CV NEWS FEED // Aboard the flight returning from his Slovakian trip Wednesday, Pope Francis responded to a question about pro-abortion politicians receiving communion by saying “abortion is murder.”
The pope urged bishops and priests to be pastoral rather than political when dealing with pro-abortion politicians who present themselves for Holy Communion, but added that the Catholic Church must remain firmly opposed to abortion because it ends a human life that deserves respect.
“Abortion is more than an ‘issue.’ Abortion is murder,” Francis said, according to a Catholic News Agency report.
The Holy Father added that the Catholic position on abortion arises from science, not faith alone.
“Scientifically it’s a human life. The textbooks teach us that. But is it right to take it out to solve a problem? And this is why the Church is so strict on this issue because it is kind of like accepting this is accepting daily murder,” he said.
Pressed about the issue of pro-abortion politicians, the pope admonished bishops to be pastors of them as well, even when they have been excommunicated.
“What should the pastor do? Be a shepherd, do not go around condemning … but be a pastor. But is he also a pastor of the excommunicated? Yes, he is the pastor and … he must be a shepherd with God’s style. And God’s style is closeness, compassion, and tenderness,” Francis said.
The pontiff added that he had never personally been in the position of a pro-abortion politicians approaching him for communion at Mass and that it was the job of the U.S. bishops to apply his principles to pro-abortion Catholic politicians in America without themselves becoming too political.
“For me, I don’t want to particularize … the United States because I don’t know the details well, I give the principle … Be a pastor and the pastor knows what he has to do at all times, but as a shepherd. But if he comes out of this shepherding of the Church, immediately he becomes a politician,” Francis said.
President Joe Biden, who presents himself in public as a rosary-brandishing “devout Catholic,” recently contradicted his own past statements as well as Church teaching when he declared that human life does not begin at conception.
Together with this statement, Biden’s avowed intention to destroy the recent pro-life abortion ban in Texas have earned him the public rebukes of several U.S. prelates in recent weeks, including Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence and Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C., who said last week that Biden is “not representing” Catholic teaching on life.
Both Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow pro-abortion Democrat who identifies as Catholic, did not attend the strongly pro-life National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Tuesday morning.
Another pro-abortion Democrat who identifies as Catholic, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, recently accused governor and fellow Catholic Greg Abbott, R-TX, of promoting “rape culture” by banning abortions after six weeks in Texas.
During his in-flight press conference Wednesday, the 84-year old Pope Francis also explained why people not in communion with the Catholic Church cannot receive communion, a situation he hopes will be avoided whenever it’s possible to bring someone back to the fullness of faith without excommunication.
“Because they are out of the community, excommunicated, they are ‘excommunicated’ it is called. It is a harsh term, but what it means is that they are not in the community, or because they do not belong, or are baptized but have drifted away from some of the things,” Francis said of the reasons for denying communion to someone.
With the U.S. bishops now considering a document to clarify the reception of Holy Communion as a result of pro-abortion politicians, it remains to be seen how they will apply the pope’s teachings to those politicians who have been baptized but “have drifted away” from some essential Catholic teachings.
Public domain photo of pro-abortion Catholic politicians Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden with Kamala Harris at Congress on April 28, 2021 (WIkimedia Commons)