Pope Francis Extends Catholic Priests' Right To Forgive Abortion, Indefinitely

The Argentinian-born Pope has awarded Catholic priests the power to absolve abortion and we're pretty flabbergasted – in a good way

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You know the world is topsy-turvy when the Roman Catholic Pope is proving himself to be more progressive about women's reproductive rights than President-elect of the United States of America.

Related: Donald Trump's Presidency Prompts Women to Get IUDs To Protect Their Reproductive Rights

On Monday, Pope Francis - nicknamed 'Liberal Pope' for his progressive approach - gave all Roman Catholic priests the power to absolve the 'sin' of abortion – a right previously reserved for bishops and special confessors.

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Francis – who, since his Papacy began in 2013, has auctioned his Harley Davidson bike to benefit the homeless, says the Church doesn't reserve the right to judge homosexuals and said that atheists can be 'good people' – made the landmark decision in a document known as the 'apostolic letter' at the closing of the Year of Mercy on Sunday evening.

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In his letter, the Papal letter said while the Church's stance on abortion has not altered – given it is a 'grave sin since it puts an end to an innocent life' – he wanted to make women feel that they can be absolved for their actions and rejoin the Church, without judgement.

'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,' the Pope's letter states.

May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.

'I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion,' he concluded.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the act of abortion has long been seen as a 'moral evil' because every human life, 'from the moment of conception until death is sacred'. Previously, women who undergo an abortion faced excommunication from the Church – a punishment only a bishop could lift, until now that is.

While this is, unfortunately, yet another man wielding authority over an incredibly tumultuous choice in a woman's life, it is refreshing to see the Pope writing wrongs within the Catholic Church, where women have previously felt persecuted for having a termination.

The Pope's words come weeks after President-elect Donald Trump admitted he was 'pro-life', intended to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with pro-life justices and wanted to overturn Roe v.Wade abortion-rights decision.

Francis, do you fancy paying Trump a visit. I think he needs to learn a thing or two from you.

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