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Pope extends special Year of Mercy provisions on confession

Priests have been given permanent permission to absolve those who confess to having sought an abortion

November 22, 2016

Acknowledging and sharing God's mercy is a permanent part of the Christian life, so initiatives undertaken during the special Year of Mercy must continue, CNS reported Pope Francis as saying.

"Mercy cannot become a mere parenthesis in the life of the church," the pope wrote in an apostolic letter, "Misericordia et Misera," (Mercy and Misery), which he signed on Nov. 20 at the end of the Year of Mercy.

The Catholic Church's focus on God's mercy must continue with individual acts of kindness, assistance to the poor and, particularly, with encouraging Catholics to participate in the sacrament of reconciliation and making it easier for them to do so, the pope wrote.

In his letter, Pope Francis said he formally was giving all priests permanent permission to grant absolution to those who confess to having procured an abortion. While many bishops around the world, and almost all bishops in the U.S., routinely grant that faculty to all their priests, Pope Francis had made it universal during the Holy Year.

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