand God, and by extension, to understand his paschal ministry to be first and foremost about compassion and mercy.”MORE NEWS: Man Killed, Woman Injured In Double Shooting In Olney, Police Say
Normally, only bishops can grant permission to forgive the sin of abortion. The pope’s action expends that authority to all priests for one year.