Abortion compared to Nazi crimes -- will it break the myth of the revolutionary pope?

Pope Francis has compared abortion to Nazi crimes. Will his most determined defenders finally admit that there is no revolution underway, or can the pope say anything concerning women's rights without undermining this "progressive pope" narrative?

Ingrid Colanicchia
Ingrid Colanicchia MicroMega, Italy
Source: MicroMega
Abortion compared to Nazi crimes -- will it break the myth of the revolutionary pope? - NewsMavens
Pope Francis in the Philippines 2015, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Since Pope Francis's very first address on the evening of his election March 13, 2013, when he began with an informal "good evening", the press has started to glorify him, deeming each of his words, gestures, actions or decisions "revolutionary".

We cannot deny that this pope has taken a few steps in the right direction, especially when compared to his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI, but he seems to have only beautiful words and good intentions. He did set up a cardinal commission for the reform of the curia -- choosing some questionable high-ranking officials in the process -- but this has produced nothing substantial after many years. And the same can be said about his Commission for the Protection of Minors, established in 2014. According to Marie Collins, a victim of abuse and former member of the Commission, none of the measures proposed to combat pedophilia in the clergy have been implemented so far.

To put it more bluntly, his actions do not live up to his words.

To give yet another striking example: his famous phrase "If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" has traveled around the world and raised the hopes of countless homosexual Catholics but it has not led to any concrete change.

And of course, if there is one issue where no one expected any progress, it is the Church's position on women's reproductive rights.

However, one wonders if Pope Francis will still be called a "revolutionary" after comparing abortion to Nazi crimes, as he did on June 16. But perhaps one can say anything about women's rights without undermining this "progressive pope" narrative.

Details from the story:

  • On June 16, 2018, in a speech to the delegates of the Family Forum, Pope Francis gave his opinion on a series of burning issues, generating much controversy.
  • He reiterated that a family can only mean a man and a woman.
  • He praised the patience of women who forgive their unfaithful husbands.
  • He compared abortion performed because of abnormalities or malformations of the fetus to what the Nazis did to "maintain the purity of the race".
  • His exact words were: "I have heard that it's fashionable, or at least usual, that when in the first months of pregnancy they do studies to see if the child is healthy or has something, the first offer is: let's send it away. [...] I say this with pain. In the last century the whole world was scandalized about what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today we do the same, but now with white gloves."

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

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NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
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