Pope Francis on Wednesday weighed in on a debate rocking the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, where bishops are considering denying communion to politicians, like President Biden, who support the right to abortion.
“I have never refused the Eucharist to anyone,” Francis said, adding that bishops should be pastors, not politicians.
In his usual way, the Pope did not give a simple and straightforward answer. But he left little doubt about his point of view, citing a phrase he has used before: “Communion is not a price for the perfect. In June, the Vatican warned the country’s conservative bishops against denying communion to Mr. Biden, who is only the second Roman Catholic to be president of the United States.
“If we look at the history of the church, we will see that whenever the bishops have not dealt with a problem as pastors, they have taken sides on a political front,” Francis told reporters on his plane. while returning from a day trip to Slovakia and Hungary. He cited a story of atrocities committed in the name of the faith.
“What should the pastor do? He asked. “Be a pastor, don’t go condemning. Be a pastor, because he is also a pastor for the excommunicated. “
The Pope emphatically reaffirmed the Catholic position that abortion is homicide.
“It’s more than a problem, it’s murder,” he said in Italian. “He who aborts kills, no half words.”
“It’s a human life,” he added. “This human life must be respected – this principle is so clear.”
Francis was not asked about the Mexican Supreme Court ruling last week that decriminalized abortion in the country, and did not address the ruling.