MADRID - The Vatican has granted priests the right to forgive the sin of abortion when hearing the confessions of hundreds of thousands of young people attending a Roman Catholic youth festival in Spain this week.
The termination of pregnancy is a sin punishable by excommunication under Church law. The World Youth Day (WYD) pilgrims will attend a mass confession in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday in a central Madrid park.
"This (concession) is to make it easier for the faithful who attend the World Youth Day celebrations to obtain the fruits of divine grace," the Madrid archdiocese said in a statement on its website.
Two hundred white portable confessional cabins have been erected in Madrid's Retiro Park where hundreds of priests will take confessions in different languages from the pilgrims who have traveled to Spain from around the world.