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Pope extends power to forgive abortion to all priests

Pope Francis on Monday allowed all Roman Catholic priests the power to forgive abortion, a power previously reserved for bishops or special confessor.

Francis, who has made a more inclusive and forgiving church a characteristic of his papacy, made the announcement in a document known as an “apostolic letter” after Sunday’s close of the Catholic Church’s “Holy Year of Mercy.”

He said he wanted to “restate as firmly as he can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” Reuters reported.