- Title: Pope extends power to forgive abortion to all priests in the world
- Date: 21st November 2016
- Summary: VATICAN CITY (NOVEMBER 21, 2016) (REUTERS) ARCHBISHOP RINO FISICHELLA AND VATICAN SPOKESMAN GREGORY BURKE ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE FISICHELLA SITTING DOWN VARIOUS APOSTOLIC LETTER NEWS CONFERENCE TAKING PLACE MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ARCHBISHOP RINO FISICHELLA, SAYING: "Technically everyone who is involved in an abortion, that is the woman, nurses, the doctor, whoever supports this matter, the sin of abortion involves all. Thus, the pardon of the sin of abortion equally covers everyone, involves everyone who has played a part in this sin." NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ANSA JOURNALIST GIOVANNA CHIRRI, SAYING: "The pope is not at all turning back on important issues of faith, for example, he defines abortion as a crime, I cannot quite remember his exact definition but definitely he calls it a crime, and he also said it again yesterday in an interview. But the way this (sin) is looked at changes. He (the pope) says, in the bible God is so full of mercy that no priest, no law, can be held up against a sinner if God decides to pardon them. This is something quite serious." NEWS CONFERENCE ENDING
- Embargoed: 6th December 2016 13:03
- Keywords: Pope Holy Year letter Vatican abortion
- Location: VATICAN CITY
- City: VATICAN CITY
- Country: Vatican City
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA00259E0EO7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Pope Francis on Monday (November 21) indefinitely granted all Roman Catholic priests around the world the power to forgive "the grave sin" of abortion, which was previously reserved for bishops or special confessors.
Francis, who has made a more inclusive and forgiving church a major plank of his papacy, made the announcement in a document known as an "apostolic letter," after Sunday's close of the Catholic Church's "Holy Year of Mercy."
The pope had temporarily granted the power to all priests to give what is known as "sacramental absolution" for abortion during the Holy Year, which lasted from Dec. 8 to Nov. 20.
The tone of the pope's words in Monday's letter suggested that change would last for at least the rest of his papacy.
Francis said he wanted to "restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life."
But he said "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)."
In Church teaching, abortion is such a serious sin that those who procure or perform it incur an automatic excommunication, or total cut off from the Church, until it is absolved in confession.
In the past, only a bishop or a designated chief confessor of a diocese could grant absolution for an abortion.
Although bishops in some dioceses in developed countries such as the United States and Britain had already delegated this authority to parish priests, the old practice was still in effect in most of the world.
In a separate document last year, Francis described the "existential and moral ordeal" faced by women who have terminated pregnancies and said he had "met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonising and painful decision."
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