Pope Francis Extends Forgiveness To Abortion Recipients

The Vatican has announced today, Nov. 21, that the Catholic Church will extend to every priest the authority to forgive abortion recipients and welcome them back into the Church.

Pope Francis started the amnesty last year during the Year of Mercy, according to CNN, and has decided to continue this policy indefinitely.

While Pope Francis maintains that abortion is among the most severe of sins, stating, ''I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,'' his focus with this announcement is on forgiveness.

''In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.''

Pope Francis was not the first leader of the Catholic Church to grant this form of forgiveness.

During the previous Holy Year of 2000, Pope John Paul II championed the same right for abortion recipients, according to The New York Times.

Pope Francis intends to make this right a permanent fixture in the Catholic Church, however, implementing yet another act of inclusiveness during his papacy.

Typically, an abortion recipient is excommunicated from the Church, unless they confess and receive absolution.

Furthermore, abortion normally falls under the category of ''reserved sins,'' which can only be forgiven by a bishop of the Church.

''Now that right is extended to all priests,'' said Archbishop Rino Fisichella.

''Pope Francis delineates the path of the future life of the church so that it can always be an instrument of mercy toward everyone, without ever excluding anyone.''

The recent movement to forgive abortion recipients runs parallel with the teachings released in Pope Francis' "Amoris Laetitia" (The Joy of Love), an apostolic letter detailing ways to ''promote a culture of mercy based on the rediscovery of encounter with others, a culture in which no one looks at another with indifference or turns away from the suffering of our brothers and sisters.''