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Pope allows priests to forgive abortions

Posted at 12:02 PM, Nov 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-21 18:21:33-05

In a letter released Monday, Pope Francis has extended the powers of Catholic priests to forgive the faithful of the "grave sin" of abortion.

The letter released by the Vatican stresses the seriousness of abortion as a sin but does suggest that God offers mercy saying "there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled" with God.

But the Pope continued saying "I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life."

This isn't the first time Pope Francis has granted Priests with this power. In 2015, during the Church's Year of Mercy Priests were authorized to forgive abortions from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016.

Officials with the Vatican describe the recent announcement as a "widening of the church's mercy."