The pope’s comments on Wednesday came as abortion once again took center stage in US and Mexican politics.
This month, the nation’s most restrictive abortion law came into effect in Texas, and the Biden administration took to the courts in an attempt to block it. And the Supreme Court is expected to pass an abortion law in Mississippi in a case that anti-abortion activists say will reverse abortion rights precedents set by Roe v. Wade in 1973 and subsequent decisions.
Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled last week decriminalizing abortion in the country.
Francis was not asked about, and did not address, the US or Mexican lawsuits.
He spoke candidly of other issues, however, including the rise of anti-Semitism – he’s “making a resurgence, it’s all the rage, it’s ugly, ugly thing” – and his brief meeting on Sunday with the Prime Minister. Hungarian Minister Viktor Orban. , noting that the Hungarian leader’s anti-immigrant policies had not appeared in their interaction.
Asked about the European Parliament’s resolution this month calling on member states to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in European countries where such unions are possible, Francis reaffirmed that marriage is a sacrament and that there are civil laws to “help the situation of many people who have a different sexual orientation.”
The Pope, who has taken a particularly tolerant stance towards homosexuals compared to his predecessors, has spoken of civil unions as a way to meet people’s needs. But he said that “marriage is marriage” between “a man and a woman”. People of different sexual orientations can participate in church life, he said, “but please don’t deny the truth to the church.”
Francis also reiterated his belief that coronavirus vaccinations were essential after being asked about Christians in Slovakia divided over vaccination. He made an apparent reference to an American cardinal, Raymond Burke, who spread misinformation about vaccines and then was treated for Covid-19 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.