Note: This is part 2 of a 3-part series
In part 1, I have talked about how conventional pro-life media, namely LifeSiteNews (LSN) have unfairly attacked the Pope through guilt by association, when His Holiness has demonstrated commitment to the pro-life cause.
But on this article I would wish to focus on the Pope’s contributions to the pro-life movement through his teaching office as the Vicar of Christ, to whom every Catholic owes assent of will and intellect.
It is noteworthy that every single encyclical or apostolic exhortation written by Pope Francis mentions abortion, without exception. Condemnation of euthanasia figures in one of them too.
It’s interesting that the most polemic mention of abortion on an official papal document is also the latest one. This happened many years after a section of the pro-life movement started their anti-Francis campaign, by arguing that he was not pro-life enough for focusing too much in other issues.
«Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection. We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.
We often hear it said that, with respect to relativism and the flaws of our present world, the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the “grave” bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children»
— Gaudete et Exsultate #101-102
Many pro-lifers think that this seems to downplay the importance of abortion relatively to other political problems of the day. However, if it would be so, Pope Francis would not have said that our defense of the unborn should be “clear, firm and passionate”, or that abortion puts the “dignity of a human life” (which is “always sacred”) “at stake”.
What Pope Francis seems to be discussing here is not pro-life activism, but how some may use said activism to oppose Church Social Doctrine in some other issues, namely the humane treatment of migrants. But this is very different from saying that we shouldn’t fight abortion. In fact, such an erroneous interpretation is plainly contradicted by Francis’ call for a “clear, firm and passionate” “defense of the innocent unborn”.
However, the question remains: has Francis made a clear, firm and passionate defense of the innocent unborn, as he urges us to do? Well, let’s see the other papal documents, namely the much defamed Amoris Laetitia (AL):
Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.