Pope Francis: Pro-choice Catholics should still receive communion

Pope trip to Hungary

When Pope Francis travels, he often walks back to the part of the plane where journalists and members of the media are seated and he’ll take questions and make some comments on the record. It’s actually pretty cool, and it just emphasizes what a normal, low-key guy he is. Francis was asked again about vaccines and he was basically like “everyone needs to get the vaccine, periodt.”

The Pope has said he does not know how to explain why some cardinals in the Catholic Church are hesitant to get the Covid-19 jab.

“It’s a bit strange because humanity has a history of friendship with vaccines,” Francis told reporters during a flight from Slovakia to Italy. The pontiff, who is vaccinated himself, has previously encouraged people to get jabbed for the “common good”.

He said one cardinal had ended up in intensive care with Covid-19. Francis did not name the man he was referring to, but conservative US Cardinal Raymond Burke, 73, recently spent days on a ventilator in hospital after contracting the virus. It is unclear whether Cardinal Burke is vaccinated or not, but in the past he has been critical of vaccination.

“Even in the College of Cardinals there are some vaccine negationists,” the Pope told reporters aboard the Papal plane. “But one of them, poor thing, has been hospitalised with the virus. These are the ironies of life.” He added that almost everyone at the Vatican was now vaccinated, and that they were “studying how to help” those who were hesitant.

“As children [we were vaccinated] for measles, polio – all the children were vaccinated and no one said anything,” he exclaimed. But the pontiff did recognise that some vaccine debates could increase fears and uncertainty about the jabs, to which he said “we should clarify things and speak calmly”.

[From BBC]

Francis is old enough to remember polio, you know. He remembers when there were outbreaks of mumps and rubella. He’s seen the efficacy of vaccines over the course of his life and I love that he doesn’t pull any punches. He has a way of simplifying the message for his flock, which is: don’t be afraid, get the vaccine for yourself and the common good. Francis also decided to speak about whether or not Joe Biden – or any pro-choice, Catholic politician – should be able to take communion.

Pope Francis weighed in on Wednesday on a debate roiling the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, where conservative bishops are pushing for guidelines that would deny communion to politicians, like President Biden, who support abortion rights.

“I have never refused the eucharist to anyone,” Francis said, though he added that he did not know of any instance when such a politician had come to him for communion.

Bishops, the pope said, should be pastors, not politicians. It was the closest the pope has come to addressing the issue head-on, although the Vatican in June warned conservative U.S. bishops to drop their push to deny communion to Mr. Biden, who is only the second Roman Catholic to be president. On Wednesday, Francis left little doubt about his view.

“If we look at the history of the church, we will see that every time the bishops have not managed a problem as pastors, they have taken a political stance on a political problem,” he told reporters on his plane as he returned from a four-day trip to Hungary and Slovakia. He cited a history of atrocities committed in the name of the faith when the church became involved in politics. “What must the pastor do?” he asked. “Be a pastor, don’t go condemning. Be a pastor, because he is a pastor also for the excommunicated.”

Francis told reporters traveling with him that “communion is not a prize for the perfect,” echoing statements he has made in the past, if not specifically in the context of politics or the United States. At a Mass in June, arguing that the church must be as open as possible, he said, “The eucharist is not the reward of saints but the bread of sinners.”

[From The NY Times]

I actually love what he says here? I’m not a Catholic, obvs, but I get so annoyed by conservative American loudmouth priests acting like pro-choice Catholics need to be “punished” by the Church or denied communion. Biden is a good Catholic, he goes to church every week, and he believes that women have the fundamental right to autonomy over their bodies. Many Catholics agree with him.

Pope trip to Hungary

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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39 Responses to “Pope Francis: Pro-choice Catholics should still receive communion”

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  1. Anners says:

    Also not Catholic, but have to say that I admire what I’ve seen so far about Pope Francis. He seems like a humble man who truly loves God and others (not a religious politician, if that makes sense). Good on him. I hope his people are listening.

    • Ravensdaughter says:

      I am an agnostic, but I still admire him. For better or for worse, the Pope is a world leader, and Francis has been more than up to the job. He is kind, thoughtful, open minded, and focused on the big picture in terms of the future of the Church and in terms of how his words and deeds affect people all over the world.
      I don’t know if I believe in God, but when I try to believe, I want to think that God loves us and wants what is best for all of us. That, I think, is exactly where Pope Francis is coming from and I am deeply grateful for him because he truly wants what is best for all people, not just Catholics.

    • Zapp Brannigan says:

      “Pope Francis has admitted that clerics have sexually abused nuns, and in one case they were kept as sex slaves.

      He said the Church was attempting to address the problem but said it was “still going on”.”

      This write up was from 2019, Francis has done nothing about this abuse either, he is not any different from the other popes, just makes the right noises every now and again. Those nuns mentioned in the article, well some were sent for abortions, that right the Catholic church sent nuns raped by priests for abortions, never reported anything to the authorities though. Same old, same old.


      • Mami says:

        He can be pitifully unable or unwilling to tackle the enormous problem of sexual abuse but I do not agree he is “no different from the other popes.” Ask Steve Bannon and the insane Catholic right if they think he’s no different. Like it or not, the Catholic Church is caught in the same battle against evil, nationalist hate as is our country and the rest of the world. Put simply, the pope is on the right side of this battle.

      • The Recluse says:

        Francis is also dealing with layers of entrenched entitlement and corruption. The push back and sabotage he must deal with must be terrific.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I’m so grateful he’s so outspoken on vaccines. Christians (genuine Christians) should have always been leading the effort to protect the more vulnerable among us, from masks to vaccines and everything in between. I’m sad it’s not turned out that way.

    • FHMom says:

      A local church in town had a sign that read “ Vaccines are Pro Life” or something to that effect. I thought it was a good message

  3. FHMom says:

    Politicians should govern according to the will of the people, not impose their belief system on the masses. The fact is that Americans are pro-choice. Biden’s religious beliefs have no place in politics. He is not a Catholic president. He is a president who happens to be Catholic. Why is that so hard for people to understand? This Pope seems to be trying to do the right thing.

  4. Amy Bee says:

    I like that he called out priests who are vaccine hesitant.

  5. La says:

    I was raised Catholic and most of my family still is, and I’m so glad the pope is speaking out. I love what he says here and now have some ammo to use on some of my Catholic anti-vax and anti-choice family and acquaintances when they try to argue with me.

  6. Wiglet Watcher says:

    I recommend The Two Popes for a good watch on Pope Francis.

    All Catholics are committing sins. Some might go to confession Saturday night, speak their sins, do as the priest says for penance and fast so that Sunday morning they can receive communion.
    Most don’t, but still receive communion.
    So right there people need to understand what communion is before judging.

  7. Cessily says:

    Love this Pope.. get vaccinated.

    • StellainNH says:

      Pope Francis is also a scientist. He earned a degree in chemistry before entering the seminary.

      • Cessily says:

        Made a trip to the Vatican right before the COVID outbreak.. as a Catholic he is the Pope I align with most and feel honored to have been in attendance when he came to the window for a blessing after Mass.

  8. Snappyfish says:

    He gives me hope as his message shows what Christianity is suppose to be, inclusion & love. Most evangelicals remind me how fortunate for them to have found a God who hates all the same people they do

  9. Anna says:

    I am an atheist and certainly not a fan of the Catholic Church, but I love what Francis is doing and has done on this journey.

    I LOVE that he visited the forgotten Roma neighbourhood of Lunik IX in Kosice. I myself visited Lunik IX in 2018 and was shocked that in this day and age people live in these circumstances. IN EUROPE. I was also shocked about the way local people spoke about the Roma.
    (We visited the neighbourhood because we were taken by a local artist who wants to draw attention to the fate of these forgotten people.)


    This is what Lunik IX used to look like in its original state, BEFORE the pope’s visit: https://michaelbiach.format.com/lunik-ix#1
    (it got cleaned up in preparation for the visit)

  10. Jessica says:

    Pope Francis is a Jesuit, that’s why he’s so awesome! Jesuits are definitely more liberal- they’re big on education and science, accepting everyone, God loves you anyway, etc etc etc. I went to a Jesuit college, and I talk them up whenever someone mentions Pope Francis. They’re the good ones!

    • M says:

      Yes I was coming to say this! Fellow Jesuit University Alum here. Jesuits are a different breed entirely. They don’t exactly mesh with the regular church hierarchy. That’s why there hasn’t been a Jesuit Pope before now. I am not a Catholic, but there is a lot to admire about Pope Francis and how he does things.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Exactly! I’m Catholic and the church I was raised in had Jesuit priests and my experience was so different from my moms. We were simply taught to love and accept one another, to take care of the less fortunate, and most importantly that it was ok to ask questions. My moms church was very hellfire and brimstone, full of judgement, rampant corporal punishment and hours of bible study and rote memorization. My mom was thrilled when the Jesuits came in to our church because it was the polar opposite of her old school, Roman Catholic experience. Needless to say a Jesuit Pope had us very excited and while no one it perfect, he has made some really powerful statements.

    • The Recluse says:

      I thought he was Franciscan?

  11. OSTONE says:

    I am a Mexican Catholic and was raised super conservative. Now I am still Catholic but like, from afar? Haven’t gone to church in 2 years and openly disagree and criticize some of the sht they’ve pulled.

    I LOVE THIS MESSAGE. Good on Pope Francis for setting a good example.


    A pro-choice Catholic.

  12. Brandy Alexander says:

    I’m a practicing Catholic. While there are things I don’t agree with in the religion, the religion as a whole does speak to me, which is why I continue with it. I really admire this pope (the last 2, not so much), and I really appreciated during the last election that I got a letter from my dioceses stating there were more issues at stake that just abortion. It basically all but said to vote for Biden (which I was already doing). In my mind, that was a letter from Pope Francis himself.

  13. Lizzie says:

    St Louis Catholic here and Raymond Burke is the reason I no longer attend mass in the St Louis Archdiocese. He is an awful person, Benedict promoted him and Francis sidelined him.
    I loved all of Francis’ answers.

  14. girl_ninja says:

    He still represents a lot of bad sh** but I appreciate what he has shared about certain important topics.

  15. C R says:

    Typo— “everyone needs to get the vaccine, periodt.”

  16. I just can't says:

    This man gets it. It makes me so proud to be catholic.

  17. Kviby says:

    Islam is actually more “liberal” than Catholicism and permits abortion for 120 days. Do more Catholics join the Democratic Party or are they just more visible because they are always asked about abortion ?

  18. Killfanora says:

    Pet peeve…..when asked if I’m a “practising Catholic” I now respond “Yes, and I’ll keep practicing and practicing till I get it right.”
    Am very critical of a lot of things in my church, but Pope Francis gets my vote!

  19. Emily says:

    It’s amazing how many conservative Catholics obsess over a 6 week old embryo, but it was crickets when Trump was taking children away from their parents at the border and throwing them in cages or when police officers are shooting innocent black teenagers.

  20. Cee says:

    Ugh, it’s like his past has been whitewashed the moment he was announced the next Pope. He was always meddling in politics back when he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Always questioning and standing up to Cristina Kirchner’s government and then he pulled the same shit as Pope, with Mauricio Macri’s presidency (it’s like what he condemned Kirchner for and Macri did right, he would then pull a 180° and contradict his former statements) He’s still meddling in argentine politics.

    He is not apolitical, do not let him fool you. He has his act down but he is not the low-key, cute little man he portrays. He was very vocal against LGBTQI+ rights and he still is, and his stance on vaccination is weak at best.


  21. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    “The eucharist is not the reward of saints but the bread of sinners.”

    That is everything.

  22. Karla says:

    Pope Francis just reiterated today that abortion is murder in the eyes of the church and that matrimony is matrimony between man and woman. So much for liberal. But no surprises there: it’s still the same Institution which installed the inquisition. The Inquisition still exists they just gave it a different name. It’s called „congregation of faith“ and Pope Benedict was it’s head for many years.

  23. Margo says:

    May we all be guided by the spirit when we make our choices. That’s all.

  24. Southern Fried says:

    Roles for women in the Catholic Church, fully taking responsibility and action for the sexual abuse, taking responsibility and action about all the children, many indigenous, abused, disappeared and or murdered at Catholic schools? They’ve got so fkn much money that could go a long way towards righting those wrongs. They could put protocols in place to help end abuses but instead just keep fighting any and all lawsuits. They have only paid out when forced to do so. Yeah he looks like a benign kindly man, saying sweet things now & again but really making changes, no. Right now this very moment the church should be investigating all the church school children’s deaths in many different parts of the world vigorously and compensating the families, paying for those small dead bodies to be transported back to their communities and for burials but no. It’s ignore ignore ignore while they keep collecting millions to be used for WHAT?

  25. Annetommy says:

    This Pope compared women who get an abortion to someone who hires a hit man so I’m not going to get too carried away.

  26. Rise & Shine says:

    I agree with others here. Whatever our beliefs may or not be, he made two very important statements here. (WHY OH why isn’t this getting more coverage? Thank you Kaiser and CB for reporting it.) Not only encouraging vaccinations but also declaring that he will NOT deny communion for those that are prochoice. (Including President Biden for being prochoice, that the Trumpies and far right wanted to make him decline, nope, the Pope is not having that.) Good for him! If you think about it, those are 2 powerful statements. He also spoke out out about George Floyd when many others didn’t. Mentioned his name loudly, called out racism, and the supposed prolife people that did not value George Floyd’s life for their hypocrisy. I like him, respect him, and am glad that he is speaking out.