A high-ranking Vatican official stunned Catholics during a recent television interview by inadvertently confirming the Catholic Church’s retreat from one of its fundamental moral positions — a retreat FrontPage Magazine explored more than a year ago.
The official in question said on Italy’s national network Aug. 26 that the church had no interest in opposing that nation’s law allowing abortion. Enacted in 1978, Law 194 legalizes abortions in the first trimester and permits them afterward only if the mother’s life is in danger or if the fetus displays “serious abnormalities or malformations,” the law states.
That official even had the audacity to say that Law 194 represented “a pillar of our social life.” When pressed whether the church would view the law as up for debate, the official replied, “No, absolutely not.”
Astonishingly, the Vatican official who made those remarks was Cardinal Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which Pope John Paul II founded specifically to oppose abortion.
Tommaso Scandroglio, reporter for the Catholic newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, perfectly described the impact: “It is as if the president of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League is declaring himself in favor of the Holocaust.”
Paglia’s remarks reflect Pope Francis’ choice to abandon Catholicism’s historic opposition to abortion in all but name for the sake of his globalist agenda of environmental sustainability and economic equity. FrontPage Magazine discussed that issue in “Suffer the Little Children” in June 2021.
Two months before Paglia’s television appearance, his academy issued a feeble official response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. That response provided the basis for an editorial in the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. It also expresses Francis’ globalist worldview.
“The protection and defense of human life is not an issue that can remain confined to the exercise of individual rights but instead is a matter of broad social significance,” the response read. “After 50 years, it is important to reopen a non-ideological debate on the place that the protection of life has in a civil society to ask ourselves what kind of coexistence and society we want to build.
“It is a question of developing political choices that promote conditions of existence in favor of life without falling into a priori ideological positions. This also means ensuring adequate sexual education, guaranteeing health care accessible to all and preparing legislative measures to protect the family and motherhood, overcoming existing inequalities… (Emphasis added)”
Vatican News, the official news portal, used another editorial to examine abortion in the context of poverty and race.
“(S)trikingly, the maternal mortality rate for black women in 2020 was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.9 times the rate for white women,” the editorial stated. “According to one statistic in the United States, about 75 per cent of women who have abortions live in poverty or have low wages.”
Such benign rhetoric obscures the fecklessness and raw neglect FrontPage Magazine exposed last year.
In May 2021, the Vatican’s leading theological authority after the pope discouraged American bishops from withholding Communion from Catholic politicians who support abortion. In issuing that letter, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, contradicted both his own church’s catechism and canon law.
The Catholic catechism describes abortion a “moral evil,” quotes a previous document from Ladaria’s office in calling abortion and infanticide “abominable crimes,” and demands excommunication for anyone involved in “formal cooperation.” Catholic canon law also states that Catholics “persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion…without previous sacramental confession.”
Yet none of those injunctions prevented Ladaria from writing the following:
“Any statement … regarding Catholic political leaders would best be framed within the broad context of worthiness for the reception of Holy Communion on the part of all the faithful … reflecting their obligation to conform their lives to the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ as they prepare to receive the sacrament. … It would be misleading if such a statement were to give the impression that abortion and euthanasia alone constitute the only grave matters of Catholic moral and social teaching that demand the fullest level of accountability on the part of Catholics.”
Ladaria even appeared to break precedent in calling Catholics who support abortion “pro-choice.”
Two events surrounding Ladaria’s letter demonstrate how irrelevant abortion is to Pope Francis.
One day before Ladaria issued his instructions, the Vatican began a three-day conference on health care that not only refused to address abortion. It featured three prominent speakers who either support or tolerate abortion: Chelsea Clinton, Dr. Francis Collins and Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel. Collins, former director of the National Institutes of Health, supports using fetal tissue in research. Bancel’s firm used aborted fetal cells to create the mRNA protein in its COVID-19 vaccines.
The Vatican designed that conference to promote Francis’ globalist worldview. Speakers included Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, known for his “initiatives to create a sustainable, low-carbon future for all” who discussed “how businesses can drive sustainable financial performance while equitably serving the needs of all stakeholders.”
One week after Ladaria’s letter, the Vatican staged another conference, “Dreaming of a Better Restart,” featuring two more abortion proponents. Columbia economist Jeffrey Sachs spoke about “Financial and Tax Solidarity.” John Kerry, climate envoy for Joe Biden, the virtual president, delivered a keynote address on “Integral Ecological Sustainability.”
Even before Ladaria’s letter, American bishops knew Francis’ wishes. One is San Diego’s Robert McElroy. A month before California’s 2020 primary, McElroy issued voting guidelines in which he insisted that Francis’ positions on the environment and open borders mattered more than opposition to abortion and contraception.
Though McElroy conceded abortion was “intrinsically evil,” he criticized the idea that “candidates who seek laws opposing intrinsically evil actions automatically have a primary claim to political support in the Catholic conscience,” he wrote.
“Similarly, contraception is intrinsically evil in Catholic moral theology, while actions which destroy the environment generally are not,” McElroy added. “But it is a far greater moral evil for our country to abandon the Paris Climate Accord than to provide contraceptives in federal health centers.” (Emphasis added)
Francis rewarded McElroy by making him a cardinal, despite McElroy’s refusal to cooperate with legal authorities on cases of clerical sex-abuse.
Yet perhaps the most egregious example of obsequious fecklessness came from another high-ranking official whose remarks four years ago were even more breathtaking than Paglia’s.
“Right now, those who are implementing the Church’s social doctrine the best are the Chinese,” said Cardinal Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Councils of Science and Social Science at the time.
Sorondo praised China’s application of Laudato Si, Francis’ environmentalist encyclical, for “defending the dignity of the person” and “assuming a moral leadership that others have left,” meaning President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on carbon-dioxide emissions.
For Sorondo, the fact that China performs between 10 million and 23 million abortions a year matters not.
But Francis is no oddity. For six decades, the Vatican has embraced materialist humanism and the ensuing demand for global governance, as FrontPage Magazine discussed in “The Roman Globalist Church” and “The Vatican vs. Trump” two years ago.
Pope Benedict XVI crystallized that embrace in his 2009 encyclical, Caritas et Veritate. Francis’ predecessor advocated that the UN govern both international and domestic economics.
“There is a strongly felt need … for a reform of the United Nations … and, likewise, of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can have real teeth,” Benedict wrote. “To manage the global economy … to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority.”
Such an authority, Benedict wrote, must “have the authority to ensure compliance with its decisions from all parties” as it seeks to “establish the common good.”
The resulting “directed” global economy, Benedict wrote, would “open up the unprecedented possibility of large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale.” That would include “a worldwide redistribution of energy resources, so that countries lacking those resources can have access to them,” Benedict added.
Benedict’s objectives match the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
On the flimsy altar of utopian fantasy does Pope Francis sacrifice the Catholic Church’s patrimony and credibility, let alone the unborn.