For Year of Mercy, pope extends possibilities for absolution

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September 1, 2015

Pope Francis, seen praying during his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Aug. 26, has issued a letter offering a series of instances in which absolution can be granted during the Year of Mercy. (CNS photo/Ettore Ferrari, EPA) See POPE-JUBILEE-FORGIVE Sept. 1, 2015.

Pope Francis, seen praying during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Aug. 26, has issued a letter offering a series of instances in which absolution can be granted during the Year of Mercy. (CNS photo/Ettore Ferrari, EPA)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In an extraordinary gesture for the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has extended to priests worldwide the authority to absolve women for the sin of abortion and has decreed the full validity during the year of the sacrament of confession celebrated by priests of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.

“This jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one,” the pope wrote in a letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelization, the office organizing events for the holy year, which opens Dec. 8.

Pope Francis said one of the most serious problems facing people today is a “widespread and insensitive mentality” toward the sacredness of human life.

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