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Pope Francis has decided that all priests can continue to absolve the sins of people who have had or participated in abortions. Last year, the pope declared priests would only be able to forgive people for abortions for the jubilee year, aka the Holy Year of Mercy, which started in December. But as that year is coming to an end, the pope is extending his abortion forgiveness indefinitely.
In a letter released Monday, the pope said: “I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that 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.”
Just to clarify, the pope still isn’t cool with abortions and hasn’t adjusted the church’s stance or its policies on contraception, which remains forbidden. Back in February, however, he mildly suggested contraception might be OK to prevent the spread of the Zika virus.
Mehak Anwar is a reporter whose work focuses on LGBTQ rights, intersectional feminism, and race. Her byline has appeared in Bustle and the Huffington Post.