On November 15, in an address before the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors, Pope Francis took direct aim at those touting “quality of life” arguments. “There is no human life that is more sacred than another…just as there is no human life qualitatively more significant than another,” he said. Thus did he reject the grounds upon which the doctor-assisted suicide movement is promoted.
The pope also spoke of a “false compassion” which promotes scientific ways to “produce” a child. Specifically, he said, “We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment. Making children rather than accepting them as a gift, as I said. Playing with life.”
Importantly, the pope defended the Church’s teaching on abortion on scientific grounds, not on religious or philosophical ones. Abortion, he said, is a “scientific problem because there is a human life there, and it is not lawful to take out a human life to solve a problem.”
On November 17, at a Vatican colloquium on “The Complementarity of Man and Woman in Marriage,” the pope stressed the complementarity of “the two sexes,” and how “each man and woman brings his or her distinctive contributions to their marriage and to the formation of their children.” Similarly, he said, “Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity.”
Notice the pope did not speak about “gender,” or socially learned sex roles, but of the “sexes,” meaning nature-produced differences. This was intentional. That is why he did not say that children have a right to grow up in a family of two adults, no matter how loving: he was exact in citing the need for children to have “a father and a mother.”
Don’t look for the media, and some in Catholic circles, to punctuate these remarks by the Holy Father. Which is why we did.