Pope Francis will allow all priests in the Roman Catholic Church to absolve women who have had abortions during the "Jubilee of Mercy" year beginning this December.
The pope in a letter released by the Vatican Tuesday explained that he will give all Catholic priests temporary authority to "absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it."
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The pope gives priests the ability to grant such absolution during the time period beginning Dec. 8 and ending Nov. 20, 2016.
"I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision," Pope Francis emphasized in the letter. "I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision."
However, bishops in the United States already widely grant priests permission to absolve to women who have had abortions.