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Pope Francis sits before delivering his speech during a Jubilee audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis extends 'Year of Mercy' for priests to forgive women who have had abortions


Pope Francis allowed priests to formally forgive women who have committed abortions, a move that stands in stark contrast to the Catholic Church's historical anti-abortion stance.

The ruling extends a special permission for forgiveness during the just-ended Year of Mercy. Francis insists abortion is still a "grave sin" but said "there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach."

We'll update this as soon as we know more. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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