When describing Pope Saint John XXIII, 20th-century American theologian John Courtney Murray called him “the Pope of the Question Mark.” In many ways, the same phrase can be applied to His Holiness, Pope Francis. This pontiff can be difficult to understand and incredibly difficult to pin down.
Is the pope progressive? Is he conservative? Like most people, he’s a mix. Although the pope may eschew certain practices, especially those relating to the veneration of his own person, there can be no doubt as to where he stands on the issue of abortion.
In a conference held at the Vatican on May 25 entitled: “Yes to Life: Caring for the precious gift of life in its frailness,” the pope stated unequivocally that “human life is sacred and inviolable and the use of prenatal diagnosis for selective purposes should be discouraged with strength.”
The Holy Father made it very clear that abortion, in any circumstance, is morally wrong, saying, “Is it legitimate to take out a human life to solve a problem?” and compared having an abortion to hiring a “hit man.”
The movement throughout the world is toward life, and all people, not just persons of faith, are beginning to realize that the child in the womb is indeed a human being, worthy of respect and dignity.
We who value human life from conception to natural death need to use this moment, this upswing in the understanding of the dignity of human life, to campaign and witness even more to the Church’s unchanging teaching on the value of all life, even the most helpless the sick, the disabled, the homeless, the migrant, the poor. May life rule.
“Heavenly Father, the beauty and dignity of human life was the crowning of your creation. You further ennobled that life when your Son became one with us in his incarnation. Help us to realize the sacredness of human life and to respect it from the moment of conception until the last moment at death. Give us courage to speak with truth and love and with conviction in defense of life. Help us to extend the gentle hand of mercy and forgiveness to those who do not reverence your gift of life. To all, grant pardon for the times we have failed to be grateful for your precious gift of life or to respect it in others. We ask this in Jesus’ Name.