Though Pope Francis said in a recent interview that the Catholic Church tends to obsess a little too much over issues like gay marriage and abortion, he added that the latter is indicative of a “throw-away culture.” He also encouraged Catholic doctors to refuse to perform them.
Francis’ strong anti-abortion message may have been an olive branch to conservative sects of the church, reports The Guardian. The remarks came just one day after he criticized the church’s obsession with “small-minded rules” that drive people away from religion.
His interview, with the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, sparked controversy this week, but the core of Pope Francis’ message was inclusion. He advised priests to be merciful and welcoming to all instead of allowing issues like homosexuality and abortion to prevent those who may need the church from being a part of it.
But his comments Friday have some wondering whether Pope Francis has caved to his conservative critics.
Speaking to a group of Catholic gynaecologists, Francis said that abortion is symptomatic of a “throw-away culture” that has no qualms disposing human life, and that doctors particularly have been called on to “not respect life.”
“Every child that isn’t born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord,” he said.
He then advised the Catholic doctors to follow their consciences. “Things have a price and can be for sale, but people have a dignity that is priceless and worth far more than things,” he said.
But is there really a contradiction here? Greg Burke, the Vatican’s senior communication adviser, said Friday that Pope Francis’ tone is consistent on issues that the church is trying to parse for a new era.
“What he is saying is ‘We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the boundaries. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about what is sin and what’s not. Now let’s move on. Let’s talk about mercy. Let’s talk about love.'”
[Image: Wikimedia Commons]