Pope Francis is allowing priests to forgive women who had an abortion and doctors as well as health workers who performed it. The priests allowed to give the absolution of abortion are called “missionaries of mercy.” These are pre-selected priests who will visit Catholic dioceses during the Holy Year or the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy that will take place from Dec 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016.
“Missionaries of mercy” priests may forgive the sin of abortion
Catholic teaching only allows bishops and the Pope himself to absolve the sin of abortion, The Irish Times reported. However, in observance of the Holy Year or the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope allows “missionaries of mercy” priests to absolve abortion.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization and Pope Francis’ point man, explained that the missionary of mercy of priests are sent out by Pope Francis at the beginning of Lent.
“The Pope is sending them out [to dioceses and parishes] as a tangible sign of how a priest should be a man of pardon, close to everyone,” Fisichella told The Irish Times.
Italian Cardinal Velasio De Paolis clarified that even with the Pope’s decision, the church still define abortion as a sin.
“Regardless of this decision by the Pope, the church will continue to consider abortion a sin. I hope it does not cause confusion,” De Paolis was quoted as saying.
Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of true mercy
Fisichella said that the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy aims to promote the message of pardon and true mercy.
“We are convinced that the path of mercy on which Pope Francis has placed the Church in this journey of the Jubilee will be a moment of true grace for all Christians and a reawakening to the path of the new evangelization and the pastoral conversion the Pope has indicated,” he said.
“In this Jubilee Year, may the Church echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid, and love. May she never tire of extending mercy, and be ever patient in offering compassion and comfort. May the Church become the voice of every man and woman, and repeat confidently without end: Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old,” the Pope said during his announcement of the Bull of Indiction.
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