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Pope Francis Breaks New Ground by Extending Abortion-Forgiving Powers to all Priests

Catholic doctrine has always frowned upon abortion, considering it a grave sin that warrants excommunication

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Vatican City, November 21, 2016: Pope Francis on Monday said priests would now be able to absolve the sin of abortion indefinitely.

The decision was published in the Apostolic letter “Misericordia et Miseria,” which was released following the conclusion of the Catholic Jubilee year of mercy on Sunday, EFE news reported.

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“Lest any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God’s forgiveness, I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion,” he wrote.

Catholic doctrine has always frowned upon abortion, considering it a grave sin that warrants excommunication.

Pope Francis acknowledged this, but said he believed there was no sin that God’s mercy could not reach.

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“May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation,” read the document.

This letter, in which he invited believers to extend their time of pardon, reconciliation and charity towards those who need it most, also included other rulings authorised during the Jubilee, such as the absolution of priests of the Society of Saint Pius X.

The society rejected the reforms introduced by the Second Vatican Council, for which it has been stripped of canonical authority and legitimacy within the Church since 1988.

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The Pope wrote that all people have their own histories and burdens and deserved mercy.

“This demands, especially of priests, a careful, profound and far-sighted spiritual discernment, so that everyone, none excluded, can feel accepted by God,” he said. (IANS)

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Pope Urges End to Carnage in Syria, Calls for Reconciliation in Middle East

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Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world) blessing at the end of the Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Apr. 1, 2018. VOA

In his Easter message, Pope Francis called for peace in a world marked by war and conflict. Addressing tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square from the central balcony of the basilica, the pope called for an end to “carnage” in the long-suffering land of Syria and “reconciliation” in the Middle East.

Francis’ appeal for peace came in his Urbi et Orbi message after having celebrated Easter mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica. He said the message of the resurrection offers hope in a world “marked by so many acts of injustice and violence”.

The pope begged for peace for “the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria, whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war.”

“This Easter,” the pope said, “may the light of the risen Christ illuminate the consciences of all political and military leaders, so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage”.

Francis demanded that aid be delivered to the needy in the war-torn country and called for “fitting conditions for the return of the displaced.”

ALSO READ: Pope Visiting Myanmar and Bangladesh to Proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ

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Pope Francis acknowledges pilgrims while delivering the Urbi et Orbi blessing at the end of the Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, April 1, 2018. VOA

The pope also urged reconciliation in Israel, a place “experiencing in these days the wounds of ongoing conflict that do not spare the defenseless.” His words followed the Friday deaths of 15 Palestinian protesters on the Israeli-Gaza border two days before Easter Sunday.

ALSO READ: Bangladesh gets its first Catholic Cardinal: Pope Francis names 17 Archbishops as new Cardinals

Turning his thoughts to Africa, the pope also called for peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Let us not forget the victims of that conflict”, the pope said, “especially the children! May there be no lack of solidarity with all those forced to abandon their native lands and lacking the bare essentials for living.”
The world’s first Latin American pope also urged international assistance for Venezuela, so that more people would not have to abandon their homeland because of the economic and political crisis.

Finally, Francis also expressed the hope that the “fruits of dialogue” would advance peace and harmony on the Korean peninsula, where the two sides are set to hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27.

Easter is Christianity’s “moveable feast,” falling on a different date each year. Western Christian churches celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox.

This year, Eastern Orthodox Churches, which include Jewish Passover in their calculation of Easter dates, celebrate the holiday next Sunday, April 8. VOA

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