During his return trip to Rome from Bratislava, Pope Francis attended a press conference aboard the plane. He told reporters that “marriage is marriage”. – It is a sacrament, the Church has no authority to change the sacraments – he assessed. He also expressed the intransigent position of the Church on abortion. “If accepted, it would be as if the daily killing had been agreed,” he said.
Referring to the resolution of the European Parliament calling for all countries to recognize same-sex marriage, he said: – Marriage is a sacrament, the Church has no authority to change the sacraments.
Referring to such initiatives, he stated that they were “attempts to help people of different sexual orientations”. “It’s important to help them,” he added. The Pope emphasized that states have legal possibilities to support them by civil law. – But marriage is marriage. As a sacrament, it is a man and a woman – emphasized the Pope.
He also made a reservation that people of a different sexual orientation “these are our brothers and sisters, we must support them” and that “the Church helps them”.
Pope: who performs an abortion kills
Francis also stated that “the Church is strict” about abortion, because “if it were accepted, it would be as if it was agreed to murder every day.”
– Abortion is homicide. (…) Whoever performs an abortion kills – said the Pope.
He said that in every book on embryology you can read that “by the third week after fertilization, all the organs are already there. Many times, before a woman realizes she is pregnant, all the organs are already there” – the Pope noted. – This is human life and it must be respected – noted Franciszek.
– The rule is so clear. For those who do not understand this, I will ask two questions: is it right to kill human life to solve the problem? Because from a scientific point of view, this is human life. Is it right to hire a hired killer to fix the problem? Francis asked.
Francis: refusing communion is not a punishment
In the context of abortion, the pope answered a question regarding a dispute among US bishops over whether to prohibit communion of politicians who support the choice of abortion. He also noted that he was responding by pointing to the rule because he did not know the situation in the United States very well. He said that someone who was “outside the community” could not receive communion. “This is not a punishment,” said the Pope.
In his opinion, this is not a theological problem, but a pastoral problem, “as we bishops approach this principle in a pastoral manner”. He believes that it is also necessary to be the chaplain of the excommunicated, a style he described as “closeness, compassion, tenderness”. The lack of God’s style, he warned, is “slipping” into politics. – When the Church does not do it pastoral to defend the principle, it takes a political position – he said. In his opinion, “communion is not a reward for the perfect.” – Communion is a gift, a gift, the presence of Jesus in the Church, in the community – said the Pope. “Anyone who is not in the community cannot receive communion,” he repeated.
He pointed out that “such persons are outside the community and therefore excommunicated.” “It’s a harsh word, but it means that they don’t belong to the community because they aren’t baptized or because they’ve been dismissed for some reason,” he explained. The Pope confessed that, as a priest, he had never refused communion to anyone and that he was not faced with a person who should not receive it.
Pope on vaccination against COVID-19
The Pope also referred to the issue of vaccination. Doubts about vaccinations against COVID-19 may also be due to the fact that they are different, he said. – In the College of Cardinals, we also have a few vaccine deniers, and one poor fellow went to the hospital – he said.
According to the Pope, the current situation around vaccination is “strange” because “mankind has a history of friendship with vaccines.” He stressed that for generations, children have been vaccinated against various diseases.
Francis revealed that almost everyone in the Vatican is vaccinated.
Franciszek about the conversation with Victor Orban and the future of the European Union
When asked about an interview with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest, the Pope explained that he had not talked to him about immigration and that one of the main topics was ecology. Francis praised Hungary’s commitment to environmental protection. He also said that he had talked about the Hungarian law aimed at encouraging young people to start families.
According to the Pope, the European Union should return to the dreams of the founding fathers. According to him, there is a risk that the EU will become “an office for the settlement of affairs.” – You have to reach for mysticism, look for the roots of Europe and carry them further – he pointed out. All EU countries, he said, “must be on the same level, inspired by the founding fathers”.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / TIZIANA FABI / POOL