Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Pope Francis has remained largely silent on the historic ruling returning the power to restrict abortion to the states, despite church leaders from around the world applauding the decision.
Catholic officials in the United States have expressed their thankfulness and joy that the precedent established by Roe v. Wade in 1973 was overturned. However, Pope Francis has not released a major declaration of support since the Court’s ruling, with some experts pointing to the Church’s cautious nature and the Pope’s more liberal tendencies as potential reasons.
“He has a global church to consider and the American church is highly political,” Father Aaron Lynch of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “He also likes to let the local Church handle local issues, and does not like to get involved unless called upon.”
Father Matthew Breslin of the Archdiocese of New York argued that Rome is often known for being deliberate and precise in making public comments, and was not surprised that the Pope has yet to release a major public statement.
“We also have to consider this Pope’s background,” Breslin told TheDCNF. “Perhaps being more politically liberal and coming from a more liberal cultural background, he may be more sympathetic to the people of the pro-choice side.”
Pope Francis comes from Argentina, one of South America’s most liberal countries where issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage were legalized earlier than in most other nations. Therefore, Breslin argued that with his background, Pope Francis will be more cautious when discussing the historic victory for the Church.
“We need to understand his uniqueness as a man, to understand his uniqueness as Pope,” Father Breslin said. “He has difficulty understanding America.”
The Pope and the more conservative bishops of America have often disagreed on issues pertaining to the faithful, The New York Times reported. The tension between Rome and America increased when American bishops drafted and voted on a document on denying communion to elected officials who profess their Catholic faith but support pro-choice agendas.
Despite the Pope’s more liberal tendencies, he has reaffirmed the Church’s stance on abortion throughout his papacy. In October 2018, Francis described abortion as “hiring a hitman to solve a problem.”
The Pontifical Academy of Life and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops both released statements of joy and relief with the Court’s decision. During a homily given following the Dobbs decision, Pope Francis discussed abortion but not the historic case itself, the Associated Press reported.
Both Breslin and Lynch emphasized that the Holy See tries to refrain from commenting on political or social policy in the local Church unless it is warranted.
The Papal Nuncio to the United States did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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