Pope Francis says he will give all priests discretion during the Roman Catholic Church’s upcoming Holy Year to formally forgive women who have had abortions.
The Holy Year is from Dec. 8 to Nov. 26 and will focus on the theme of mercy.
The Argentine pontiff announced in a publication on Wednesday in Vatican City that this was in his latest move toward a more open and inclusive church.
Pope said in church teaching, abortion was such a grave sin that those who procure or perform it incur an automatic excommunication.
He noted that usually only designated clergy and missionaries could formally forgive abortions.
“But from Dec. 8 to Nov. 26, during an extraordinary Holy Year or “Jubilee” on the theme of mercy announced by Pope Francis in March, all priests will be able to do so.
He, however, in the letter decried the “existential and moral ordeal” faced by women who have terminated pregnancies.
Pope said he had “met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of the agonising and painful decision’’.
Vatican Chief Spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, told reporters that this was no means an attempt to minimise the gravity of this sin but to widen the possibility of showing mercy.
Deputy Vatican Spokesman, Fr. Ciro Benedettini, said that for now the change would apply only during the Holy Year.
He said usually only a bishop, missionary or the chief confessor of a diocese, known by the Italian term penitenziere, could formally forgive an abortion.
Benedettini said the pope’s letter did not mention people who perform abortions.
The Holy Year is one of the 1.2 billion-member Church’s most important events, and sees faithful make pilgrimages to Rome and other religious sites around the world.
The event usually takes place every 25 years, unless a pope decrees an extraordinary one to bring attention to a particular topic or need.
The 2015 celebration will be the 29th Holy Year in the 700-year history of the tradition
APPLY: WTO opens entry for 2022 young professionals programme
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has opened applications for its 2022 Young Professional Programme (YPP).
The programme provides opportunity for young professionals to enhance their knowledge of the organisation and international trade issues.
In 2021, 14 professionals out of 2,400 candidates were selected for the programme from Bangladesh, Belize, Dominican Republic, Eswatini, Guatemala, Georgia, Indonesia, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Chinese Taipei and Thailand.
WTO said “The YPP is a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience which can help open the door for future professional opportunities in the field of multilateral diplomacy and global trade.
“The YPP selection gives preference to young professionals from developing and least-developed countries that are members of the WTO and whose nationals are currently under-represented or not represented in the organization’s Secretariat.
“The programme is part of the Secretariat’s overall goal to increase its diversity to better reflect the make-up of its membership.”
To be eligible, applicants must be of age 32 as of January 1, 2022, and selected candidates will work at the WTO secretariat for one year, starting from the beginning of next year.
The areas of work at the programme includes accessions, agriculture, dispute settlement, intellectual property rights, market access, media and external relations, WTO rules, trade and development, trade and environment, trade in services and investment, trade facilitation, trade policy analysis and trade-related technical assistance.
WTO said candidates must have advanced university degree in law, economics, or other international trade-related subjects relevant to WTO work; must possess relevant expertise or continued academic study in a field of interest to the work of the WTO.
Equally, candidates must similarly have a minimum of two years relevant work experience.
The trade organisation further said selected candidates will be paid $3821.66 (N1,454,141.63 million) monthly and applications can be accessed on the WTO e-Recruitment website and should be completed no later than 29 April 2021.
Buhari receives briefing from Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President had last Thursday returned to the country after a16-day medical trip to London, United Kingdom.
He left Nigeria on Tuesday, March 30, briefly after a security meeting with defense and intelligence chiefs as well as other security sector managers.
Gunmen attack Imo police station, kidnap officer
A police officer has been abducted in an attack on Mbieri Divisional Police Headquarters in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo state on Thursday morning.
This comes three days after the state Police Command headquarters and Owerri Correctional Center were attacked while 1,884 inmates released.
A resident of Mbieri said the gunmen released the suspects in custody.
However, the policemen on duty were said to have engaged the attackers in a gun duel but they were reportedly overpowered by the gunmen who had sophisticated weapons.
A community leader, Nokey Ebikam, told newsmen that the police divisional headquarters was not burnt but only freed the suspects in detention after vandalizing it.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the attack on the police station but did not go into details.
It was gathered that aside the officer who was abducted, two others sustained injuries in the incident which is the second major attack on a police station since an armed gang invaded the state police headquarters on Monday.
The Police authorities have blamed the attacks on the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but the group has distanced itself from the attacks.
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