VATICAN CITY, May 3, 2013 ( – In a letter to the Bishops of Argentina sent in late March, Pope Francis directed Argentina’s Bishops to govern the Church there following the Aparecida Document


Although the letter did receive some media attention, few outlets mentioned the stress Pope Francis placed on the Aparedica document.   In the letter, the Pope urged the Argentine Assembly of Bishops to use the Aparecida document as their framework. “These are the guidelines we need for this time in history,” he said. 

The Aparecida document was first presented in 2007 by then-Cardinal Bergoglio – now Pope Francis — on behalf of the bishops of Latin America. In one section that has received a great deal of attention, the document made a very clear statement regarding the consequences of supporting abortion – disallowing holy communion for anyone who facilitates an abortion, including politicians.

The text states in paragraph 436 that “we should commit ourselves to ‘eucharistic coherence’, that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated.  This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals.”

Pro-life activists were thrilled at the election of Pope Francis given his strong defence of life as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.  His decision to bless a child-in-the-womb as one of his first public acts, was also a great sign of hope. Last month, Pope Francis’ Good Friday Stations of the Cross included prayers for conversion for those who promote abortion and euthanasia.