Pope Francis defends health professionals' right to conscientious objection.
Pope Francis reminded hospital pharmacists in audience on October 14 that they should always be at the “service of life.” Deploring the fact that the principle of conscientious objection is now being questioned, he stated that abortion is “homicide” and that it is “not licit to be an accomplice.”
Pope Francis was receiving in private audience participants of a congress organized by the Italian Society of Hospital Pharmacy. He began by reminding health professionals that they use medicinal substances “that can turn into poisons” and that they must be constantly vigilant, always with the “life of the patient in its entirety” in mind.
“This can in some cases involve conscientious objection,” the Pope said, an attitude that consists of refusing to perform an act if it contradicts one’s own deep convictions.
This is not a question of “infidelity,” he said. On the contrary, conscientious objection is “a fidelity to your profession,” if it is validly motivated. This attitude also manifests a “denunciation of the injustices committed against innocent and defenseless lives,” he said.
The Pope then deplored the “fashion” that today consists in thinking that it would be good to suppress conscientious objection. “It is the ethical privacy of every health professional and should never be negotiated. It is the ultimate responsibility of health professionals,” he declared, departing from his prepared text.
The Pope again reiterated his position on abortion. “You know that I am very clear on this subject: it is homicide and it is not licit to be an accomplice to it,” he insisted.
A “duty” of proximity
After saying this, the head of the Catholic Church stressed the duty of proximity of health professionals for people who find themselves in this type of difficult situation, especially women, “so that they do not come to think of the solution of abortion, because in reality it is not the solution,” he repeated.
Leaving his notes, the pope then spoke of the suffering that some people can carry for years. “Then, after ten, twenty or thirty years, life ‘passes the bill’ to you. And you have to be in a confessional to understand the price, which is so hard, of it all.”
Pope Francis’ repeated calls against abortion
Pope Francis regularly reiterates the Catholic Church’s position on abortion, emphasizing that it is not a religious issue but a question of science.
At the end of September, for example, in a speech to the members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, he deplored the fact that abortion “has become a ‘normal’ thing, a habit that is very bad; it is truly murder.”
Ten days earlier, on the plane from Slovakia to Rome, he told reporters that abortion was homicide. “Take any biology book for medical students. At the third week of conception, long before the mother realizes it, all the organs are already there, all of them, also the DNA. It’s not just a person, it’s a human life,” he insisted.