Media organisms that worked so hard to cast Pope Francis as a left-leaning Man of the Year type of Pontiff are reeling in shock from the discovery that he is, in fact, Catholic, and therefore does not approve of abortion. In fact, he went so far as to criticize abortion as emblematic of a “throwaway culture” that treats far too much human life as disposable.
This earned Pope Francis a hilariously ignorant and biased headline from Reuters: “Pope, after conservatives’ criticism, calls abortion ‘horrific.’”
Oh, my God, those rascally conservatives actually bullied Pope Hippie McCoolsville into saying abortion is wrong! And he was just one anti-capitalist diatribe away from earning his choice of fabulous prizes from the Left: a permanent column at the New York Times, tenured professorship at a major university, or a seat on Barack Obama’s economics council!
I’ve had occasional to respectfully disagree with some of what the Holy Father said about capitalism, while at the same time thinking the liberals who bestowed their Strange New Respect award on him were greatly exaggerating what he actually said. Now they’re ignoring what he’s been saying about abortion all along, in some misguided attempt to dismiss his words – and their continuity with time-honored Church teachings – as a mere sop to alienated conservatives. This attitude from pro-abortion media figures is also a result of their personal conviction that abortion-on-demand is essentially the height of morality; abortion is a sacred right, whose exercise no one of good will can seriously contemplate thwarting. There aren’t any pro-life good guys to the left-wing press, and they’ve been working awfully hard to present Pope Francis as a good guy, so he can’t possibly mean it when he calls abortion “horrific,” can he?
Reuters describes the Pope’s “State of the World” address on Monday “his toughest remarks to date on abortion.”
“It is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day,” he said in a section of the speech about the rights of children around the world.
Abortion, he said, was part of a “throwaway culture” that had enveloped many parts of the world.
“Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as unnecessary,” he said.
Since his election in March, the pope, while showing no signs of changing the Church’s position against abortion, has not spoken out against it as sternly or as repeatedly as his predecessors, Pope Benedict XVI and the late John Paul II.
There’s another aspect of the pro-abortion bias: since Pope Francis hasn’t spent as much time talking about abortion as his predecessors – even though he hasn’t been Pope for very long – he must be having quiet second thoughts about the Church’s position! The inherent correctness of the pro-abortion position means every major figure who doesn’t declare himself ardently pro-life on a regular basis… probably isn’t. Love of life in the womb is like a magazine subscription: it must be renewed frequently, or the media assumes it has expired.
The Associated Press report on Pope Francis’s remarks noted that he also said “we cannot be indifferent to those suffering from hunger, especially children, when we think of how much food is wasted every day in many parts of the world,” which is another aspect of the “throwaway culture” he denounced.
In remarks that were less diplomatic and more a reflection of his own priorities, Francis called for the elderly to be treated with respect that their wisdom warrants, and for children to be protected from exploitation, slavery and hunger.
He lamented those who have died trying to find better lives for themselves and their families, citing migrants from his own Latin America trying to reach the United States and Africans seeking to enter Europe.
He urged Italians in particular to “renew their praiseworthy commitment of solidarity” toward migrants, an allusion to the current debate in Italy to revise its restrictive immigration policies.
Each year, thousands attempt risky voyages across the Mediterranean in unseaworthy boats heading toward Italian shores, and hundreds die en route. Last year, Francis visited the island of Lampedusa, the destination of choice for smuggling operations where more than 360 people died in a single shipwreck on Oct. 3.
From Syria to Mali, North Korea to South Sudan, Francis called for the international community to do more to end conflicts and care for the most vulnerable.
Francis also decried the persecution of Christians that has forced many to flee the Middle East, resulted in bloodshed in places like Nigeria and Mali and deprived Christians of their right to worship in parts of Asia.
“We must never cease to do good, even when it is difficult and demanding, and when we endure acts of intolerance if not genuine persecution,” he said.
Migrant populations would be better served if they didn’t have to migrate in order to escape poverty and cruelty. No conceivable immigration policy by any nation can change that reality. In fact, providing the worse governments with an easy safety valve for disposing of unhappy population only drains away the pressure that might lead to substantial improvements. I must also report to the Pope, with a heavy heart, that the “international community” does not have the power to end the conflicts he speaks of, although it’s always wise to call for the maximum charity and compassion towards the victims.
How much evil could be avoided if the governments of the world became less callous and arrogant – less inclined to view human life as a problem to be solved, rather than a gift to be cherished? That’s the calculation at the heart of abortion extremism. No value is assigned to the life that will be ended. The more radical abortion philosophers aren’t even willing to concede that escape from the womb results in an independent life that deserves full moral and legal respect. Not only is that philosophy callous, it is profoundly arrogant. No one should be surprised that the Pope offers humility before the beauty of life in response.
Certainly most pro-lifers are adamant that the unborn child is a fully vested human life; the Catholic Church has a firm position on the question. But no one can logically deny that birth results in a human being. The sense of responsibility for beginning that momentous journey has been lost due to abortion culture. The child is a problem, and never mind all the choices that led up to the beginning of a pregnancy; we are told we must erase all other considerations to make the choice of termination completely neutral, or even intrinsically noble. How often do you hear abortion advocates claim it’s cruel to bring a child into this awful world – cruel not only to the infant, but to the planet dying beneath the weight of its human viral infestation?
It seems to me that Pope Francis is saying that reverence for life cannot be conditional. A love that aspires to follow the divine model cannot be parceled out in small doses, or withheld when providing it would be expensive or inconvenient. That’s a strong message, but anyone who thinks it’s new or unusual has not been paying attention. Anyone who doesn’t understand why the Pope would deliver it less than two weeks before the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade hasn’t checked their calendar lately. And those who don’t understand why persecution of Christians goes hand-in-hand with the cruel and arrogant exercise of power would benefit from a study of history.