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AP/Press Association Images
year of mercy

What do you make of the Pope's advice to priests on abortion?

Pope Francis has called on priests to pardon women who have abortions, and the doctors who perform them

Updated at 11.59pm

POPE FRANCIS HAS called on priests to pardon women who have abortions, and the doctors who perform them, during the upcoming Year of Mercy.

The Pope’s decision goes against hardline traditionalists within the Catholic Church with abortion sometimes grounds for excommunication.

“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,” he said.

In a message outlining special measures for the Jubilee, Francis said he knew that while “the tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness… many others… believe that they have no other option”.

The Argentine pontiff said he was “well aware of the pressure” that some women were under to have an abortion, adding that he had “met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonising and painful decision”.

The 78-year-old, who has repeatedly urged the church to show greater compassion, said priests should use “words of genuine welcome”, as well as making sure those involved were aware of “the gravity of the sin committed”.

Francis announced earlier this year a Jubilee year, traditionally a time for remission and forgiveness, which will run from 8 December 8 to 20 November and be celebrated not only in the Vatican but in dioceses across the world.

What do you think of the Pope’s comments?

Poll Results:

A welcome intervention. (2102)
No interest/opinion. (486)
He shouldn't have done it. (182)

© – AFP 2015 with reporting from Rónán Duffy

Read: Seven million women in one year treated for complications from unsafe abortions >

Read: Pope Francis comes clean on his drug use (but the answer isn’t hugely surprising) >

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