Be the most informed person in the room with Newsy's free e-newsletter

View our privacy policy:
Obama's Final Days As President
Featured Series: Obama's Final Days As President
President Obama's days as Commander in Chief are numbered, but that hasn't stopped him from making some last-minute moves.  

Priests Can Still Forgive Abortions, Thanks To Pope Francis

Pope Francis has officially extended a temporary change that granted priests the power to forgive abortions.

Abortion is still considered a "grave sin" in the eyes of the Catholic Church. But now all priests have the power to forgive it, thanks to Pope Francis.

As part of the church's Holy Year of Mercy, the pope temporarily allowed all priests to absolve women who've had an abortion — something only bishops were allowed to do previously.

On Monday, the pope announced that change is permanent. 

SEE MORE: Pope Francis Warns Against Building Walls And Fear In Politics

In a letter, the pope 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 the Father."

Before this new policy was adopted last year, many bishops in countries like the U.S. had often allowed their priests to forgive abortions for them. But Vatican officials claimed the change was "a widening of the church's mercy."

Pope Francis' latest decision is yet another example of his willingness to bend the rules to promote mercy and forgiveness. During his time at the Vatican, he has asked Catholics to accept homosexuality and divorce — other things the church has considered sinful.

According to the pope's letter, priests will be allowed to forgive abortions "until further provisions are made." It's unclear exactly what those provisions will be.

Featured Stories
Candles are lit during a vigil for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando.

FBI Officials Arrested The Wife Of The Orlando Nightclub Shooter

Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell in "A Night at the Roxbury."

When It Comes To Numbers For Women In Film, It Might As Well Be 1998

A man walks through the European Parliament

Election Of Top EU Official Gets Little Attention Before Vote

Want to see more stories like this?
Like Newsy on Facebook for More Religion Coverage