Abortion is a sin among Catholics that can be punished with excommunication. Only a bishop can approve forgiveness for abortion. During the Jubilee Year that runs from 8 December 2015 to 26 November 2016 year, Pope Francis had relaxed the rule and allowed any priest to forgive as many women who sought an abortion because they “believe that they have no other option”.
But, in England, Wales and Scotland all priests can already forgive abortion without seeking permission from a bishop. It is being seen as a shift in Catholic Church policy, reflecting the Pope’s outspoken views on compassion and mercy. Pope Francis is aware
that the decision will not be welcomed by traditionalists. Earlier, he denounced abortion as a part of a throw-away culture. Pope Francis has been viewed as progressive on other controversial issues.
In 2013, on the topic of homosexuality, he said, “Who am I to judge?”. However, he has not changed Church policy on contraception. However, he said that there was no need for people to breed “like rabbits” to be good Catholics.