Pope Francis reiterated his opposition to abortion Saturday, likening the medical procedure to “hiring a hit man.”
In a lengthy interview with Reuters at the Vatican, the pontiff was asked about the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade on June 24 (5-4 decision). Also on that same day, the high court upheld the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case (by a 6-3 decision), which preserved a Mississippi law banning abortion after the first 15 weeks of a woman’s pregnancy.
Initially, Pope Francis said he did not have enough information to discuss the legalities of the Supreme Court decisions. He then reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s teachings of how “life” begins at the moment of conception.
While speaking to Reuters, Pope Francis compared abortion to “hiring a hit man” and then said: “I ask: Is it legitimate, is it right, to eliminate a human life to resolve a problem?”
Pope Francis echoed a similar sentiment three years ago while hosting a Vatican-sponsored anti-abortion conference. At the event, the pope rhetorically asked: “Is it licit to throw away a life to resolve a problem? Is it licit to hire a hit man to resolve a problem?”
At the same time, Pope Francis has previously said his opposition to abortion has a human component — and no religious motives.
Citing one example from 2015, the Pope expressed sympathy for women who chose to have abortions.
He also made it easier for women to be absolved of what Catholics view as the sin of abortion.
Reuters also asked the pontiff about whether practicing Catholics who support abortion should be allowed to participate in Communion.
“When the church loses its pastoral nature, when a bishop loses his pastoral nature, it causes a political problem. That’s all I can say,” said Pope Francis said.
The Reuters question was likely a reference to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recently being barred from Communion in her home diocese of San Francisco.
Regarding that incident, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone publicly denied Pelosi for future Communions, saying her open-ended stance on abortion was “purely pastoral, not political.”
In a recent letter, Cordileone wrote: “After numerous attempts to speak with her [Pelosi] to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that the point has come in which I must make a public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance.”
According to reports, Speaker Pelosi “regularly” partakes in Communion at a parish in Washington, D.C.; and last week, she received the sacrament at a papal Mass in the Vatican.
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