During the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis enabled priests to absolve women who confessed to having an abortion, an ability only bishops had prior to the start of the Year of Mercy.
The Year of Mercy ended on Sunday and now the Pope is extending that ability indefinitely, creating what Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe pastor Fr. Larry Toschi says is a "small technical change".
"He's certainly presented the merciful face and done the gestures and the speech to communicate this in a way that has caught the world's attention more," Fr. Larry said.
"But I'd say the teaching of the church has been pretty steady and the practice also."
While the Pope's message is meant to be universal, many U.S. bishops had given the priests in their diocese the ability to forgive abortion sins before the Year of Mercy.
Fr. Larry says this is part of the Pope's mission to bring people back to the Church.