CLARIFICATION REGARDING ABSOLUTION OF THE SIN OF ABORTION
I am afraid that publication in the media of the Year of Mercy expansion of the faculty to absolve from the sin of abortion will cause some confusion among those who have repented of this sin and have already been absolved in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Please note that priests in the United States have already had the authority to absolve from this sin in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Because this sin is grave enough to result in an automatic excommunication, canon law normally restricts the lifting of the penalty of an excommunication to the authority of the bishop. But for the singular case of abortion, priests with the faculty to hear confessions in the United States have already had the faculty to absolve from this sin and lift the excommunication.
Therefore, someone who had repented of this sin and received absolution from a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation does not need to worry that they were not properly absolved.
Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv.