New Pope Francis I is a conservative in the mold of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II. That’s especially true on the issue of abortion, which he called a “death sentence” for the unborn in 2007. “We aren’t in agreement with the death penalty,” he said during that speech, “but in Argentina we have the death penalty. A child conceived by the rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death.”
In the Aparecida Document, a document that represents a joint statement by Latin American church leaders but presented by Francis in 2007, the leaders stated, “we should commit ourselves to ‘eucharistic coherence,’ that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortions, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals.”
Francis is also anti-euthanasia: “Today,” he wrote, “elderly people are discarded when, in reality, they are the seat of wisdom of the society. The right to life means allowing people to live and not killing, allowing them to grow, to eat, to be educated, to be healed, and to be permitted to die with dignity.”
This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that the Aparecida Document was a joint document, not the work of the new pope alone.