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So what are Pope Francis’ stances on abortion, social justice, and other issues?

pope francis 13 – en


Aleteia - published on 03/13/13

Quotes from his previous homilies show how he thinks
What does the new Pope think about abortion, the New Evangelization, social justice, and more? Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, we offer here some excerpts from his recent homilies.

“Abortion is never a solution. We must listen, support, and understand from where we stand in order to save two lives: to respect the smallest and most defenseless human being, to take steps that can preserve his life, to allow his birth, and then be creative in finding ways to help him reach his full development.” (September 16, 2012)

Defense of life
“To those who were offended when Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors, Jesus says, ‘The tax collectors and the prostitutes are going to precede you.’ They were considered the lowest of the low in that time period. Jesus does not put up with them. They are the ones who have clericalized – to use a commonly understood word – the Lord’s Church. They fill it with precepts and I say it with sorrow, and if it looks like a complaint or offense, forgive me, but in our ecclesiastical region there are priests who do not baptize the children of single mothers because they were not conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today’s hypocrites. They are the ones who clericalized the Church. They are the ones who keep the people of God away from salvation. And that poor girl who had the courage to bring him into the world ends up traveling from parish to parish to baptize him.” ( September 2, 2012) 

“Our educational work should go this way to achieve harmony – harmony in all the boys and girls who have been entrusted to us; inner harmony, the harmony of their personality. It is by working in a hands-on way, imitating God, molding the lives of those kids like clay, that we achieve harmony and rescue them from the dissonances perennial darkness. Harmony, by contrast, is bright and clear; it is light. What we have to achieve is the harmony of a heart that grows and that we accompany in this educational journey.” (April 18, 2012) 

Human trafficking
“Here today we want God’s cry; we want God’s question to be heard: ‘Where is your brother?’ May God’s question cross through all the neighborhoods of the city, pass through our heart, and above all, enter into the heart of the modern ‘Cains.’ Perhaps someone will ask, ‘What brother? Where is your brother, the slave? Where is the one you are killing every day in the sweatshop, in the prostitution ring, in those places full of boys that you use for begging, for pushing drugs, for rape and for prostitution? Where is your brother who has to work almost hidden away as a rag picker because his work contract has not been formalized yet? Where is your brother?’ And faced with that question, we can be like the priest who passed by the wounded man. We can pretend to be distracted, like the Levite did. We can look away because the question is not for me but for someone else. The question is for everyone! Because in this city, the human trafficking system – that mafia-run and aberrant crime – is set up.” (September 25, 2012) 

Social issues
“Little by little we are getting used to hearing and seeing, through the media, the crime of contemporary society, presented almost with a perverse joy, and we are used to touching and feeling it around us and in our own flesh. The drama is on the street, in the neighborhood, in our house and – why not? – even in our hearts. We live with a violence that kills, destroys families, that awakens wars and conflicts in many countries. We live with envy, hatred, slander, worldliness in our hearts. The suffering of the innocent and peaceful continues to buffet us; contempt for the rights of the most fragile individuals and peoples is not so far away from us; the rule of money with its demonic effects like drugs, corruption, human trafficking – including trafficking in children – along with material and moral poverty are common today. The destruction of decent work, painful migrations, and the lack of a future also also part of this symphony. Nor are our mistakes and sins as the Church outside of this big picture. The most justified personal selfishnesses – which can be big ones – the lack of ethical values in society that metastasizes in families, in neighborhoods, towns, and cities… these speak to us of our limitations, our weakness, and our inability to transform this innumerable list of destructive realities.”

“It is not enough for our truth to be orthodox and for our pastoral action to be effective. Without the joy of beauty, truth becomes cold and even ruthless and proud, as we see happening in the discourse of many bitter fundamentalists. It seems that they chew on ashes instead of savoring the sweetness of the glory of Christ’s truth, which illuminates all reality with gentle light, taking it just as it is every day. Without the joy of beauty, work for the good becomes a gloomy focus on efficiency, as we see happening in the work of many overwhelmed activists. It seems that they clothe reality in statistical mourning rather than anointing it with the interior oil of joy that transforms hearts, one by one, from the inside.” (April 22, 2011) 

Defense of marriage
“What is at stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother, and children. What is at stake are the lives of so many children who are discriminated against in advance, deprived of the human maturation that God wanted to give them with a father and a mother. What is at stake is a direct rejection of God’s law, which is also engraved in our hearts. Let’s not be naïve: it is not just a political struggle; it is a destructive claim against God’s plan. It is not merely a legistlative bill (this is only the instrument) but a move by the Father of Lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.” (July 8, 2010) 

Social justice
“Justice is that which gladdens the heart: when there is something for everyone; when one sees that there is equality, fairness; and when each has his own. When one sees that there is enough for all, one feels a special joy in the heart. Each one’s heart swells and merges with the others and makes us feel the Fatherland. The country flourishes when we see ‘noble equality on the throne,’ as our national anthem says. Injustice, by contrast, casts a shadow over everything. How sad it is when one sees that the resources could be perfectly adequate for everyone and it turns out to be not enough. (…) To say ‘all the boys and girls’ is to say the entire future; to say ‘all the retirees’ is to say all our history. Our people know that the whole is greater than the parts and that is why we ask for ‘bread and work for all.’ How despicable, then, is the one who treasures up belongings only for today, who has a tiny, selfish heart and only thinks about swiping that slice that he will not even take with him when he dies? Because nobody takes anything with them. I have never seen a moving van behind a funeral procession. My grandmother used to tell us: ‘The shroud has no pockets.’” Homily August 7, 2012 

“The experience of Faith puts us in the Experience of the Spirit, which is characterized by the ability to get moving. Nothing is more opposed to the Spirit than settling in, shutting oneself in.  When we do not walk through the door of Faith, the door closes, the Church closes up, the heart is retracted, and fear and the evil spirit embitter the Good News. When the Chrism of Faith goes dry and rancid, the evangelist can no longer spread it because it has lost its fragrance. Then it often becomes a cause of scandal and distance for many.

"The one who believes is a receiver of that beatitude that crisscrosses the whole Gospel and that resonates throughout history, even on Elizabeth’s lips: ‘Blessed are you who have believed.’ And as Jesus himself said to Thomas, ‘Blessed are those who believe without seeing’ (June 9, 2012).

Political power
“This ‘madness’ of the commandment of love is that which the Lord proposes and defends in our being while keeping away the other commonplace ‘madnesses’ that lie, damage and hinder the fulfillment of the goal of the Nation: that of relativism and that of power as the only ideology. The relativism  that, under the guise of respect for differences, homogenized in transgression and demagoguery, permits all to avoid taking on the conflict that comes with having the mature courage to uphold mature values and principles. Relativism is, oddly, absolutist and totalitarian. It does not allow anyone to stray from its own relativism. Basically, it means ‘shut up’ or ‘don’t meddle.’ Power as a single ideology is another lie. If ideological prejudices distort the way we look at others and society according to our own securities and fears, power made into an ideology only accentuates the persecutory and prejudicial idea that ‘all positions are for the purposes of achieving power’ and that ‘everyone seeks to dominate others.’ This erodes the social trust that, as I pointed out, is the root and fruit of love.” (May 25, 2012) 

“Symptoms of disenchantment are varied, but perhaps the clearest is that of ‘custom-made enchantment’: the enchantment of technology that always promises better things; the enchantment of an economy that offers almost unlimited possibilities in all aspects of life to those who manage to be included in the system; the enchantment of minor religious proposals to meet every need. Disenchantment has an eschatological dimension; it attacks indirectly, bracketing any definitive attitude; instead, it proposes those little enchantments that make ‘islands’ or a ‘truce’ with a lack of hope for the progress of the world in general. Hence, the only human attitude to break enchantments and disenchantments is to situate ourselves before the the things that ultimately matter and ask ourselves, in hope, ‘Are we going from good to better or from bad to worse?’ And then, the question arises. Can we respond? Do we, as Christians, have the words and deeds that mark the path of hope for our world? Or, like the disciples of Emmaus and those who remained in the upper room, are we the first who need help?” (May 8, 2011) 

“The Gospel speaks of humility. Humility reveals, to the self-aware human smallness, the potential it carries within. In fact, the more aware we are of our gifts and limitations, both things together, the more we will be free from the blindness of pride. And as Jesus praises the Father for this revelation to the little ones, we should also praise the Father for making the sun rise on those to whom he entrusted the gift of freedom, the freedom he brought forth in the heart of this people who opted for greatness without losing the sense of their smallness.” (25 May 2011) 

Simple people
“The wisdom of ‘thousands of women and men who have to stand in line to travel and who work honestly to put food on the table every day, to save and little by little buy bricks and improve their house… Thousands and thousands of children with their overalls parading by corridors and streets as they go to school and on their way back home. Meanwhile, grandparents – those who store up popular wisdom like treasure – get together to share and tell stories.’

“Crises and manipulations will happen; the contempt of the powerful will drag them down with misery; they will be offered the suicide of drugs; chaos and violence will entice them with the hatred of vindictive resentment. But they, the poor – regardless of their position and status – will appeal to the wisdom of him who knows he is the son of a God who is not distant, but who accompanies them with the Cross and encourages them with the Resurrection in those miracles, everyday achievements, that encourage them to enjoy the joys of sharing and celebration.” (25 May 2011) 

New Evangelization
“God lives in the city and the Church lives in the city. The mission is not opposed to having to learn from the city – from its cultures and its changes – while we go out to preach the Gospel. And this is the fruit of the Gospel itself, which interacts with the field in which it falls as a seed. It is not only the modern city that is a challenge. Every city, every culture, every mind, and every human heart has been, is, and will be a challenge as well.

“The contemplation of the Incarnation that St. Ignatius presents us with in the Spiritual Exercises is a good example of the gaze that we propose here – a gaze that is not mired in the dualism that comes and goes constantly from diagnostics to planning  but that involves itself dramatically in the reality of the city and commits to it in action. The Gospel is a kerygma that is accepted and that drives us to share it. We develop our meditations while we live and live together.” (August 25, 2011) 

“God lacked something to be able to enter humanly into our history: he needed a mother, and he asked us for one. That is the Mother to whom we look today – the daughter of our people, the servant, the pure, God’s only one; the discreet one who makes space for the Son to make the sign, who is always enabling this reality but not as its owner or even as an actor, but as a servant; the Star that knows how to fade out so that the Sun can show itself. Such is Mary’s mediation. It is the mediation of a woman who does not renounce her motherhood; it is a motherhood with a double childbirth: one in Bethlehem and another at Calvary. It is a motherhood that contains and accompanies the friends of her Son, who is the only reference until the end of time. And so Mary is still with us, “located in the heart of that ‘enmity’ in the protoevangelium, that struggle which accompanies the history of humanity” (cf. Redempt: Mater 11). A Mother who opens spaces for grace to enter in – that grace that revolutionizes and transforms our existence and our identity; the Holy Spirit that makes us adopted sons, frees us from all slavery and, in a real and mystical possession, gives us the gift of freedom and cries out from within us the invocation of the new belonging: ‘Father!’” (November 7, 2011) 

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