Hundreds of thousands of young people descending on Madrid this week for the Catholic church's World Youth Day which features processions, group prayers and a mass with Pope Benedict XVI are to get a "special" concession.
Church leaders have ordered that anyone confessing, during this event, to having had an abortion a sin punishable by excommunication will be welcomed back into the church.
"Normally, only certain priests have the power to lift such an excommunication, but the local diocese has decided to give all the priests taking confession at the event this power," said the pope's spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi.
Two hundred white wooden confession booths have been set up in Madrid's Buen Retiro park for the event, which started on Tuesday and runs until Sunday.
At a time when church attendances in Europe are dipping Lombardi denied the deal on abortion had been dreamed up to attract waverers back to the church. "With so many young people attending there may be those who have had problems of this kind and it makes sense to reach out to them."
The driving force behind the deal is the archbishop of Madrid, Antonio Marνa Rouco Varela, who persuaded the Vatican to offer women who had had abortions access to "the fruits of divine grace that will open the doors to a new life".
Young Catholics making the trip to the Spanish capital will also gain a plenary indulgence effectively a reduction in the time believers spend in purgatory after confessing and being absolved of their sins. These concessions were once sold by priests, but now the indulgences are granted on special occasions.
Lombardi said he was not concerned at reports of protests over the estimated 60m (£52m) cost of the papal visit. "It is normal that people with objections should demonstrate. As long as they don't impede an event which will give great joy to a larger number of young people."