Pope Francis Slams ‘Senseless’ Right to Abortion in Budapest Visit

Pope Francis arrives for a meeting with bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated persons, seminarians and pastoral workers at the St. Stephen's Co-Cathedral in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, April 28, 2023. The Pontiff is in Hungary for a three-day pastoral visit. (Andrew Medichini/AP)
Andrew Medichini/AP

ROME — Pope Francis said Friday that a so-called right to abortion is “senseless” and puts “reductive concepts of freedom before the reality of life.”

In his hard-hitting talk to Hungarian authorities and diplomats during his visit to Budapest, the pontiff condemned both abortion and gender theory as perversions of true human freedom, which trample the lives of innocent human beings as well as the important difference between the sexes.

The pope denounced an “abstract supranationalism, oblivious to the life of peoples” that follows a “nefarious path of ‘ideological colonizations.’”

Such a supranationalistic ideology seeks to “eliminate differences, as in the case of so-called gender culture,” he insisted, or to “put reductive concepts of freedom before the reality of life, for example by boasting as a conquest a senseless ‘right to abortion,’ which is always a tragic defeat.”

Francis articulated his vision of a Europe that respects the unique identity and sovereignty of its member states while not becoming a “hostage to the parties” or “prey to self-referential populisms.”

Europe is called to be a continent “where different nations are a family in which the growth and singularity of each one are preserved,” he asserted.

The pope also reiterated his concern for the future of Europe that is caught in a demographic winter, underscoring the Vatican’s common ground with the family-friendly Hungarian government and its policies to encourage couples to have children.

“How beautiful to build a Europe centered on the person and on peoples, where there are effective policies for the birth rate and the family,” he said.

Along with praise for Hungary’s family policies, the pope also applauded its unapologetic Christian identity, noting that the strength of Europe is aided by the Christian faith, where “Hungary can act as a ‘bridge,’ making use of its specific ecumenical character,” since it is a country where different Christian confessions “coexist without antagonism.”

Citing the Hungarian Constitution, Francis said that individual freedom “can only develop in cooperation with others” and that Hungary’s national culture “is a rich contribution to a multicolored European unity.”

In his effusive praise of Hungary and its policies, the pope belied reports by progressive news agencies such as the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters, which predictably sought to highlight differences between the pope and his host.

AP, for instance, published a report titled “Pope to visit Hungary amid diverging views on war, migrants,” in which it stressed differences between the Vatican’s position on international immigration and the war in Ukraine, while completely ignoring the vast overlap between the pope’s pro-life and anti-gender-theory position and that of Budapest.

The AP alleged that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán holds “contentious stances on migration, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and LGBTQ+ rights,” which “stand in stark contrast with Francis’ views of inclusion and acceptance for the marginalized and support for Kyiv during Moscow’s war.”

In lockstep with AP, Reuters also sought to drive a wedge between the pope and Hungary’s conservative, pro-family government, omitting in its typically one-sided report the pope’s strong words on abortion and gender theory, while emphasizing instead “the dangers of rising nationalism in Europe.”

In his speech to government leaders including Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Francis “urged a rejection of ‘self-referential forms of populism’ and strictly nationalist interests,” Reuters said.


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