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John Paul II

Pope: Priests in Holy Year can absolve 'sin of abortion'

Pope Francis is applying his vision of a merciful church to women who have had abortions, easing their path toward forgiveness and saying he realizes some felt they had no choice but to make "this agonizing and painful decision." In a letter published Tuesday by the Holy See, Francis said he was allowing all rank-and-file priests to grant absolution during the Holy Year of Mercy he has proclaimed, which runs Dec. 8, 2015 until Nov. 20, 2016. The Roman Catholic Church views abortion as such a grave sin that it put the matter of granting forgiveness for an abortion in the hands of a bishop, who could either hear the woman's confession himself or delegate that to a priest who...

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