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Pope says he can’t speak to juridical aspects of Roe, but abortion is “hiring a hitman”

Pope Francis with an Ukrainian bracelet

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 07/04/22

Pope Francis spoke with Reuter's reporter in 90-minute interview on July 2.

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Pope Francis said he doesn’t want to weigh in on the juridical points of the overturning of Roe vs Wade, but reiterated his strong condemnation of abortion.

Speaking July 2 with Reuter’s Philip Pullella, the Pope used an image he’s often called on: Abortion is like hiring a hit man.

“I ask: Is it legitimate, is it right, to eliminate a human life to resolve a problem?”

The Pope has spoken out against abortion countless times, often indicating the emotional damage left by abortion. He has said that one can really understand the pain it causes to mothers when hearing the confessions of women who’ve had one.

He’s also insistent that abortion is not a religious issue:

The issue of abortion is not primarily a religious issue, but rather a human one – an issue of human ethics that comes before any particular religious creed.


Pope Francis also repeated his thoughts on pro-choice politicians, saying that the key issue for bishops is to be pastors.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, has been asked by her bishop to refrain from receiving Communion. However, on vacation in Rome, she received the Eucharist from a priest who was distributing Communion at a June 29 Mass attended by Pope Francis for the feast of Peter and Paul.

“When the Church loses its pastoral nature, when a bishop loses his pastoral nature, it causes a political problem,” the Pope told Pullella. “That’s all I can say.”

Francis spoke more thoroughly about the issue in 2021 on his return from Slovakia.

Communion, the Pope said, drawing from the word itself, is for those “in the community” of the Church. 

Then, those who are not in the community cannot receive communion […]. Why? Because they are out of the community – ex-comunitate – excommunicated they are called. It is a harsh term, but it means that they are not in the community, either because they do not belong to it, they are not baptized or have drifted away for some reason.

The Eucharist can’t be received by those who are not in the communion, the community, “and this is not a punishment,” he said, but simple because, “Communion is uniting yourself to the community.”

The problem is not a theological problem, that’s simple. But it is a pastoral problem: how we bishops manage this principle pastorally.

AbortionPope Francis
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