December 1, 2014

Pope Francis got a lot of flak when he said, "We cannot talk about the abortion issue all the time." Some people were aghast, mistakenly interpreting the pope's statement as not caring enough about abortion.

Pope Francis' words and actions show that he is pro-life in the widest sense of the term. His caring is not limited to unborn babies, but to all children already born and to all living human beings of all ages.

It may be easy to interpret Pope Francis' defence of the poor, the suffering, the immigrants, the unemployed and homeless, the victims of wars and evil of all kinds, the marginalized because of their being in irregular relationships as social justice or moral issues – which they are. They are also pro-life issues because they are about survival and respect.

Pope Francis is a courageous defender of life in all its stages. For him, everyone has a right to life, to stay alive humanely and to find acceptance.

It's a paradox that although Pope Francis has been hailed by many as the epitome of a great leader, some in his own Church see his leadership as like "a ship without a rudder."

Despite his popularity, being Pope Francis must not be easy. No matter what he does and says, individuals and groups will find something wrong with him, in the decisions he makes and in his style of governance.

But many still see Pope Francis as being Christ-like and his humble ways reflective of Gospel values. If adhering to Jesus-like simplicity and inclusivity garners him foes, there is not much Pope Francis can do but be himself rooted in his faith.

His faith and deep prayer life must be what makes him comfortable in his own skin as he leads the Church in a radical way.

Celia Paz
Edmonton