The most woke pope is at it again. 

On Monday, Pope Francis gave priests official authority to forgive women who had an abortion. Only bishops had this right before today. 

CNN is reporting that he announced the news in an apostolic letter. The change comes as part of a continued "Year of Mercy" act.

"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 stated in the letter. 

But pro-choicers, don't get up for a standing ovation just yet. 

Pope Francis
photo: Wiki Commons

The bad news: abortion is still viewed as a sin.

As a Catholic, the pope still can't (and hasn't) say that abortion is OK. He still believes it's a "grave" sin. 

"I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life," the Pope's letter stated per CNN. 


The good news: It's going to make a lot of Catholic women relieved of guilt they may harbor.

"In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach," the Pope continued, "and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father."

Many women believe that life starts at conception, just as the Pope does. In the US, more women identify as Catholic than men do. That doesn't mean they don't need or get abortions, however. By age 45, at least one in every three women will have an abortion. 

Yet, the whole 'abortion is a sin' mandate has understandably caused a lot of anxiety. The change could help alleviate that, give women the opportunity to feel forgiven, and move forward — like they deserve to.