Pope Francis
Pope Francis closes the Holy Door to mark the closing of the Catholic Jubilee year of mercy at the in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 20, 2016. Reuters/Tiziana Fabi/Pool

Pope Francis wrote an Apostolic Letter that was made public on Monday extending the permission to absolve the faithful of abortion. He granted the special permission to all rank-and-file priests during the Holy Year of Mercy from Dec. 8, 2015 to Nov. 20, 2016. On Sunday during the just-ended Holy Year of Mercy, he extended the special permission.

"There is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled," Francis wrote in a 10-page Apostolic letter.

"Lest any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God's forgiveness, I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion," Francis explained his rationale.

However, Francis restates that abortion is a grave sin as its puts an end to an innocent life.

Top Holy See official Monsignor Rino Fisichella told the Associated Press that the pope's letter is applied to people involved in an abortion.

"The sin of abortion is technically an expression that includes all the people who are involved in an abortion. Thus from the women to the nurse to the doctor and whoever supports this procedure," Fisichella said. "The sin of abortion is inclusive. Thus forgiveness for the sin of abortion is all-inclusive and extends to all those who are participants in this sin."

In his letter, Francis told the priests to serve as a guide, support and comfort to penitents during the special reconciliation.

"I ask you to be welcoming to all, witnesses of fatherly love whatever the gravity of the sin involved, attentive in helping penitents to reflect on the evil they have done, clear in presenting moral principles, willing to walk patiently beside the faithful on their penitential journey, farsighted in discerning individual cases and generous in dispensing God's forgiveness," Francis wrote.

"Mercy cannot become a mere parenthesis in the life of the church; it constitutes her very existence," Francis wrote.