This handout picture released by the Vatican press office (Osservatore Romano) shows Pope Francis celebrating mass in Santa Marta at the Vatican on September 1, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO
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Pope Francis Tuesday called on priests to pardon women who have abortions, and the doctors who perform them, during the upcoming Jubilee year -- overruling hardline traditionalists within the Catholic Church.Abortion is considered a particularly serious sin and is punishable under Canon law by excommunication, by which those guilty are expelled from the Church and considered to be condemned to Hell in the afterlife.The Vatican had already said in May that abortion would be included among the sins pardonable during the Jubilee, but the original plan had been for a certain, limited number of priests to have the power to forgive.
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