The Holy Year - level 3
Until now, women who had abortions were automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church. But during the upcoming Holy Year, Pope Francis will give all priests, not just the high-ranking clergy, the discretion to formally forgive women who have had abortions.
In a letter published by the Vatican, Pope Francis described the "existential and moral ordeal" faced by women who have terminated pregnancies. The letter didn't mention people who perform the abortions.
"The pope's decision to grant all priests around the world the power to grant absolution to a woman who has had an abortion and repents of it is just another sign of how seriously he takes the power of God to forgive and the power of God to heal people who come to Him seeking mercy.”
Among the tourists outside the Vatican, the latest is positive news.
"I hope that this pope will continue to do those things who make the church generally, I think, a little bit more attractive for many people and for many young people.”
“Yes, it is. It’s new, but the last pope stopped being a pope and it was strange too, right? I think we are 21st century and the Church has to change like people change.”
Pope Francis is the first non-European pope in 1,300 years. He has shown his tolerance regarding topics such as homosexuality, traditionally seen from within the Church as taboo.
The Holy Year is one of most important events for Catholics and sees the faithful make pilgrimages to Rome and other religious sites around the world. Pope Francis announced earlier this year that December the 8th would mark the start of an extraordinary Holy Year characterised by mercy.
Difficult words: excommunicate (to punish someone by no longer allowing him or her to be a member of the Roman Catholic church), clergy (the people who manage the Christian Church), discretion (the freedom to decide), ordeal (a very difficult experience), terminate (to end), absolution (when someone is formally forgiven by the Christian Church), repent (to be sorry for something), mercy (forgiveness), latest (the latest news), pilgrimage (a religious journey), announce (to say something officially).
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