This Utopian Pope Appears … Bored by Abortion
A high-ranking Vatican official admitted in an interview on Italian television that Catholic leaders have retreated from one of their church’s fundamental moral positions.
In doing so, he confirmed a trend The Stream explored in May 2021.
The official said on Aug. 26 that the church had no interest in opposing Italy’s law allowing abortion, a law he called “a pillar of our social life.” Passed in 1978, Law 194 makes abortions legal in the first three months and permits them afterward only if the mother’s life is in danger or if the fetus displays “serious abnormalities or malformations,” the law states.
When asked if the church would consider the law up for debate, the official replied, “No, absolutely not.”
Amazingly, that official was Cardinal Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, which Pope John Paul II founded specifically to oppose abortion.
Tommaso Scandroglio, reporter for the Catholic newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, bluntly described the impact: “It is as if the president of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League is declaring himself in favor of the Holocaust.”
Saving Gaia Not Babies
Paglia’s comments reflect Pope Francis’ choice to deemphasize Catholicism’s historic opposition to abortion in favor of his eco-globalist agenda, as The Stream discussed in May 2021. Though Francis has condemned abortion verbally, his and his subordinate’s actions contradict those words, as numerous examples show.
One example is Francis’ praise of Emma Bonino, who worked with African refugees, as “among the greats of today’s Italy.” Bonino, a former member of the Italian and European parliaments, is a left-wing activist who performed illegal abortions and supported its legalization in Italy.
Shrugging as Roe Is Overturned
Two months before Paglia’s interview, his academy issued a lukewarm official response to Roe v. Wade being overturned. That response provided the basis for an editorial in the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. It expresses Francis’ globalist worldview.
“The protection and defense of human life is not an issue that can remain confined to the exercise of individual rights but instead is a matter of broad social significance,” the response read. “After 50 years, it is important to reopen a non-ideological debate on the place that the protection of life has in a civil society to ask ourselves what kind of coexistence and society we want to build.
“It is a question of developing political choices that promote conditions of existence in favor of life without falling into a priori ideological positions. This also means ensuring adequate sexual education, guaranteeing health care accessible to all and preparing legislative measures to protect the family and motherhood, overcoming existing inequalities … .” (Emphasis added.)
Vatican News, the official news portal, used another editorial to discuss abortion in the context of poverty and race.
“(S)trikingly, the maternal mortality rate for black women in 2020 was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.9 times the rate for white women,” the editorial stated. “According to one statistic in the United States, about 75 per cent of women who have abortions live in poverty or have low wages.”
When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Francis’ Twitter account failed to mention that decision. In fact, Francis’ feed made no mention of abortion at all.
Yet more than a year before the Supreme Court’s decision, the Vatican clearly signaled a change in thinking.
In May 2021, the Vatican’s leading theological authority after the Pope discouraged American bishops from withholding Communion from Catholic politicians who support abortion. In issuing that letter, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, contradicted both his own church’s catechism and canon law.
The Catholic catechism describes abortion a “moral evil,” quotes a previous document from Ladaria’s office in calling abortion and infanticide “abominable crimes,” and demands excommunication for anyone involved in “formal cooperation.” Catholic canon law also states that Catholics “persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion…without previous sacramental confession.”
Nevertheless, Ladaria wrote the following:
Any statement … regarding Catholic political leaders would best be framed within the broad context of worthiness for the reception of Holy Communion on the part of all the faithful … It would be misleading if such a statement were to give the impression that abortion and euthanasia alone constitute the only grave matters of Catholic moral and social teaching that demand the fullest level of accountability on the part of Catholics.
Ladaria even called Catholics who support abortion by their preferred euphemism, “pro-choice.”
Disregarding the Innocent, Sucking Up to Mammon
Two events surrounding Ladaria’s letter show how little Pope Francis cares about unborn life.
One day before Ladaria issued his instructions, the Vatican began a three-day conference on health care that not only refused to address abortion. It featured three prominent speakers who either support or tolerate abortion: Chelsea Clinton, Dr. Francis Collins and Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel. Collins, former director of the National Institutes of Health, supports using fetal tissue in research. Bancel’s firm used aborted fetal cells to create the mRNA protein in its COVID-19 vaccines.
The Vatican designed that conference to promote Francis’ globalist worldview. Speakers included Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, known for his “initiatives to create a sustainable, low-carbon future for all,” who discussed “how businesses can drive sustainable financial performance while equitably serving the needs of all stakeholders.”
One week after Ladaria’s letter, the Vatican staged another conference, “Dreaming of a Better Restart,” an obvious reference to the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset” that WEF Chairman Klaus Schwab promotes. The conference featured two more abortion proponents. Columbia economist Jeffrey Sachs spoke about “Financial and Tax Solidarity.” John Kerry, Joe Biden’s climate envoy, delivered a keynote address on “Integral Ecological Sustainability.”
The New Prime Directive
Even before Ladaria’s letter, bishops got the message. One is San Diego’s Robert McElroy. In February 2020, one month before California’s primary, McElroy issued voting guidelines insisting that Francis’ positions on the environment and open borders were more important than opposition to abortion and contraception.
Though McElroy conceded abortion was “intrinsically evil,” he criticized the idea that “candidates who seek laws opposing intrinsically evil actions automatically have a primary claim to political support in the Catholic conscience,” he wrote.
“Similarly, contraception is intrinsically evil in Catholic moral theology, while actions which destroy the environment generally are not,” McElroy added. “But it is a far greater moral evil for our country to abandon the Paris Climate Accord than to provide contraceptives in federal health centers.” (Emphasis added.)
Francis rewarded McElroy by making him a cardinal, despite McElroy’s refusal to cooperate with legal authorities on cases of clerical sex-abuse.
Flattering the Tyrants in China
Two years before McElroy published his voting guidelines, another high-ranking Vatican official made remarks that were even more astounding than Paglia’s.
“Right now, those who are implementing the Church’s social doctrine the best are the Chinese,” said Cardinal Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Councils of Science and Social Science in 2018.
Sorondo praised China’s application of Laudato Si, Francis’ environmentalist encyclical, for “defending the dignity of the person” and “assuming a moral leadership that others have left,” meaning President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on carbon-dioxide emissions.
For Sorondo, the fact that China performs between 10 million and 23 million abortions a year (many coerced) made no difference.
Napoleon in a White Dress
Like any executive, Francis appoints people who represent his worldview and will carry out his agenda. Paglia’s selection as the Pontifical Academy for Life’s president in August 2016 provides the perfect example.
Three months after his appointment, Paglia fired all 70 of the academy’s members, including scholars who questioned Amoris Laetitia, an encyclical Francis wrote. Amoris Laetitia opened the possibility that divorced and remarried Catholics could receive communion, thereby contradicting doctrine. Paglia also eliminated a required oath to defend life “from conception to natural death” and excluded the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which governs theology.
Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Ladaria’s predecessor, essentially called Francis a tyrant Sept. 23 in an interview. Müller blamed the arbitrary behavior of Francis and his subordinates on the Jesuit view of the papacy, which another key papal advisor, Jesuit Cardinal Gianfranco Ghirlanda, represents.
Ghirlanda “holds the view that everything the popes have said or done in the course of church history is a dogma or a divine de jure law,” Müller said. “The theory of the pope as an autocrat, brought from nineteenth-century Jesuit theology, not only contradicts the Second Vatican Council, but undermines the credibility of the Church with this caricature of the Petrine ministry.”
In promoting his eco-globalist agenda, Francis and his allies in the Catholic Church sacrifice that credibility, let alone the unborn, on an altar of ideological wood, hay and straw.
Joseph D’Hippolito has written commentaries for such outlets as the Jerusalem Post, the Wall Street Journal, Human Events, American Thinker and Front Page Magazine. He works as a freelance writer.