BREAKING NEWS: Pope Francis remains Catholic, which may come as a surprise in some quarters. On Saturday, while addressing a family association in Italy, the pontiff rejected abortion in the strongest terms of his papacy, equating it to Nazi-era eugenics. The remarks may have been intended as a rebuke to his native Argentina, which voted to legalize abortion almost to the point of birth:
Pope Francis denounced abortion on Saturday as the “white glove” equivalent of the Nazi-era eugenics program and urged families to accept the children that God gives them. …
“Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves,” the agencies quoted Francis as saying.
The pope urged families to accept children “as God gives them to us.”
Two days earlier, the lower chamber in the Argentinian legislature voted to legalize abortion in a surprise outcome. The bill, which not only legalizes abortion until the ninth month of gestation but also would force Catholic hospitals to perform the procedures, only passed 125-121 after three legislators flipped at the last minute. The bill will move to the Argentinian senate, where opponents think they still have the upper hand.
The bill supposedly limits eugenics-motivated abortions to the 14th week, but the circumstances for all other abortions after the 14th week seem rather, um, permissive:
The bill that was voted on also introduced personal conscious objections, but institutions won’t be allowed to do the same, so every hospital in the country would be required to provide “legal, free and safe abortion,” regardless if they’re public or private.
However, many of the other points pro-lifers objected to have remained, including article three, that says a woman can have an abortion until the ninth month if her pregnancy presents a risk to her “physical, psychological or social health.” The latter includes a break-up or being fired.
“Social health” includes getting dumped or fired, eh? Good to know that those issues trump the lives of viable children in the womb. Why not legalize infanticide after the fact for the same reasons, up to age 2 or so? Actually, maybe it’s not such a good idea to give them any more horrific ideas.
Catholic bishops in Argentina are fighting the proposal, but also acknowledge the failures in pastoral work that led their country to this pass:
The bishops also offered a “mea culpa,” acknowledging that their “poor pastoral work” became evident during recent times. According to them, those failures include not teaching integral sexual education in Catholic schools, not recognizing the “common dignity of a woman and a man,” and not supporting women considering abortion or those who’ve had one. …
“We have an opportunity to look for new and creative solutions” so that no woman has to have an abortion, the bishops said, and they urged the Senate to develop alternative bills that can provide an answer to conflictive situations and that recognize “the value of every life and the value of conscience.”
That also applies in Ireland, which overwhelmingly voted to legalize abortion albeit with far more limitations. The scandals in the church helped erode its moral voice, leaving the Catholic bishops with a conundrum in devising a strategy to fight the referendum. In both countries, the Catholic value and teaching on the sacrament of life are in retreat, and Pope Francis’ uncharacteristically harsh rhetoric reflects his understandable frustration at the real-world consequences of those failures.
The pontiff offered a sharp reminder about Catholic teachings on the family, too:
In addition to his comments on abortion and fetal testing, Pope Francis made clear what he believes the definition of a human family should be.
“Today, it is hard to say this, we speak of ‘diversified’ families: different types of families. It is true that the word ‘family’ is an analogical word, because we speak of the ‘family’ of stars, ‘family’ of trees, ‘family’ of animals … it is an analogical word. But the human family in the image of God, man and woman, is the only one. It is the only one. A man and woman can be non-believers: but if they love each other and unite in marriage, they are in the image of God even if they don’t believe, ” the Pope said.
That might alter his status as a darling of the media, but it’s just a reminder of Pope Francis’ status as the steward of the deposit of faith in the Catholic Church. It’s only a breaking news story to those who don’t pay close attention to the totality of Francis’ teachings and remarks.