Pope Francis has directed the bishops of Argentina, his home country, to govern the Church there following a document that makes clear that holy communion should be disallowed for any person who facilitates abortion, including politicians.
“These are the guidelines we need for this time in history,” the pope wrote to the bishops.
According to LifeSiteNews, Pope Francis emphasized use of the Aparecida Document as a framework in a letter to the Argentine Assembly of Bishops sent in late March. In 2007, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio–now Pope Francis–first presented the document on behalf of the bishops of Latin America.
Cardinal Bergoglio was highly critical of those who promoted the “death sentence” of abortion for unborn children in Argentina. His criticism peaked following a clandestine abortion performed on a mentally disabled woman with the assistance of the nation’s health minister.
In October of 2007, Bergoglio presented the final version of the Aparecida Document, which was then approved by Pope Benedict. The text of the document’s paragraph 436 states:
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 abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals.
Pope Francis’ drive to have the Church practice and share its faith openly is the main premise of the New Evangelization. In his letter to the bishops of Argentina, the pope wrote that if Catholics do not proclaim Jesus with their lives, then the Church becomes “not the mother, but the babysitter.”
Early Christians, the pope emphasized, had nothing but “the power of baptism,” which “gave them apostolic courage, the strength of the Spirit.”
Pope Francis posed the question, however: Do Christians today really believe in the power of their baptism?
“Is it sufficient for evangelization? Or do we rather ‘hope’ that the priest should speak, that the bishop might speak?” he asked.
The pope urged believers to be “faithful to the Spirit, to proclaim Jesus with our lives, through our witness and our words.”