Pope: Priests can forgive abortions in 'Year of Mercy'' - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Pope: Priests can forgive abortions in 'Year of Mercy''

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The Catholic Church is making national headlines again.

Pope Francis has declared all priests around the world can forgive what they call the "sin of abortion."

This will all take place during the church's "Year of Mercy."

The Catholic Church has always forgiven abortions for "contrived" women, but that power has always lied within bishops. 

Now, in the "Year of Mercy," priests will also have that power.

"He speaks more from his gut, off the top of his head if you would," said Father Tom McDermott of Blessed Sacrament Church in Waterloo.

Father McDermott says the Pope's declaration isn't new by any means, however in this "Year of Mercy," which begins on December 8th, it'll expand the power of absolution to all priests.

This is a move Father McDermott says will bring their message of forgiveness to light without muddying the waters.

"What he wants to say is 'don't forget ultimately God is here and Jesus came to reveal that mercy is at the heart of people together," he said.

This isn't the first time the Pope has acted as a maverick.

Since the beginning of his Papacy in 2013, he's brought many changes to the church, including bringing those previously excommunicated or not welcome back into the church; such as gays, lesbians, and divorcees. 

Father McDermott says these actions are having a positive impact on the church's reputation.

"In today's soundbite generation, his ability to speak off the cuff and to do so so intelligently is a good thing for the church," said Father McDermott.

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