Pope Francis brought a consistent pro-life message to the nation’s leaders today and admonished members of Congress in a speech today to “defend life at every stage of development.”
The leader of the Catholic Church has been quite consistent in his message over the last two years opposing abortion and working to build a culture of life. But how to American Catholics view him on pro-life issues?
According to a recent Bloomberg poll, over 80% of Catholics support Pope Francis’ recent decision to make it easier for women who have obtained abortions to seek forgiveness from their priests. Additionally, a Pew Research Survey found that 80%% of respondents gave the leader of the Catholic Church high marks on addressing the needs of families and standing up for traditional values.
Earlier this month, the pontiff wrote in a letter that the tragedy of abortion devastates women and their families, which is why he believes the Church needs to continue offering God’s forgiveness.
He said, “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. 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.”
He added, “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.”
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Although some pro-abortion Catholics have argued that Pope Francis’ gesture is a sign that the Church is becoming more “progressive” on abortion, recent statements he’s made in Cuba and in the United States prove this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, yesterday Pope Francis said his primary reason for his visit to America was for the cause of life.
The pontiff said, “I appreciate the unfailing commitment of the Church in America to the cause of life and that of the family, which is the primary reason for my present visit.” At the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, he encouraged Catholics to remain vigilant in their opposition to abortion and listed unborn children among innocent people who the bishops must keep at the top of the priority list of people who deserve protection.
He lists, “the innocent victim of abortion, children who die of hunger or from bombings, immigrants who drown in the search for a better tomorrow, the elderly or the sick who are considered a burden, the victims of terrorism, wars, violence and drug trafficking, the environment devastated by man’s predatory relationship with nature – at stake in all of this is the gift of God, of which we are noble stewards but not masters.”
“It is wrong, then, to look the other way or to remain silent. Ever present within each of them is life as gift and responsibility. The future freedom and dignity of our societies depends on how we face these challenges,” he concluded.
Additionally, on September 20th, Pope Francis told a group of Cuban 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.”
As LifeNews previously reported, a recent Pew Research Center survey found that nearly six-in-ten Catholics believe having an abortion is a sin. In fact, 57 percent of Catholics believe having an abortion is a sin, while only 23 percent say it is not. Remarkably, the poll shows that most Americans agree that obtaining an abortion is wrong, with 48 percent saying it is and 22 percent reporting that it is not.