NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - As the Holy Year of Mercy comes to an end, Pope Francis is making sure the work he accomplished during the Jubilee has lasting effects, most notably, allowing priests around the world to grant forgiveness for the Catholic sin of abortion.
In his apostolic letter issued this morning, the Pope reiterated abortion is a grave sin, but added no sin is too great for God's mercy.
"I think it's a way of the Holy father saying once again, that we as leaders of the church have to show the mercy of Christ unconditionally, and so this is an opportunity to say that God can forgive any sin, all sins and there is no sin that God would not forgive if we have that mercy," Archbishop Gregory Aymond said.
Archbishop Aymond said Pope Francis message extends that mercy across the faith and seeks to comfort women who receive abortions rather than shun them.
"It's his way of saying that we have to accompany these people as they deal with the abortion or having been involved with an abortion," Aymond said.
For some believers it's a welcome message, albeit one they hope won't be taken the wrong way.
"Abortion is a very complicated matter. I hope it won't make people take the choices of doing an abortion easier, but reflecting over their other choices first," said Livhied Lie-Bgelland.
Others see the decision by Pope Francis as further proof that he's willing to let the church evolve.
"I think it's a sign of the times and the way the times are moving and this Pope here seems more forward thinking than the others, they've been more conservative thinking," Cindi Daniel said.
Still, Archbishop Aymond feels the message simply continues the Holy Father's goal to let Catholics of great or little faith know that the church is welcoming, however you come.
"I think one of the greatest themes of Pope Francis is that we have to accept people where they are and it may not be where God wants them, it may not be where the Church wants them, but we have to accept them where they are in the messiness of their lives and accompany them with compassion so they come to know and experience the mercy of Christ," Aymond said.