Pope Francis has ducked the question of whether President Joe Biden and other Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should be denied Holy Communion, but called on priests to show compassion to these leaders .
Priests should use the “Style of God” in ministry to the elect, showing their flocks “Closeness, compassion and tenderness”, Francis told reporters on Wednesday, on a flight back to Rome from Slovakia.
And what should pastors do? Be pastors, and don’t go condemning, condemning.
The Pope did not directly respond to whether politicians such as Biden and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should be allowed communion, a bread-sharing ceremony at the heart of the mass of Catholicism, claiming that he did not know the American case well enough. . But his comments foreshadowed an error on the side of permissiveness, even as he asserted his view that abortion is “homicide.”
Francis has already warned against using communion as a political weapon. He said Wednesday that the church had erroneously relied on political principles in the past, such as in its conviction of philosopher Giordano Bruno for alleged heresy during the Inquisition, an era of persecution in Europe by the church. Bruno was tortured and burned alive.
“Whenever the church, to defend a principle, has not done so in a pastoral way, it has taken a political stand” said Francois. “If a pastor leaves the pastoral care of the church, he immediately becomes a politician.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted in June to draft a statement on the meaning of communion, including a statement on whether pro-abortion politicians should be able to take the Holy Last Supper. Two-thirds of the bishops are expected to support the declaration for it to be officially adopted.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco earlier this month said politicians such as Biden and Pelosi had violated basic church teachings and argued that “Anyone who advocates abortion, in public or private life, who finances it or who presents it as a legitimate choice, is participating in a great moral evil.
Cordileone said bishops have a duty to respond when prominent laity “To oppose openly” teachings of the church. He compared the look away from abortion, which he called “The most urgent human rights challenge of our time”, to ignore the public plea for racism in the church in the 20th century.
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