Pope Francis’s announcement allowing Catholic priests to forgive abortions reinforces the Hungarian practice that has applied for decades, Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, said on Monday.
The power to absolve the sin of abortion was previously given to bishops, but they had the right to pass this on to priests, Erdő said. In Hungarian dioceses, including in Esztergom-Budapest, the bishop granted to priests each year the right “to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion”, he added.
This was not the case, however, in churches all around the world, so the Pope granted special dispensation last year for the duration of the Year of Mercy, which ended on Sunday.
In line with Pope Francis’s Monday announcement, the dispensation will be maintained even after the Year of Mercy is over, he added.