Pope Francis – the guy who supposedly wants everyone to hush up already about abortion and other contentious, intimate issues – met with Catholic doctors gathering in Rome for a conference on maternal health today.
He talked about the paradox doctors face today, welcoming progress while making sure it is always in service of human dignity. “If you lose the personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away,” he said. He observed that the acceptance of life strengthens moral fiber, before adding that the final objective of the doctor is always the defense and promotion of life.
“The first right of the human person is his life,” he said. Not for the first time, he talked about a throwaway culture, one that dismisses, doesn’t see, or seeks to eliminate those who are physically or socially weaker. According to Vatican Radio, “The Pope stressed that every child that is not born, but unjustly condemned to be aborted and every elderly person who is sick or at the end of his life bears the face of Christ.” Catholic doctors must be “witnesses and promoters of the ‘culture of life,’” he said, explaining that God is counting on them to be promoters of “the Gospel of life,” a referecne to the title of an encyclical by Pope John Paul II. Pope Francis concluded his remarks by saying that “there is no human life more sacred than another, as there is no human life more significant than another. The credibility of a health-care system is measured not only for its efficiency, but also for the attention and love toward people, whose life is always sacred.”
Over the summer, the pope preached during a celebration of life, in atonement for the culture of death that we live in. There he said:
God is the Living One, the Merciful One; Jesus brings us the life of God; the Holy Spirit gives and keeps us in our new life as true sons and daughters of God. But all too often, as we know from experience, people do not choose life, they do not accept the “Gospel of Life” but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life, because they are dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power and pleasure, and not by love, by concern for the good of others. It is the eternal dream of wanting to build the city of man without God, without God’s life and love – a new Tower of Babel. It is the idea that rejecting God, the message of Christ, the Gospel of Life, will somehow lead to freedom, to complete human fulfilment. As a result, the Living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death.
NARAL Pro-Choice America has sent out an e-mail today thanking Pope Francis on behalf of “Pro-Choice women everywhere.” So we’re going to start to talk about the humanity of the child in the womb with NARAL? The pope is a miracleworker.
In all seriousness, even as people read their own ideologies into a priest talking about Christ and His mercy, if it helps bring people to Christ, his goal, to start listening to the fullness of what the Church proposes, thanks be to God. A debate about the human dignity of the unborn child or the elderly grandmother is never going to be successful if individuals do not understand the profound nature of their humanity as a child of God, loved with a love greater than the world knows. The pope is pleading with people to consider that love and to go to that love and the mercy that God offers us for what we have done, injustices that we are indifferent to, that we contribute to. He’s not saying hush up about abortion, stop teaching about sexual morality. He’s saying let the Gospel be known in its fullness.
The one and only.