Theology for Millennials: Obsession with Abortion

The Supremacy of This Sad Reality on the List of Concerns of the Catholic Church

USCCB Abortion Pill
Defense of life © @observatoriodebioetica

In “Theology for Millennials” today, Monday, November 8, 2021, Mexican Father Mario Arroyo Martinez shares with Exaudi’s readers his weekly article entitled “Obsession with Abortion, in which he reflects on Pope Francis’ recent meeting with Joe Biden.


In the aftermath of my disconcert over Joe Biden’s affirmation that the Pope said to him that he was a good Catholic and that he could go to Communion, a University professor asked me: “Are we, Catholics, obsessed with abortion? In reality, it’s about two different topics, although they come together in the sad reality of abortion.

In fact, it’s not that we, Catholics, are obsessed with abortion, but it’s certainly an important rubric in today’s world. With the expression of the North American Episcopal Conference, it can be said that it is a “preeminent priority” of the Catholic agenda, but to be a preeminent priority doesn’t mean it’s the only one or that it is excluding, as Archbishop Cordilione well explains: “preeminent doesn’t mean unique.” The difference lies in that the other realities that worry the Catholic Church aren’t so controversial; there is a quite generalized consensus in this regard. In fact, the protection of migrants, the fight against human trafficking, the eradication of poverty, the concern over climate change, or the quest for peace, to mention a few, are some of the Church’s concerns shared by most of society, but not so abortion.

This was noted in Pope Francis’ recent meeting with Joe Biden. If we are to believe what the latter said — and there is no weighty reason not to do so –, there was no talk of abortion — which all of us that are pro-life would have liked; instead, all the other topics were addressed, where consensus could be reached and work in common. This is a practical example that we Catholics aren’t obsessed with the topic of abortion. Neither does it mean that the Pope doesn’t care about abortion as, for example, recently he blessed some “pro-life bells,” to “remember the voice of the unborn” and “proclaim the Gospel of life.” Then, why didn’t he address the topic with Biden? Clearly to negotiate with the President of the United States in this regard has greater transcendence than blessings some bells. Here is where the unknown lies; to resolve it would mean to interpret Pope Francis.

Entering the swampy world of interpretations, I think the Pope chose the essential option to build bridges, avoiding controversial issues because he knows he won’t achieve much and will lose opportunities to create synergy with other important topics. It seems to me his attitude is similar to that of Pius XII, not to condemn the Holocaust publicly. Again it’s about a silent holocaust of millions of children, but Francis knows that Biden is in the presidency precisely to unfurl that flag and that he won’t achieve anything by confronting him. That is, it’s a decision of political prudence equivalent to considering a battle lost and trying to gain points in other important ones. Again, it’s evident that we, Catholics, are not obsessed with abortion and our agenda is much richer than that mono-topic, even if it hurts us particularly to see the evolution of the problem. What seems to me more questionable, however, is that the Pope encouraged him to go to Communion. Personally, I doubt this very much, and I also doubt that the Pope is going to deny it publicly. In this rubric, it seems to me that Biden is using the Pope to “defend himself” from the North American Episcopal Conference, which has pending, at the request of Francis himself, the need to establish a clear policy in this respect.

Biden can be very shrewd and instrumentalize Francis. They might “authorize” him to go to Communion. However, it’s an event that is promoting at the global level one of the gravest crimes against human life, and that this weighs on his conscience, as it is an inescapable responsibility. In this connection, if eventually, he does go to Communion, it won’t be in his benefit, as no Pope can abolish Scripture, which states clearly “whoever eats and drinks the body unworthily, eats and drinks his own condemnation.” And in face of God, the President of the United States is a human being like all others, as “God makes no exception of persons. His credentials and cunning will be of little use in face of the divine judgment, and the sad thing is that he doesn’t seem to realize it. Let us pray for him.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester