The archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has been selected to become the next Pope, leading the Catholic Church. Like his predecessors, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II, he is a staunch pro-life advocate when it comes to abortion.
Last year, then-Cardinal Bergoglio stated, “Abortion is never a solution. We listen, support and understanding from our place to save two lives: respect the human being small and helpless, they can take steps to preserve your life, allow birth and then be creative in the search for ways to bring it to its full development.”
He once called abortion a “death sentence” for unborn children, during a 2007 speech and likening opposition to abortion to opposition to the death penalty.
In an October 2, 2007 speech Bergoglio said that “we aren’t in agreement with the death penalty,” but “in Argentina we have the death penalty. A child conceived by the rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death.”
The remarks came during the presentation of a document called the Aparecida Document, a joint statement of the bishops of Latin America.
The document, which the new Pope presented on behalf of his colleagues at the time and signed of on, referred to abortion and communion, said “we should commit ourselves to ‘eucharistic coherence’, that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals.”
Archbishop Bergoglio said then that “the most mentioned word in the Aparecida Document is ‘life’, because the Church is very conscious of the fact that the cheapest thing in Latin America, the thing with the lowest price, is life.”
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The new pontiff also denounced euthanasia and assisted suicide, calling it a “culture of discarding” the elderly.
“In Argentina there is clandestine euthanasia. Social services pay up to a certain point; if you pass it, ‘die, you are very old’. Today, elderly people are discarded when, in reality, they are the seat of wisdom of the society,” he said “The right to life means allowing people to live and not killing, allowing them to grow, to eat, to be educated, to be healed, and to be permitted to die with dignity.”
Meanwhile, he made the following comments to his priests last year: “In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today’s hypocrites… Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it’s baptized!”