Pope Francis urges pardon for women who had abortionstext_fields
Vatican City: Pope Francis on Tuesday urged that women who have had abortions be pardoned.
Now, women who have had an abortion and anyone who helped them get one will be forgiven of what the Church still considers a sin, as long as they confess to having had the procedure or assisting someone in getting it, CNN reported.
The shift is not going to last forever - it only applies for the Holy Year that runs from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016.
Before the Pope's change in policy, women who had an abortion were automatically excommunicated by the Catholic Church and needed the permission of a bishop in order to lift that ban.
"Forgiveness of the sin of abortion does not condone abortion nor minimise its grave effects," a Vatican statement said.
Many women, Pope Francis said, "believe that they have no other option."
"I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision," the Pope said in a letter published on Tuesday.
"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," the letter said.
According to the Catholic Church, the sin of abortion is termed "moral evil".