Today, the Vatican released the text of Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), an Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis that specifically addresses pro-life and pro-family issues.
The text of the message makes it clear that the Catholic Church cannot and will not compromise on its pro-life teachings on abortion.
214. Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question. I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or “modernizations”. It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life. On the other hand, it is also true that we have done little to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations, where abortion appears as a quick solution to their profound anguish, especially when the life developing within them is the result of rape or a situation of extreme poverty. Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations?
Continuing that pro-woman theme, Pope Francis says the Catholic Church must do more to help women in various pregnancy situations and following an abortion.
213. Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defence of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual”.
The 85-page document has Pope Francis putting together his priorities after eight months worth of homilies, speeches and interviews. Francis wrote the bulk of it in August, during the Vatican’s summer lull, said Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi, according to AP.
It is already receiving praise, with one pro-life blogger commenting, “Anyone who feared or hoped that Pope Francis intended to change (which would not be possible) or soft-pedal the Church’s teachings on these matters might want to note carefully what he says.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops has produced a new video honoring the pro-life spirit and mission Pope Francis has had thus far since becoming the leader of the Catholic Church.
“Open Your Hearts to Life! Pope Francis reaches out to the weakest and most vulnerable — “masterpieces of God’s creation” — in his Day for Life greeting,” the USCCB says about the video.
Earlier this week, after Pope Francis blessed a disabled man who suffered from growths all over his head and body, the leader of the Catholic Church took the time to bless a severely disfigured man without a face.
The disabled man who made international headlines after Pope Francis blessed him was greatly appreciative of the Pope taking his time to bless him. Now, Pope Francis paused during his weekly audience to greet another disfigured person, showing his sensitivity to the dignity and worth of human life no matter what physical conditions they face.