41 Days of Life: Is the Pope Pro-Life? What About Time’s Man of the Year?
I invite you to keep the attention of everyone on the important issue of respect for human life from the moment of conception. – Pope Francis at the Rome March for Life, 2013
I continue to love the current pontiff, Pope Francis. This adoration continues even after hearing the liberal magazine Time (who knew they still published?) has named Pope Francis as Time’s Man of the Year. The beauty I see in Pope Francis is that everyone seems to view him through their own eyes. Be you liberal, conservative, Catholic, non-Catholic, etc. . . . One day he is angering conservatives, the next they are lauding his praises. One day he is causing liberals consternation and the next they are naming him Man of the Year.
There is an old saying that when one is confronted with the obvious to reply: “Is the Pope Catholic?” (Meaning “of course!” There is another one involving a bear and some woods but I will leave that for later.) In truth we could also say “is the Pope pro-life?” This is because regardless of who the Pope is, if he is true to Church teachings (and I have been blessed in my lifetime with some truly remarkable Holy Fathers) then he is pro-life.
When it comes to the issue of abortion the Catholic Church is very clear in its teachings. As you read in the “guide book for the Catholic Church”, the Catechism:
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.
Much, much more here
In his very first apostolic exhortation he made it clear that no matter how progressive-minded the world becomes, the Catholic Church and its followers can never compromise on its view on abortion:
“This defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be.”
Early in his papacy Pope Francis was unfairly attacked (in my opinion) for not speaking out enough on the life issue. His response was twofold, first addressing his critics:
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”
And then addressing the issue:
“Every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world. . . . They must not be thrown away!”
That is not the statement of a Pope soft on abortion. More so than his predecessors reporting on this pontiff seems to more reflect the wishes of the “journalist” than the Holy Father. I have three steps that I will share that I do when something I read related to Pope Francis gets my dander up:
2) Trust in the Holy Spirit and
3) Go to the source.