Pope Francis gave an address to a joint session of Congress today. I hope to have an essay on the broader themes of his speech for tomorrow, but today I want to focus on one aspect which seems to have tarnished his halo with leftists who have pinned their hopes on him and are now disappointed, just as they did with President Obama.
Here is the offending passage:
The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.
That’s it. That was his only glancing reference to abortion. And he didn’t even use the word abortion.
But look at what he said: human life must be protected at every stage of its development.
As I’ve written before, I was raised Catholic. And although I can’t in good conscience call myself a believer any longer, that upbringing undergirds who I am. I can no more dispense with it than I can dispense with all the skeins of life which have made me who I am.
I’ve always been a liberal. And as early as I can remember, I’ve always disagreed with the Church’s position on abortion and birth control. Many times, I’ve disagreed vehemently with the Church, wanting finally to cast aside that part of me.
But as I’ve grown older, I have, I hope, grown wiser. What used to be black and white in my youth has become a symphony of grays. I still disagree with the Church on abortion and birth control. But I can respect its stance, at least on abortion.
How can I do this? Because unlike many of the evangelical Religious Right, the Catholic position on life is a total one. Again, turn to Pope Francis’ words: life must be protected at every stage of development.