Pope Francis has officially and indefinitely allowed Catholic priests to forgive abortions.
The announcement came Monday, also marking the end of the Year of Mercy, a time when Roman Catholics are reminded of God's forgiveness and Mercy.
Although the Pope's order grants priests permission to forgive women who have gotten abortions, it does not change the Catholic church's strictly pro-life views.
"I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life," the Pope's said.
"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," he added. "I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion."
A number of priests have already spoken up to praise Pope Francis' decision.
Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, says he "gratefully welcomes" the new order.
"The announcement of Pope Francis that he is extending indefinitely the faculties of priests worldwide to absolve those who repent of the sin of abortion is something we at Priests for Life both expected and gratefully welcome," he said in a statement.
"We who oppose abortion do not oppose those who have abortions. Rather, we embrace them with mercy and forgiveness. We have ministered to people who have had as many as 25 abortions, and we see that it impacts the entire family: parents, grandparents, siblings, and beyond," Fr. Pavone added.
Priests for Life is the nation's largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and providing healing to families affected by it.