Pope Francis has received an enormous amount of good will in his early days as pontiff.
Some of that is natural. There is normally a honeymoon period for a new pope.
Some of it is also due to his personal style. He comes off to many as simple, humble, energetic, and engaged with his flock.
Because of his personal style, some on the theological left (or just the left in general) have wondered if and hoped that he might “change the Church’s teaching” on issues like abortion or homosexual “marriage.”
Such hopes are bound to be disappointed.
He’s already on record on both.
Pope Francis is on record defending the right to life for the unborn. He also has resisted framing abortion as a “religious” issue that could be set aside in favor of religious neutrality:
The moral problem of abortion is pre-religious in nature because the genetic code of the person happens in the moment of conception.
A human being is already there. I separate the topic of abortion from any religious concept. It is a scientific problem.
To not let the development continue of a being who already has all the genetic code of a human being is not ethical.
The right to life is the first of human rights.
To abort is to kill someone who cannot defend himself [On Heaven and Earth].
In 2010, Pope Francis’s native Argentina was in the process of legalizing homosexual “marriage.” The country’s bishops took a very strong line against the measure. A statement made by then-Cardinal Bergoglio was particularly pointed.
According to British journalist Edward Pentin:
He made the statement in a letter addressed to each of the four monasteries in Argentina, asking the contemplatives to pray “fervently” that legislators be strengthened to do the right thing.
He wrote: “In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family. . . .
“At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother, and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.”
Cardinal Bergoglio continued: “Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
The cardinal also noted that “today the country, in this particular situation, needs the special assistance of the Holy Spirit to bring the light of truth on to the darkness of error, it need this advocate to defend us from being enchanted by many fallacies that are tried at all costs to justify this bill and to confuse and deceive the people of good will.”
If you’d like to learn more about Pope Francis, how he thinks, and what he is likely to do as pope, be sure to get my new booklet, Inside the Mind of Pope Francis.