Pope Francis announced Tuesday that priests are allowed to absolve the sin of abortion if women “with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it” during the Holy Year of Mercy, beginning Dec. 8. “I am well aware of the pressure that has led [women] to this decision,” the pope wrote. “I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal.” Abortion is considered a grave sin by the Catholic Church, and the consequence is usually excommunication. Only senior church officials were previously allowed to provide absolution.
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