Pope Francis on Abortion
What is Pope Francis’ View on Abortion (In His Own Words)?
POPE FRANCIS’ VIEW ON ABORTION
Pope Francis has been anything but vague on abortion. In 2021, the Holy Father said, “Abortion is murder…It’s a human life, period.” (Pope Francis)
But this wasn’t the only time the Holy Father had been so clear on abortion. The Church has consistently taught that abortion is a grave evil and Pope Francis has, for his entire papacy, preached the same message.
POPE FRANCIS IN 2013
“[T]he ‘culture of waste’ that today enslaves the hearts and minds of so many, comes at a very high cost: it asks for the elimination of human beings…Our response to this mentality is a decisive and unreserved ‘yes’ to life.” (Pope Francis)
On the flight back from the 2013 World Youth Day in Brazil, the Pope was asked why he did not speak about abortion during his visit. His answer: “The Church has already spoken quite clearly on this. It was unnecessary to return to it, just as I didn’t speak about cheating, lying, or other matters on which the Church has a clear teaching!” (Pope Francis)
Read more about the Church’s very long history condemning abortion
POPE FRANCIS IN 2014
After quoting Guadium et Spes, (“Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes”) Pope Francis went on to say, “Anyone who is Christian has a duty to bear witness to the Gospel: to protect life courageously and lovingly in all its phases.” (Pope Francis)
“The predominant school of thought sometimes leads to ‘false compassion‘ which holds that it is a benefit to women to promote abortion”. (Pope Francis)
“Abortion compounds the grief of many women who now carry with them deep physical and spiritual wounds after succumbing to the pressures of a secular culture which devalues God’s gift of sexuality and the right to life of the unborn.” (Pope Francis)
“[I]t is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day” (Pope Francis)
POPE FRANCIS IN 2015
“The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails.” (Pope Francis)
“The plague of abortion is an attack on life.” (Pope Francis)
“[C]oncern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion.” (Pope Francis)
POPE FRANCIS IN 2016
“Abortion is not a “lesser evil”. It is a crime. It is wiping out one to save another. That is what the mafia does. It is a crime, it is absolutely evil.” (Pope Francis)
“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.” (Pope Francis)
“The plague of abortion is an attack on life.” (Pope Francis)
POPE FRANCIS IN 2018
“The issue of abortion is not a religious issue: we are not opposed to abortion for religious reasons. No. It is a human issue and has to be addressed as such. The abortion question has to be studied from an anthropological standpoint.” (Pope Francis)
POPE FRANCIS IN 2019
“On a social level, fear and hostility towards disability often lead to the choice of abortion, presenting it as a form of ‘prevention’. However, the Church’s teaching on this point is clear: human life is sacred and inviolable” (Pope Francis)
“Sometimes we hear people say, ‘You Catholics do not accept abortion; it’s a problem with your faith’. No, the problem is pre-religious. Faith has nothing to do with it.” (Pope Francis)
“Abortion is never the answer that women and families are looking for.” (Pope Francis)
POPE FRANCIS IN 2020
“Let the abortion and killing of innocent lives end.” (Pope Francis)
“Sad to say, some countries and international institutions are also promoting abortion as one of the so-called ‘essential services’ provided in the humanitarian response to the pandemic. It is troubling to see how simple and convenient it has become for some to deny the existence of a human life as a solution to problems that can and must be solved for both the mother and her unborn child.” (Pope Francis)
POPE FRANCIS IN 2021
“I have had occasion to return to the subject of abortion recently. You know that I am very clear about this: it is a homicide and it is not licit to become an accomplice.” (Pope Francis)
“We are victims of the throwaway culture…there is the throwing away of children that we do not want to welcome. Today this has become a “normal” thing, a habit that is very bad; it is truly murder. In order to truly grasp this, perhaps asking ourselves two questions may help: is it right to eliminate, to end a human life to solve a problem? Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? Abortion is this. (Pope Francis)
To those who argue that an embryo or fetus is not a living human being, the Pope answers, “Scientifically it’s a human life. The textbooks teach us that.” (Pope Francis)
POPE FRANCIS IN 2022
The Church “promotes and encourages organizations and associations that help families and individuals to welcome and responsibly safeguard the gift of life, especially in the case of difficult pregnancies, and prevent recourse to abortion.” (Pope Francis)
POPE FRANCIS IN 2023
There are “forms of ‘ideological colonization‘… that would place before the reality of life reductive concepts of freedom, for example by vaunting as progress a senseless ‘right to abortion’, which is always a tragic defeat.” (Pope Francis)
“Peace requires before all else the defense of life, a good that today is jeopardized…through the promotion of an alleged ‘right to abortion’. No one, however, can claim rights over the life of another human being, especially one who is powerless and thus completely defenceless. For this reason, I appeal to the consciences of men and women of good will, particularly those having political responsibilities, to strive to safeguard the rights of those who are weakest and to combat the throwaway culture” (Pope Francis)
For ten years, Pope Francis has cried out against the sin, the crime that is abortion. Let there be no doubt!
WHAT ABOUT FORGIVENESS?
“I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.” (Pope Francis)
“It is up to us…to give voice to God and to show the face of his mercy“. (Pope Francis)
Three Key Principles
Catholic social teaching is built on three foundational principles - Human Dignity, Solidarity and Subsidiarity. Human Dignity, embodied in a correct understanding of the human person, is the greatest. The others flow from it. Good governments and good economic systems find ways of fostering the three principles.
This means a correct understanding of the human person and of each person’s unique value. All Catholic social teaching flows from this: the inherent dignity of every person that comes from being made in God’s image.
Solidarity is not “a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of others. It is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good”. (Pope St. John Paul II, 38) Love of God and love of neighbor are, in fact, linked and form one, single commandment.
Subsidiarity “is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, fixed and unchangeable, that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry. So, too, it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and a disturbance of right order to transfer to the larger and higher collectivity functions which can be performed and provided for by the lesser and subordinate bodies”. (Pope Pius XI)
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