... [L]est any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God’s forgiveness, I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion. The provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary. I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father. May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.The Washington Post reports that in a press conference a Holy See official, Monsignor Rino Fisichella, said that the pronouncement covers doctors, nurses and others involved in an abortion, as well as the woman obtaining the procedure.
In a separate matter, the Pope's apostolic letter also validated continued hearing of confessions by priests of the controversial right-wing Society of St Pius X. (See prior related posting.)