In Cuba, Pope Francis on Sunday told a group of nuns, priests, bishops and seminarians to protect their “smallest” and most vulnerable members, including unborn children. CNN reports that he also said Jesus shines in the lives of hidden and ignored people, referring to those who suffer from degenerative diseases.
Later that evening, he said, “Children aren’t loved, they’re killed before being born. The elderly are thrown away, because they don’t produce. Some countries have euthanasia. But in some others there a hidden euthanasia. The youth is thrown away because they have no job opportunities.” Additionally, he criticized prenatal testing that can detect fetal abnormalities and cause some parents to abort their babies.
This week, Pope Francis is expected to address Congress and will be attending a reception with President Obama. As LifeNews previously reported, earlier this month, Pope Francis wrote a letter explaining that the Catholic Church will be making it easier for women who have obtained abortions to seek forgiveness from their priests.
“One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails,” the Pope wrote.
“Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe that they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision,” the Catholic Church leader wrote. “I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision.”
“What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father,” he continued.
He concluded: “For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfill this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.”
Although some pro-abortion Catholics have argued that Pope Francis’ gesture is a sign that the Church is becoming more “progressive” on abortion, this is completely false. Pope Francis said that Christians should offer grace and mercy to post-abortive women but simultaneously stand strong against abortion.
At a meeting with Catholic bishops in South Africa, Pope Francis said, “Abortion compounds the grief of many women who now carry with them deep physical and spiritual wounds after succumbing to the pressures of a secular culture which devalues God’s gift of sexuality and the right to life of the unborn. The sacrament of reconciliation, in particular, must be rediscovered as a fundamental dimension of the life of grace.”
Additionally, in 2013, Pope Francis reiterated the Catholic Church’s pro-life stance and promised that they will never compromise on their opposition against abortion. He said, “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.”
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The pontiff’s visit to the United States and address to Congress comes after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood in light of ten videos exposing their organ harvesting business and passed legislation to protect babies born alive in botched abortions. Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Act, which bans abortion after 20-weeks based on the scientific fact that babies at this age have the capacity to feel pain.