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Abortion and the Eucharist: What did the pope just say?

During the return flight from his recent trip to Hungary and Slovakia, Pope Francis on Wednesday fielded press questions on the issue of holy communion for Catholic politicians who promote legal protection for abortion.

So what did the pope say? What does the Church say? And what’s the context? The Pillar explains:

What Pope Francis said

“Those who are not in the community, cannot receive communion,” Francis told reporters on Wednesday.  “Out of the community: excommunicated. It’s a harsh word, but they don’t belong in the community, because they were not baptized, or because they are estranged from it.”

The pope made the comments while discussing the Church’s absolute prohibition of abortion, which, Francis said, is always the taking of an innocent human life.

Abortion is “more than a ‘problem.’” said Francis: “It’s a homicide. No middle terms. Whomever does an abortion, kills.” The pope went on to say that for the Church to countenance legal abortion as morally acceptable would be for the Church to accept “daily homicide.”

Catholic politicians who champion legal protections for abortion do not present a theological problem to be addressed, the pope explained, because the theology of the issue is “simple.”

Instead, he said, the question is how to deal in a pastoral context with such politicians.

“The problem is pastoral, how do we, as bishops, manage this principle,” he said. “If we look at the history of the Church, we will see that every time the bishops acted not as pastors in a problem, they became politicians.” 

Read more at The Pillar

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