ON THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) – Pope Francis said on Wednesday that Catholic bishops must deal with politicians who support abortion with “compassion and tenderness”, not condemnation, and warned that they should not allow politics to question fellowship.
Francis was asked on his way home from Slovakia about the debate in the American church over whether President Joe Biden and other politicians should be denied Communion because of their stance on abortion . The American bishops have agreed to draft a “teaching document” which many of them hope to reprimand Catholic politicians, including Biden, for having taken communion despite their support for the right to abortion.
Francis refused to answer with “yes” or “no”, saying he did not know enough about the American case. He repeated that abortion was a “homicide” and that Catholic priests cannot give the Eucharist to someone who is not in communion with the Church. He cited the case of a Jew, or someone who is not baptized or who has strayed from the church.
Most important, he said, was that priests and bishops must respond pastorally and not politically to any problem that comes their way. He said they should use “the style of God” to accompany the faithful with “closeness, compassion and tenderness”.
“And what should the pastors do? Be pastors, and do not condemn, condemn, ”François declared.
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