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Statement from Catholics for Choice Regarding Pope Francis’ Comments on Denying Communion to Pro-Choice Politicians

September 15, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Contact: John Becker, Communications Specialist
Phone: (202) 203-0931

Statement from Catholics for Choice Regarding Pope Francis’ Comments on Denying Communion to Pro-Choice Politicians

WASHINGTON — Catholics for Choice, which uplifts and amplifies the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom, issued the following response from President Jamie L. Manson to comments Pope Francis made today on the debate among U.S. Catholic bishops about whether politicians who support abortion rights should be denied Communion:

“Pope Francis should be commended for admonishing bishops and priests to be pastoral instead of political, and reminding them that ‘Communion is not a prize for the perfect’ but a gift from Jesus. As Catholics, we believe that the central message of our faith can be found in Jesus’ command to ‘feed one another’ — and Jesus welcomed all to his table, without question or orthodoxy test. The United States Catholic bishops should follow the example of the pope, who has never denied Communion to anyone, and drop their unholy crusade to weaponize the Eucharist against President Biden and other pro-choice Catholics.

“That said, we were disappointed to hear Pope Francis use deeply stigmatizing words about abortion, calling it ‘homicide.’ We implore the pope to bear in mind that some of the most important theologians throughout the church’s history, including St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, supported abortion as a moral choice within the first trimester. But even more importantly, we entreat him to remember that, in the United States, one in four women has an abortion. Using the language of murder is not only exaggerated and unscientific — it also creates profound shame among people of faith who have needed or chosen abortion care. These kinds of condemnations are not consistent with the ‘culture of encounter’ that he has called for within the church.

“Finally, we are obligated to point out that our Catholic tradition calls us to follow our consciences in matters of moral decision-making and uphold the rights of others to do the same; to respect the inherent freedom and dignity of each person; and to advocate for policies that protect the most vulnerable and marginalized in our society. Abortion access is an issue of fairness and justice, especially for the marginalized — and we believe it is a Catholic social justice value. The majority of U.S. Catholics support abortion rights, and we do so in good conscience — not in spite of our faith, but because of it.”

Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to a person’s well-being and respect, and affirm the capacity of all people to make moral decisions about their lives.