San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica priests to forgive abortion

Starting next week, it will be easier for women who have had abortions to seek forgiveness from the Catholic Church.

From Feb. 25 to April 19, one week after Easter, the 300 priests in the archdiocese of San José will have the power to forgive women who confess to having had abortions. Normally, only the country´s eight bishops have that authority.

The policy aims to accommodate an annual spike in the number of people who confess during these months, as they prepare to celebrate the death and the resurrection of Christ.

“We invite all believers to reestablish their relationship with the Lord, who wants all of us to achieve salvation,” said Mario Segura Bonilla, spokesman for the San José archdiocese.

The other eight dioceses throughout the country will likely implement a similar policy, as they have in previous years, said archdiocese press officer Germán Salas.

Abortion is illegal in Costa Rica except when the mother´s life is seriously at risk. About 27,000 illegal abortions are performed here every year, according to the Costa Rican Demographic Association.

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