Will the Next Pope Be Pro-Life?

This is an absurd question of course, but that hasn’t stopped various media commentators from criticizing various papabili for being vigorous defenders of the unborn and the infirm. Several cardinals whose names seem to be hanging in the air have attracted predictable outrage from the left based on the flawed assumption that the Magisterium is somehow accountable to the whims and fancies of public opinion. It is not.

For example, Cardinal Ouellet caused an uproar in Canada when he stated that abortion is wrong even in the case of rape. As he said, “there is already a victim. Must there be another one?” Cardinal Burke of St. Louis attracted media scorn when he said of pro-abortion politicians, “as long as he continues to support legislation which fosters abortion or other intrinsic evils, then he should be refused Holy Communion.” Both Cardinal Arinze and Cardinal Canizares have been mentioned as papabili and have gotten in trouble with the liberal media for their comments on abortion.

These kinds of fundamental truths may be unwise or imprudent for a politician running for temporal office. Rape is a terrible crime and must be treated with great sensitivity. The majority of voters do not yet accept that abortion is a crime just as evil. However, this is what the Church teaches. Abortion is always wrong, no matter the circumstances. Holy men should not shy away from speaking this truth. As Christians, we all must answer to God who sits in eternal judgement with dreadful power, not to voters in the next election.

Even Christ encountered opposition to His teachings from the Pharisees and His own disciples! The Gospel of John, Chapter 6 tells us that many of Christ’s followers abandoned Him upon hearing the mystery of the Eucharist. If people would not listen to Christ, the Word of God made flesh here on Earth and accept His divine truth, we should not be surprised that they ignore the teachings of His Church today.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI since 2005) and Cardinal Franciszek Macharski on May 10, 2003, during the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the canonization of Saint Stanislaus in Szczepanów, Poland. Picture taken by Marian Lambert and released under CC-BY license by Szamil (www.szczepanow.pl).

No less a person than a certain Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was at the center of controversy for his own comments back in 2004 regarding the duty of Catholics to vote for pro-life candidates. However, he was elected to the papacy not despite these comments, but precisely because his brother cardinals recognized that they should not be controversial in the first place. We cannot expect the whole world to embrace God’s truth. Such is our sinful nature. However, we should always expect the Vicar of Christ to embrace the truth and to proclaim it mightily and without fear to the whole world.


Joshua Bowman (@prolixpatriot) joined in full communion with the Catholic Church in 2010 after many years in the spiritual wilderness. He recently moved from his beloved native Virginia to Columbus, Ohio with his growing family and writes on religion, politics, history, and geographical curiosities in these pages and on his personal blog, The Prolix Patriot.



  • Dennis

    Wile there are a few priests out of the thousands out there that may differ with the reasons where abortion may be acceptable I doubt that any of the Cardinals are in this group.

    Before one becomes a Cardinal they have been observed and tested repeatedly by the Chch as to how they preach and abide by its teachings. The first test was they became priests, sencondly when they be came bishiops, again when they were elevated to arch bishops and finaly again to becomeing pricess of the church. On each selection only the best of the lot were picked who professed the teachings of the church. Now they will be selecting the best out of the best.

    But even some of the conservative beliefs go beyound the teachings of the church on abortions. A hard never that is pushed by some is not what the church teaches.

    There are conditions where abortions are accepted by the church in life and death situations.

    • Justin

      Um, no. Direct abortion is NEVER acceptable under Catholic teaching. You’re in grave error if that’s what you think. I suggest you educate yourself before you put your soul at risk.

  • downtowner

    You would hope that the next Pope will be Pro-Life but in these trying times you can never be quite certain.

  • http://www.facebook.com/briana.grzybowski.3 Briana Grzybowski

    I would certainly hope so!

  • enness

    “Will the next pope be Catholic?”

    • abadilla

      Your question is idiotic, at best.

      • http://www.facebook.com/connor.mcginnis.184 Connor McGinnis

        I think enness is highlighting the idiotic things the media keeps spewing out.

        • abadilla

          It’s possible, but it is very hard to know when a troll comes in to make fun of the faith, or when it is a “real” person with an identity who simply has a comment to make.

      • Rev. Mark Goodman

        I believe Connor is correct, Enness appears to be using sarcasm to poke fun at the idiotic things the media has been saying about the next pope.

        • abadilla

          Hi. Reverend,
          This weekend I spent my time with my best friend and thirty-two thousand catechists and theology teachers from the whole nation. I heard John Allen who happens to be a “vaticonologist” and we were very interested in finding out what is happening in Rome these days. One of the pieces of advise he gave us is not to take the secular media seriously as they report about Rome because they know very little if any about the papacy and the Church.
          The same could be said of CV. There are far too many folks pontificating about things they know nothing about.
          Your assessment of enness’ comment is correct but that’s precisely why I reacted to the comment negatively.



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