ROME (AP) – Pope Francis celebrated families on Saturday and urged them to shun “selfish” decisions indifferent to life as he closed a major Vatican meeting a day after the US Supreme Court ended constitutional protections for abortion†
Francis did not refer to the pronounciation or explicitly mention abortion in his sermon. But he used the buzzwords he had during his papacy about the need to defend families and condemn a “waste culture” that he believes is behind the societal acceptance of abortion.
“Let’s not allow the family to be poisoned by the poisons of selfishness, individualism, the current culture of indifference and waste, and as a result lose its own DNA, the spirit of hospitality and service,” he said.
Noting that some couples allow their fears and worries to “thwart the desire to bring new lives into the world,” the Pope urged them not to hold on to selfish desires.
“You have been asked not to have other priorities, not to ‘look back’ to miss your past life, your former freedom, with its deceptive illusions,” he said.
Francis has strongly supported the Church’s anti-abortion teaching, equating it with: “hire a hitman” solve a problem.” At the same time, he has expressed his condolences to women who have had abortions and made it easier for them to be cleared of the sin of undergoing the procedure.
The Catholic Church holds that life begins at conception and must be protected and defended until natural death.
Francis delivered his homily in a crowded St. Peter’s Square at the end of the World Meeting of Families, a four-day conference held every few years to help church workers provide better pastoral care to families, especially those in difficulty.
The head of the Vatican lay office, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, celebrated closing mass in front of tens of thousands of people, as Francis has a bad knee that makes it difficult for him to stand for long periods of time.
The pope instead sat at the side of the altar and kept the homily seated, although he could easily get up for reading the gospel and other times with the help of a walking stick.
The Vatican welcomed Friday’s ruling quashing Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that constitutionally protected abortion in the US. half of the US states†
The Holy See’s main bioethical body, the Pontifical Academy of Life, said it “challenges the whole world” to reopen the debate about the need to protect life. Abortion is legal in Italy and most of Europe.
In an editorial on Saturday titled “For Life, Always,” Vatican Editor-in-Chief Andrea Tornielli called for a move away from a polarized ideology to a dialogue that takes into account concerns about maternal mortality rates and helping women, especially the poor, with paid parental leave and other childbirth assistance.
“Being forever also means defending it against the threat of firearms, which have sadly become one of the leading causes of death for children and adolescents in the US,” Tornielli wrote.
Farrell, in his closing remarks at the end of Mass, thanked Francis for his many initiatives in favor of families, citing in particular his teaching on the value of grandparents and his “many statements in defense of life”.