Francis is telling the priests to bestow absolution under the RCC because under the RCC rules, abortion is punishable by excommunication.
In the Catholic Church, abortion is considered one of the gravest sins and results in automatic excommunication. It can only be forgiven in certain special circumstances, by high-ranking clergy or by making a pilgrimage to Rome during a Holy Year.
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Of course this is just another step to make the RCC a more "friendly and forgiving" place for those that are sinners.
We shall see how this works out for them.
The theme of the Holy Year, which begins on December 8th, has been widely interpreted as a signal by Francis that the church should be less judgmental.
In a document known as a ‘bull of indiction’ explaining how he wants Catholic to celebrate the Jubilee year, the pope said that ‘the church must be ‘an oasis of mercy’.
It went on: ‘The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love.
No to mention that I am sure this part also had something to do with it:
The United Nations has previously condemned the Vatican for excommunicating the mother and doctor of a nine-year-old girl who had an abortion in Brazil in 2009 after she was raped by her stepfather and became pregnant with twins.