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Pope Francis celebrated families on Saturday and urged them to avoid ‘selfish’ decisions that are indifferent to life as he closed a large rally at the Vatican a day after the US Supreme Court halted constitutional protections for abortion.
Francis did not refer to the decision or explicitly mention abortion in his homily. But he used the buzzwords he’s had throughout his papacy about the need to stand up for families and condemn a ‘culture of waste’ which he says is driving acceptance society of abortion.
“Let us not allow the family to be poisoned by the toxins of selfishness, individualism, the current culture of indifference and waste, and therefore lose its very DNA, which is the spirit hospitality and service,” he said.
The pope, noting that some couples let their fears and anxieties “thwart the desire to bring new life into the world,” called on them not to cling to selfish desires.
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“You were asked not to have other priorities, not to ‘look back’ to miss your old life, your old freedom, with its deceptive illusions,” he said.
Francis strongly supported the church’s teaching against abortion, likening it to “hiring a hitman to solve a problem.” At the same time, he expressed sympathy for women who had abortions and made it easy for them to be absolved of the sin of undergoing the procedure.
The Catholic Church maintains that life begins at conception and must be protected and defended until natural death.
Francis delivered his homily in crowded St. Peter’s Square at the end of the World Meeting of Families, a four-day conference held every few years aimed at helping church workers provide better pastoral care to families, by especially those in difficulty.
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The head of the Vatican’s lay office, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, celebrated the closing Mass in front of tens of thousands of people as Francis has a bad knee that prevents him from standing for long periods.
Instead, the pope sat next to the altar and delivered the homily seated, although he was able to stand up easily for the Gospel reading and other times for help. of a cane.
The Vatican welcomed Friday’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that provided constitutional protections for abortion in the United States. The decision opens the door for individual states to ban or restrict access to abortion, with bans now expected in about half of US states.
The Holy See’s main bioethics body, the Pontifical Academy for Life, said it “challenges the whole world” to reopen the debate on the need to protect life. Abortion is legal in Italy and in most European countries.
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In an op-ed on Saturday titled ‘For life, always’, Vatican editorial director Andrea Tornielli called for this debate to move away from polarized ideology towards a dialogue that takes into account concerns about death rates. kindergarten and helping women, especially the poorest, with paid parental leave and other support when they bring children into the world.
“Being for life, always, also means defending it against the threat of guns, which have sadly become one of the leading causes of death of children and adolescents in the United States,” Tornielli wrote.
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Farrell, in his closing remarks at the end of the Mass, thanked Francis for his many initiatives in favor of families, citing in particular his teaching on the value of grandparents and his “many statements in favor of life”.