It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
"The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails," Francis said in a statement Tuesday. "Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe that they have no other option."
In Catholicism, abortion is viewed as such a grave sin that it can punished with excommunication.
In most countries, only a bishop can approve forgiveness for abortion. They would then delegate an expert priest to hear the confession.
The change is only for the coming Jubilee Year, beginning in December.
However, the rule relaxation will not affect Catholics in England, Wales and Scotland as all priests there can already forgive abortion without seeking permission from a bishop.
The Pope said many women who sought an abortion did so because they "believe that they have no other option".
He added that he had "met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonising and painful decision".
It is a bold move, and a spiritual one. Pope Francis is not addressing politicians. He is providing guidance to his Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization as he prepares the Catholic Church for a year of intentional mercy designed to foster spiritual renewal. [Time]
CONTRACEPTION: Francis has defended the church's opposition to artificial contraception, which is enshrined in the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. At the same time, he has said Catholics need not breed "like rabbits" and should instead practice "responsible parenthood" through "licit" methods. The church endorses the Natural Family Planning method, which involves monitoring a woman's cycle to avoid intercourse when she is ovulating. He has also said, though, that any good priest in confession must dispense mercy and take into account the individual needs of couples.