ROME, March 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As Pope Francis makes headlines across the globe for his public gestures of humility, he is also turning heads for his strong preaching on both faith and the crucial moral issues of the day.
As a Cardinal, in addition to condemning abortion in the strongest terms, he also urged the public to be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to end this devastating atrocity.
In 2005, as activists urged Argentina to legalize abortion, the future pontiff urged Catholics to defend the right to life even if they “deliver you to the courts” or “have you killed.”
At a Mass in Buenos Aires on Aug. 31st, 2005 in honor of St. Raymond Nonnatus (Raymond "the unborn"), who is revered as the holy protector of pregnant women, the then-Cardinal said that promoting life is “a road that is full of wolves.”
“Perhaps for that reason they might bring us to the courts. Perhaps, for that reason, for caring for life, they might kill us,” he said. “We should think about the Christian martyrs. They killed them for preaching this Gospel of life, this Gospel that Jesus brought. But Jesus gives us the strength.”
The future pontiff also urged the faithful to “be astute” in promoting the Gospel of life. “Go forth! Don't be fools,” he said. “Remember, a Christian doesn't have the luxury of being foolish. … He can't give himself the luxury. He has to be clever, he has to be astute, to carry this out.”
The Cardinal also said: “When one listens to what Jesus says: Look, ‘I send you, I send you like sheep amongst the wolves,’ one has the desire to ask: ‘Lord, are you joking, or do you not have a better place to send us?’ Because what Jesus says is a little chilling: ‘if you proclaim my message, they are going to persecute you, they are going to slander you, they are going to set traps to deliver you to the courts and to have you killed. But you must continue forward. For that reason, take care, Jesus says, and be astute, be clever like the serpent but very simple like doves,’ joining the two things.”
Commenting on the future Pope's homily, Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League wrote, “What really touches me…is that not only does Pope Francis speak to the right to life of the unborn child, he acknowledges that fighting for their right to life often involves tremendous sacrifice, from being lied about to being physically attacked.”
“I have to confess, sometimes it seems church leaders, both Protestant and Catholic—despite unequivocal opposition to abortion—don’t really understand what it’s like fighting abortion ‘in the trenches,’” he continued. “It’s extremely encouraging to know that the new pope understands and sympathizes with the challenges we face fighting to save unborn babies from abortion.”
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The pope has also compared abortion in cases of rape to the “death penalty” and joined in preparing a 2007 document by the bishops of Latin America that barred Communion for advocates of abortion and euthanasia in the interest of “Eucharistic coherence.”
In his 2011 book, Sobre el cielo y la tierra (On heaven and earth), he insisted, as translated by MercatorNet, “The right to life is the first among human rights. To abort a child is to kill someone who cannot defend himself.”