Amarillo, TX - Local Catholic priests are expecting to see a pretty significant effect after a recent ruling by the Pope.
For just one year, priests around the world will have the ability to pardon women who have had abortions---overruling many traditionalists within the catholic church.
It's called the "year of jubilee." It happens once every fifty years, however Pope Francis is calling for a rare "extraordinary jubilee year."
This week he announced priests around the world will have the ability to pardon women who have had an abortion during the jubilee year.
"The Pope reaching out and extending that authority, that responsibility to all priests is something special, something unique for the year of mercy," says Father Christopher Schwind.
While this power of priests is new to many areas around the globe, it is not new to the state of Texas. Bishops also have the ability to grant priests in their state the option to pardon abortion.
"The church has always taught that abortion is such a serious matter that forgiveness of that sin is reserved to the bishop of the diocese," says Schwind. "Now the Bishop can delegate that to his priests and in fact that's what Bishop Zurich has done for the past 7-8 years since he's been our Bishop."
We asked our viewers on Facebook what they thought of the new rule. On both ends of the argument, there were heavy opinions. Whatever one's religious beliefs, father Christopher says the new ability can only mean good for people hoping to better their lives.
"Actually I think we're already seeing that. I think we've seen that in some of our parishes here in the diocese of Amarillo," says Schwind.
To mark the holy year, Pope Francis also called for amnesty for prisoners in jails across the world who have repented.