Pope Francis denounces abortion as George Pell clarifies church stance on social issues

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Pope Francis has denounced abortions as a symptom of a modern "throwaway culture", a day after criticising the Catholic Church's "obsession" with social issues, such as contraception and homosexuality.

Speaking to a group of Catholic doctors, the Pope said that they should refuse to perform abortions because he says the first right of a person is to life.

"Dear friends, doctors, those of you who are called to deal with human life in its initial phase, remind everybody, with facts and words, that this is always, in all its phases and at every age, sacred and always quality life, and not for a reason of faith, but for a reason of science," he said.

The comments seem to contradict those he made in a landmark interview on Thursday, where he said the church must shake off an obsession with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality.

Written By: ABC News
continue to source article at abc.net.au

29 COMMENTS

  1. When controversial figures speak, you must read their words carefully, or you’ll only reinforce your existing misperceptions. (Some people would have finished that sentence with “biases”, but ways people are wrong bother me far more than their having an opinion.) Journalists don’t exercise such caution. This is why Professor Dawkins was interpreted as being in favour of some forms of sexual assault of children, while Bergoglio was read as being OK with gay people and abortions. And both readings were wrong, slanted in favour of religion. I was right to read Bergoglio’s original interview as observing that, of the many things Catholicism opposes, it mostly talks about the issues on which its critics disagree with it. You can understand why he’d think that’s terribly unpragmatic. That’s not the same as him pushing for changes in policy or doctrines.

  2. So the RCC is against abortion after all ? Well so am I, in general, but not when it is the right thing to do. There’s no need to go into details about when abortion is right, but I would cite where the health of the mother is severely at risk, or in the case of rape.

    What gets my goat is the RCC’s blanket disapproval of all abortion regardless of circumstances. Seeing as most abortions occur naturally, it would appear that Jesus carries out most abortions anyway, – according to RCC doctrine !

    Good cop, bad cop. Watch this Holy Jo as he does theological somersaults to try to win “progressive” Catholics back on board. As for Cardinal Pell, that Australian ignoramus who thought homo sapiens is descended from Neanderthals ! I suspect more dirty linen will be found in his cupboard pretty soon regarding the covering up of child abuse by his priests. I wouldn’t trust his “moral authority” any further than I could throw an elephant.

    • In reply to #2 by Mr DArcy:

      So the RCC is against abortion after all ? Well so am I, in general, but not when it is the right thing to do. There’s no need to go into details about when abortion is right, but I would cite where the health of the mother is severely at risk, or in the case of rape.

      The more important question is whether you are in favour of free abortion for all women no matter the circumstances.

    • In reply to #2 by Mr DArcy:

      So the RCC is against abortion after all ? Well so am I, in general, but not when it is the right thing to do. There’s no need to go into details about when abortion is right, but I would cite where the health of the mother is severely at risk, or in the case of rape.

      An abortion is “the right thing to do” when the woman who is pregnant decides that she doesn’t want to spend nine months getting nauseous, fat, hormonal, emotional, etc. Period. Its her body and her decision.

      • In reply to #14 by Red Dog:

        Taking devil’s advocate for a moment, can you be sure that this is not merely an important part of it, but really all there is to it? The developing young may have a mind past a certain point, even though it’s not as developed as the mother’s, and that mind will develop the more time it’s given. If a careless woman gets herself pregnant and wants to abort merely out of personal convenience, then that potentially could involve penalizing a new being for something it can’t be blamed for and had no control over, merely for the convenience of someone else. Doesn’t that count for something?

        • In reply to #15 by Zeuglodon:

          In reply to #14 by Red Dog:

          Taking devil’s advocate for a moment, can you be sure that this is not merely an important part of it, but really all there is to it? The developing young may have a mind past a certain point, even though it’s not as developed as the mother’s, and that mind will develop…

          My answer is a bit complicated because it depends on the context. There are two important dimensions for me here, one is whether we are talking morality or legality and the other whether we are talking an individual making the choice or one judging someone else.

          So if we are talking legal or a person who is judging Jane Doe who is thinking about an abortion then I stick to my original position. Its her body and in my morality and my perfect world no one has the right to judge Jane or make laws telling her what she can do with her body. It is a matter for her and her doctor. Period.

          If you are saying what if I was pregnant and I was making the decision. Or what if a friend or loved one was pregnant and asked me for honest advise? Then I agree all the issues you mentioned are important and I would consider them.

          • In reply to #21 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #15 by Zeuglodon:

            In reply to #14 by Red Dog:

            My answer is a bit complicated because it depends on the context. There are two important dimensions for me here, one is whether we are talking morality or legality and the other whether we are talking an individual making the choice or one judging someone else.

            The keyword here is choice.

            You could argue over the intricacies and implications of the choice for a long time, i.e. at what stage of gestation can a fetus feel pain, what sort of birth defects and long-term disability to the child justifies a termination, is an abortion the right thing to do if the mother is physically healthy but is not mentally able to care for a child…etc.

            But all of these are complicated ethical issues and must come down to the choice of the people involved, which is what the RCC would take away if they could.

        • In reply to #15 by Zeuglodon:

          In reply to #14 by Red Dog:

          Taking devil’s advocate for a moment, can you be sure that this is not merely an important part of it, but really all there is to it? The developing young may have a mind past a certain point, even though it’s not as developed as the mother’s, and that mind will develop…

          One more thing, as far as public policy, I am completely in favor of things that take the fetus into consideration such as educational material, support for adoption, free pre natal care for mothers that choose to give birth, encouragement to not have abortions after a certain number of months, etc. As long as all of that is educational and supportive of women I am for it. I just draw the line at laws that intervene between a woman, her body, and her doctor.

  3. Biggest part of the problem continues to be the mainstream media’s reporting the vicar of the worlds biggest and longest running scam’s every move as if he has any legitimacy on any topic, anywhere, anytime, ever.

    • In reply to #3 by godsbuster:

      Biggest part of the problem continues to be the mainstream media’s reporting the vicar of the worlds biggest and longest running scam’s every move as if he has any legitimacy on any topic, anywhere, anytime, ever.

      Absolutely; totally agree 100%.

  4. Oh dear, and he was doing quite well until just now.

    Still he did say, “… in all its phases and at every age, sacred and always quality life,…”
    “in all its phases and at every age…” presumably that applies to the mother,
    “… quality life” consider the impacts of birth defects, and if it is a wanted child.

  5. Women who opt for an abortion do so for various reasons relating to their inability at a particular point in time to look after a child.I don’t think that most women take this decision lightly,nor should they. It is a weighty decision.Some of these women may have been raped which makes for a situation which is even more fraught with anguish.

    Enter the dress-wearing misogynists…who don’t have a clue about sex,women and children.In the first place they rant against contraception,which would obviate the need for abortions or reduce it greatly.Then adding insult to injury they denounce abortion,regardless of the situation,and women have DIED because of this;eg Savita Halavappana. A preventable death.
    How dare they??What gives them the right?It certainly shouldn’t be their god. They’ve made the most appalling blunders and the infallibility has proven to be anything but.In spite of countless crimes against humanity and the fact that they’ve been proven wrong by science time and time again they STILL won’t shut the hell up.

    Once a child is born ,then the misery begins.The mother may not have the means to provide for the child and an innocent little being may be forced to endure cold,hunger pain, maybe terrible abuse.We have all, I am sure read horrific accounts of children suffering and dying at the hands of those who should love them the most.

    Will the RCC step in and use its obscene wealth,ill gotten too,to provide for these hapless people they were so quick to condemn and dictate to? If the answer is No,then they should shut up.

    Personally,I would prefer to be an aborted fetus than an ill used child.

    And let’s not forget that these pure and holy men who insist on no abortions and will speak out boldly,sheltered and protected men who preyed on children.Couldn’t speak out then,could they?

    • CMM,
      I was going to “like” your comment twice…. that is how much I agree…. I, however, thought that it might be construed as a mistake, so i wanted to shoot you a quick message to loudly support your words.

      In reply to #5 by Christiana Magdalene Moodley:

      Women who opt for an abortion do so for various reasons relating to their inability at a particular point in time to look after a child.I don’t think that most women take this decision lightly,nor should they. It is a weighty decision.Some of these women may have been raped which makes for a situati…

  6. It is unfortunate that so many abortions are carried out every year, unfortunate not just for the aborted embryos but for the mothers and (perhaps) fathers who must surely find the experience traumatic or at least inconvenient and regrettable. I imagine the medical teams don’t relish the experience either.
    Nonetheless, it is clear that an abortion is the best option in some cases (another poster just mentioned one example).

    So, the pope has a point and should prove it by setting off on a world tour to promote contraception. A travelling condom expo, visiting first the most AIDS-ridden parts of Africa where his predecessors have done so much harm with their previous pronouncements on the subject. Perhaps he could apportion a good percentage of the Vatican’s budget to set up contraception advice centres in lots of places around the world (starting with areas which have the highest abortion figures). He could fund an advisory booklet on the subject and have it distributed through all the churches in all the dioceses in the world. Condoms could be available at church doorways so that the faithful can stock up on their way out (hey, that might even encourage a few people to go to mass).

    So yes, if the pope wants to reduce the numbers of abortions carried out, he certainly has the power to do so.

    • In reply to #7 by Archaic Torso:

      It is unfortunate that so many abortions are carried out every year, unfortunate not just for the aborted embryos

      Yes, I’m sure their non-sentient lives ended in horror. And you’re forgetting all of those handfuls of soil out there which, if their particles were rearranged in the right way, could also become human beings one day. Somebody, think of the candidate human beings!

  7. I find his statement rather vague. I suspect he’s making it purposefully so in an attempt to pacify catholic conservatives while trying not to break the wave of optimism and general approval he’s been generating in the liberal media. One could argue that he should be commended for trying to reconcile the opposite ends of the spectrum but I’m afraid that’s an unfortunate exercise in futility. He will eventually be pressured to pick sides on these issues (my money is on the conservatives) and will inevitably displease one group or the other.

  8. Before the Catholic church wants doctors not to perform Abortions they should ask themselves why is there a need for them. If the RCC regards Abortions as “Murder” then they should look at family planning as a matter to be taken into consideration. Not only does their dogma regarding Abortion to be forbidden, it takes the stance that family planning is also forbidden. So where does a Woman go to when she doesn’t wish to give birth or she is under age. The dogma of anti abortion should be debated with an open mind rather than go on the side of Anti this and Anti that. Religion has not helped those in Africa who are breeding like rabbits and live in poverty. Dieases spread through out villages and children suffer. Better have free family planning and Abortion then let little ones suffer badly in this horrible world.

  9. @OP- “Dear friends, doctors, those of you who are called to deal with human life in its initial phase, remind everybody, with facts and words, that this is always, in all its phases and at every age, sacred and always quality life, and not for a reason of faith, but for a reason of science,” he said.

    Ah! RCC “theological-faith-science”! Oxymoron of the month!

    Here is a link showing fetal development from conception, in all its phases and at every age. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002398.htm

    Basically he is saying to Catholic doctors:
    “Your faith says follow my dogma, so lie to your patients, and prostitute your medical credentials by telling those who trust you as a medical authority, that the RCC dogma is science.”

    Any takers as “Liars for Jebus”?

  10. Here are my requests of Pope Francis to clarify his position on abortion:

    • Would he kindly instruct the flock to stop using dishonest vocabulary, e.g. baby for a one-celled fetus, or partial term abortion for any third term abortion.
    • If he means to force 12 years olds to risk their lives to give birth, let him say so explicitly.
    • If doctors say that a woman will die giving birth, please prepare a video with Pope Francis personally explaining to her why she needs to die rather than some lump of cells so small you can’t see them without microscope.
    • If he means forcing a 13 year old rape victim to give birth, let him say so explicitly.
    • Most of the time fertilised eggs do not implant. If the pope means that anything to change those odds of implanting is murder, let him say so explicitly.
    • If a father impregnates his 9 year old daughter, if you demand she give birth and risk her life, please state that explicitly.
    • If condoms are a form of abortion, let the old goat make the claim out loud so we can laugh at him.
    • If the infant has no brain, or has a disease that will cause extreme torment, if the pope means he must be born only to die, let him say so explicitly.
  11. Roedy:

    If the infant has no brain, or has a disease that will cause extreme torment, if pope means he must be born only to die, let him say so explicitly.

    Now what shall do to get him to say such stuff ? The thumbscrew, the rack ? Appeals to reason won’t have much sway among the RCC hirearchy. Their minds are too swamped in mysticism. It appears ridicule is indeed the best available tool !

    • In reply to #12 by Mr DArcy:

      Roedy:

      If the infant has no brain, or has a disease that will cause extreme torment, if pope means he must be born only to die, let him say so explicitly.

      Now what shall do to get him to say such stuff ? The thumbscrew, the rack ? Appeals to reason won’t have much sway among the

      I am not asking him to change his mind on anything, just be explicit and stop hiding behind generalities. I want him to confront what a stupid, petty, irrational asshole he is.

  12. The obvious way to reduce abortions is to improve contraception. Imagine a conceptive safe enough to give to every child starting with puberty that you have to explicitly turn off when you want to conceive.

    The anti-abortion folk would be violently opposed to such a contraceptive. You would think the fear of AIDS would be enough of a virginity incentive.

  13. My uncle had a medical textbook he’d picked up from somewhere as a teenager I remember reading through it with morbid curiosity. I came across the section on how to deal with certain types of conditions where the baby’s head is too large to fit through the birth canal (seriously large- this is before ultrasound) and numerous other examples and looking at the specified tools to remove the baby (obviously killing it in the process in some cases, I won’t go into the gruesome details) the descriptions were horrific and even though these were just medical diagrams I realised some poor doctor would have to do this to some poor mother who likely thought this process was going to end up with a new member of the family.

    So I don’t like the idea of abortion at all (and yes I am aware of the differences between early and late term abortion I don’t see them as equivalent) but seeing this made me realise that they do this odious thing to save the mothers life even during delivery (I imaging now they are more likely to be able to deliver by C section and would know from scans what was going on this book was from around the 50′s it was old when I read it). I gained enormous respect for doctors to do things like this up to the point of delivery were although deformed, in some cases definitely alive but making the clear and unambiguous choice if the mother doesn’t survive neither does the child we can loose one or two lives, I choose to kill the baby to save the mother. It makes me really resent the oversimplification of the Catholic Church to dare to lecture doctors about their job and call it science, especially when they at the same time try to deny their followers the right to control their fertility and avoid the damn abortion in the first place.

    How must this sound to a profession who have grappled with this and indeed over a great period of time developed tools and techniques to do this sort of thing safely to hear the Pope sprouting science after setting up the conditions that in many cases forces them into a position to do this unpleasant act (when they have no choice) much more often than they otherwise would have to. Clearly this a not my decision to make except in having a say in my in cases of my own direct family and then my wife’s say trumps mine every time, and her health and happiness is paramount always.

    Cardinal Pell is an ignoramus and clearly has no idea what the current Pope is up to do (pretending to be all things to all people) but he has done us a favour in helping to clarify that Catholic dogma remains unchanged. The pope of course could not hope to play both sides of the fence like this for long, it is pretty clear now he is just like his precursors.

  14. Hark back to the bad-old-days of overcrowded orphanages, large impoverished families and too many unwanted children. That’s where the RCC would like us to be. No matter what form of misguided rhetoric they use to dress it up, that’s the end result. A large, poor, uneducated and unquestioning, fearful population is exactly what they want. It’s a good thing that we know better.

  15. “… the first right of a person is to life.”

    It is so easy to say this, but, until that term ‘person’ is clarified, it is not of much use in questions concerning abortion. The Pope, of course, is referring to that divinely created hypostasis comprising an immortal spirit and matter in the womb, where it grows through the various stages towards birth. The absence of evidence for any immortal spirit has never affected the Catholic Church’s insistence on the existence of such spirits, since the Church believes itself to be commissioned by God (no less) to save such spirits from eternal perdition. Given such a belief, it is only consistent of the Church to regard the killing of human hypostases in the womb simply as the murdering of innocent lives (at their most defenceless! etc … there is much scope for rhetoric here).

    Catholics, and Christians in general, have to stop thinking that they are the only ones who care about the sanctity of human life. They also have to stop thinking that moral issues can be dealt with on the basis of superstition. Superstition is all that Christianity has to offer the world; whatever else of use and value they contribute to society they took from non-Christian philosophers, thinkers and artists of old, in most cases without acknowledging their debt. It is on the basis of superstition that Pope Francis has presumed to lecture medical professionals on how to decide questions involving abortion. If this superstition is removed from the discussion and scientific findings given precedence, a much more nuanced approach to abortion emerges, and this is indeed what has been happening in the medical profession, which has a long tradition of dealing with ethical problems, and in legislation.

    It is also fitting to note that the Pope’s (and the Church’s) treatment of questions of abortion as though women, even the pregnant, had no say in them implies a rather primitive view of women and their status in society. If men got pregnant and had to lay their lives on the line each time a baby was to be born, I doubt that the clergy of the Catholic Church would be quite so cavalier in their doctrines regarding abortion. What does it indicate if the carrying of a pregnancy to term is ever considered to outweigh the life of the pregnant woman? It indicates that women are not considered to have the same human rights and dignity as men.

  16. All this rubbish comes down to the Catholic assertion of “ensoulment” at conception! Utter drivel, which claims fertilised eggs are people even before implantation. (See my link @10) Their “purgatory” and “heaven”, would be full of spontaneously aborted zygotes, if such “people” or places existed.
    It is mumbo-jumbo of the lowest order!

  17. Popes are historically used to telling heads of state to conform to “doctrine”, he’s just extending it to doctors (and perhaps in the fullness of power: to all professionals). Doctors following this particular doctrine will inevitably find their religious conformance at odds with their hypocratic oath. Worse, should they choose conformity they may start applying it to their non-catholic patients.

  18. Please, let’s cut all the frippery, philosophizing, condemnation … yadda, yadda, yadda.

    It’s very simple – a woman has a greater right to decide what grows in her body than a foetus has to be there, and no man (especially not a cock-in-a-frock, whether catholic, protestant, orthodox, muslim, jewish, hindu, or any other) has any right whatsoever to an opinion on the matter.

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