Pope Francis to allow priests to forgive abortion

Pope Francis, who has defined his short tenure by taking on the most controversial issues from gay marriage to climate change, waded for the first time into one of the thorniest topics of his papacy Tuesday when he said priests can forgive the “sin of abortion” for women who are sorry about it.

In a letter published by the Vatican, the pontiff — who has been striving to build a more inclusive church — said priests will have the power during a special “Holy Year of Mercy” that begins in December.

“I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it,” the pope said.

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