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Paterson bishop: Vaccination exemption for clergy 'will be minimal'

Bishop Kevin Sweeney of Paterson. Photo courtesy DeSales Media Group. / null

Paterson, N.J., Sep 15, 2021 / 17:32 pm (CNA).

Bishop Kevin Sweeney of Paterson wrote to clerics of his diocese Tuesday to ‘strongly encourage’ their vaccination against COVID-19. Non-medical exemptions, he said, will be minimal, and there may be discussion of whether non-vaccinated priests ‘can remain in active ministry.”

“As teachers and religious educators must be vaccinated by statewide mandate, our clergy should be vaccinated voluntarily as a good example to others and in solidarity with them,” Bishop Sweeney wrote in a Sept. 14 letter to clergy of Diocese of Paterson.

“If you have not been vaccinated, I strongly encourage you to be vaccinated.”

He characterized his encouragement as “one step short of a mandate.”

“This is an essential time when you must be vaccinated to protect yourself and the health of others,” the bishop wrote. “If you feel that you are unable to be vaccinated, please be in touch with one of [sic] diocesan Vicars General in order to discuss your reasoning with them so that they may consult with me for further discussion on particular individual exemptions and whether a priest who is not vaccinated can remain in active ministry. Exemptions from vaccination for clergy, other than those for legitimate medical reasons, will be minimal.”

Writing on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, Bishop Sweeney noted that “we celebrate the life giving power of the holy cross that was borne by Christ ‘so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life’ (John 3:16). We have often called upon the Lord to heal those whom we love and serve. The emergence of vaccines which helped to quell the progress of this dreaded illness is God sent.”

 

The bishop recalled that Pope Francis has called receiving vaccination “an act of love,” and that most of the diocese’s clerics and their staff have already been vaccinated. 

 

The bishop said that a cleric’s doctor can help him with information on how or where to be vaccinated, and that the Office of Clergy Personnel can be of additional assistance.

In its December 2020 Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that “vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation” and “therefore, it must be voluntary.” 

It said that “in the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the epidemic, the common good may recommend vaccination.”

“Those who, however, for reasons of conscience, refuse vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses, must do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent,” the congregation wrote.

Bishop John Stowe of Lexington has required COVID-19 vaccines for all diocesan employees, and  Blase Cardinal Cupich of Chicago is requiring all archdiocesan employees and clergy to receive a vaccine for COVID-19, and will only allow exemptions for medical reasons. 

Bishop Thomas Paprock of Springfield in Illinois recently wrote that “while the Church promotes vaccination as morally acceptable and urges cooperation with public health authorities in promoting the common good, there are matters of personal health and moral conscience involved in vaccines that must be respected. Therefore, vaccine participation must be voluntary and cannot be forced, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the authority of Pope Francis, indicated last December. While we encourage vaccination, we cannot and will not force vaccination as a condition of employment or the freedom of the faithful to worship in our parishes.”

“The Catholic Church teaches that some persons may have conscientious objections to the taking of the COVID vaccines, and that these conscientious convictions ought to be respected,” Bishop Paprocki added.

The Catholic Medical Association has stated that it “opposes mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment without conscience or religious exemptions.”

The National Catholic Bioethics Center, a think tank that provides guidance on human dignity in health care and medical research, also issued a July 2 statement opposing mandated vaccination with any of the three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States.

Paterson bishop: Vaccination exemption for clergy 'will be minimal'

Bishop Kevin Sweeney of Paterson. Photo courtesy DeSales Media Group. / null

Paterson, N.J., Sep 15, 2021 / 17:32 pm (CNA).

Bishop Kevin Sweeney of Paterson wrote to clerics of his diocese Tuesday to ‘strongly encourage’ their vaccination against COVID-19. Non-medical exemptions, he said, will be minimal, and there may be discussion of whether non-vaccinated priests ‘can remain in active ministry.”

“As teachers and religious educators must be vaccinated by statewide mandate, our clergy should be vaccinated voluntarily as a good example to others and in solidarity with them,” Bishop Sweeney wrote in a Sept. 14 letter to clergy of Diocese of Paterson.

“If you have not been vaccinated, I strongly encourage you to be vaccinated.”

He characterized his encouragement as “one step short of a mandate.”

“This is an essential time when you must be vaccinated to protect yourself and the health of others,” the bishop wrote. “If you feel that you are unable to be vaccinated, please be in touch with one of [sic] diocesan Vicars General in order to discuss your reasoning with them so that they may consult with me for further discussion on particular individual exemptions and whether a priest who is not vaccinated can remain in active ministry. Exemptions from vaccination for clergy, other than those for legitimate medical reasons, will be minimal.”

Writing on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, Bishop Sweeney noted that “we celebrate the life giving power of the holy cross that was borne by Christ ‘so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life’ (John 3:16). We have often called upon the Lord to heal those whom we love and serve. The emergence of vaccines which helped to quell the progress of this dreaded illness is God sent.”

 

The bishop recalled that Pope Francis has called receiving vaccination “an act of love,” and that most of the diocese’s clerics and their staff have already been vaccinated. 

 

The bishop said that a cleric’s doctor can help him with information on how or where to be vaccinated, and that the Office of Clergy Personnel can be of additional assistance.

In its December 2020 Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that “vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation” and “therefore, it must be voluntary.” 

It said that “in the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the epidemic, the common good may recommend vaccination.”

“Those who, however, for reasons of conscience, refuse vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses, must do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent,” the congregation wrote.

Bishop John Stowe of Lexington has required COVID-19 vaccines for all diocesan employees, and  Blase Cardinal Cupich of Chicago is requiring all archdiocesan employees and clergy to receive a vaccine for COVID-19, and will only allow exemptions for medical reasons. 

Bishop Thomas Paprock of Springfield in Illinois recently wrote that “while the Church promotes vaccination as morally acceptable and urges cooperation with public health authorities in promoting the common good, there are matters of personal health and moral conscience involved in vaccines that must be respected. Therefore, vaccine participation must be voluntary and cannot be forced, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the authority of Pope Francis, indicated last December. While we encourage vaccination, we cannot and will not force vaccination as a condition of employment or the freedom of the faithful to worship in our parishes.”

“The Catholic Church teaches that some persons may have conscientious objections to the taking of the COVID vaccines, and that these conscientious convictions ought to be respected,” Bishop Paprocki added.

The Catholic Medical Association has stated that it “opposes mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment without conscience or religious exemptions.”

The National Catholic Bioethics Center, a think tank that provides guidance on human dignity in health care and medical research, also issued a July 2 statement opposing mandated vaccination with any of the three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States.

Mexican bishops announce march 'for women and for life'

null / Unsplash.

Mexico City, Mexico, Sep 15, 2021 / 17:19 pm (CNA).

In response to recent rulings by the nation’s Supreme Court decriminalizing abortion, the bishops of Mexico have called on the faithful and people of good will throughout the country to join a march "for women and for life" to be held Oct. 3 in Mexico City.

In a Sept. 13 statement, the Mexican bishops’ conference encouraged the faithful to invite people to the march "at Sunday Masses and by other means deemed appropriate," so that “as many people as possible" attend. 

On Sept. 7, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation invalidated several articles that protected life from conception in the penal code of the state of Coahuila. Two days later, the court ruled parts of the Sinaloa state constitution protecting life from conception to be unconstitutional. The rulings are expected to have wide-ranging effects throughout Mexico. 

“We have shared how deplorable this situation is and we have already spoken out about it,” the bishops said, adding they must now be open to putting their words into actions.

The Mexican bishops said they were "pleased to see the numerous actions and demonstrations that have taken place throughout the country, and we encourage the laity to continue doing so."

“Various lay people from different social organizations, Catholic and non-Catholic, have approached us to propose a massive presence in Mexico City in order to express appreciation for women and the protection of the human life of the woman and her child in all circumstances,” they explained.

The demonstration “for women and life” will “bring together social organizations from all over the country," they said.

"The proposal has been presented to the Mexican Bishops’ Conference and we welcome this great opportunity for our faithful people to join this initiative," the bishops explained.

Marcial Padilla, director of the Mexican pro-life platform ConParticipación, is in charge of coordinating the march.

Speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s sister news agency, Padilla noted that "September, which should be a month of celebration for Mexicans" because of the celebration of the country’s independence on Sept. 16, "has become a sad and sombre month."

This situation is due to "the ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice, which declared it should be legal to take the life of a child in the womb of his mother at some stage in the pregnancy,” which will terminate the lives of “a great many Mexicans."

Padilla pointed out that "we know that abortion is a complex issue that cannot be solved without addressing it from every angle."

“If we want to embrace with mercy the woman who gets an abortion, prison is probably not the way to help,” he continued.

“On the contrary, what we want to do is to solve the problems that led her to consider it, but in no way do we want to take away the protection under the law from the unborn child. The child must have the same protection under the law as his mother.”

The coordinator of the march "for women and for life" stressed that "it’s necessary to act in support of both the mother and the child, for women and for life, which is why social organizations throughout the country decided to call a great march for women and for life.”

Padilla said, “we are going to gather as many people as possible in a national march in Mexico City, to express our commitment to the dignity of the person and women and the defense of life.”

The pro-life leader stressed, "we’re going to continue promoting actions by  civil society to support the mother and the child to avoid this dilemma of the culture of death.”

Justice Department asks judge to block Texas abortion law during legal challenge

US Attorney General Merrick Garland / Justice Department

Austin, Texas, Sep 15, 2021 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

The US Department of Justice asked a federal judge on Tuesday to issue a preliminary injunction against Texas’ law prohibiting most abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, following a suit from the DOJ against the law last week. 

A preliminary injunction, if granted, would prevent the law from being enforced while the DOJ’s lawsuit plays out in court. 

Such an injunction "is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States in ensuring that its States respect the terms of the national compact," attorneys for the Justice Department said in its Sept. 14 court filing

In a legal complaint filed in a federal district court Sept. 9, the Justice Department had argued the state acted “in open defiance of the Constitution” in restricting “most pre-viability abortions.” 

Texas’ law, which is designed to be enforced through private lawsuits, prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, around six weeks gestation, except in medical emergencies. The law allows for at least $10,000 in damages in successful lawsuits; women seeking abortions cannot be sued under the law. 

In early September the Supreme Court ruled that the abortion providers challenging the law had not made a sufficient case for relief from it, and declined to block the law in a 5-4 decision. 

In response, President Joe Biden – a Catholic – directed his administration to examine “what steps the Federal Government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions.” 

As a result of Biden’s directive, the Justice Department “urgently explores all options to challenge” Texas’ new law and “protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons, including access to an abortion," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a Sept. 6 statement.

Bishops around the country reacted with praise to a Texas law, and noted that women experiencing a crisis pregnancy have resources available, instead of abortion.

The bishops of Texas have said that opponents of the law, who have described a fetal heartbeat as “electrically induced flickering of embryonic tissue” or “embryonic cardiac activity,” are making a “disturbing” effort to “dehumanize the unborn.”

“Abortion is a human rights issue; the most fundamental human right is the right to life,” said the Texas bishops Sept. 3. “Abortion is not healthcare. Abortion is not freedom. Abortion does not help women. Abortion is never the answer. It is always the violent taking of innocent human life.”

Pro-life leaders pointed out that the state legislature recently increased public benefits for low-income mothers, expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers and funding the Alternatives to Abortion program.

“Texas is further leading in compassion for women and families with its $100 million Alternatives to Abortion state program and ten times as many pro-life pregnancy centers as abortion facilities,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, last week.

Justice Department asks judge to block Texas abortion law during legal challenge

US Attorney General Merrick Garland / Justice Department

Austin, Texas, Sep 15, 2021 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

The US Department of Justice asked a federal judge on Tuesday to issue a preliminary injunction against Texas’ law prohibiting most abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, following a suit from the DOJ against the law last week. 

A preliminary injunction, if granted, would prevent the law from being enforced while the DOJ’s lawsuit plays out in court. 

Such an injunction "is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States in ensuring that its States respect the terms of the national compact," attorneys for the Justice Department said in its Sept. 14 court filing

In a legal complaint filed in a federal district court Sept. 9, the Justice Department had argued the state acted “in open defiance of the Constitution” in restricting “most pre-viability abortions.” 

Texas’ law, which is designed to be enforced through private lawsuits, prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, around six weeks gestation, except in medical emergencies. The law allows for at least $10,000 in damages in successful lawsuits; women seeking abortions cannot be sued under the law. 

In early September the Supreme Court ruled that the abortion providers challenging the law had not made a sufficient case for relief from it, and declined to block the law in a 5-4 decision. 

In response, President Joe Biden – a Catholic – directed his administration to examine “what steps the Federal Government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions.” 

As a result of Biden’s directive, the Justice Department “urgently explores all options to challenge” Texas’ new law and “protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons, including access to an abortion," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a Sept. 6 statement.

Bishops around the country reacted with praise to a Texas law, and noted that women experiencing a crisis pregnancy have resources available, instead of abortion.

The bishops of Texas have said that opponents of the law, who have described a fetal heartbeat as “electrically induced flickering of embryonic tissue” or “embryonic cardiac activity,” are making a “disturbing” effort to “dehumanize the unborn.”

“Abortion is a human rights issue; the most fundamental human right is the right to life,” said the Texas bishops Sept. 3. “Abortion is not healthcare. Abortion is not freedom. Abortion does not help women. Abortion is never the answer. It is always the violent taking of innocent human life.”

Pro-life leaders pointed out that the state legislature recently increased public benefits for low-income mothers, expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers and funding the Alternatives to Abortion program.

“Texas is further leading in compassion for women and families with its $100 million Alternatives to Abortion state program and ten times as many pro-life pregnancy centers as abortion facilities,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, last week.

Holocaust survivor thanks Pope Francis for highlighting anti-Semitism on Central Europe trip

Pope Francis visits Holocaust survivor Edith Bruck at her home in Rome, Feb. 20, 2021. / Vatican Media.

Rome, Italy, Sep 15, 2021 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

A Holocaust survivor has thanked Pope Francis for highlighting anti-Semitism during his visit to Central Europe.

The Hungarian-born Jewish writer Edith Bruck expressed her gratitude in a letter given to the pope on Sept. 15 during his in-flight press conference at the end of the four-day trip to Hungary and Slovakia.

The pope met Jewish communities in both countries on his Sept. 12-15 visit, recalling their suffering during the Second World War and deploring contemporary anti-Semitism.

Bruck, who is 90 years old, wrote: “Beloved Pope Francis, your words on anti-Semitism, which has never been eradicated, are more relevant today than ever. Not only in the countries you are visiting, but throughout Europe.”

“Dearest Pope Francis, I am following you and listening to your fundamental words that cannot leave anyone indifferent in those places where evil prevailed.”

Saying that Hungarian friends had told her that the pope left a “trail of love” during his seven-hour visit to the capital, Budapest, she added: “May God accompany every step you make for peace, coexistence and open those hearts and consciences that are still not pure.”

“I hope that Your voice and the warmth that you emanate reaches, touches, awakens the good that is in everyone. Sometimes even in the deepest darkness the light makes its way. I know it and therefore I live and hope.”

Pope Francis touched on anti-Semitism during his in-flight press conference on Sept. 15 as he returned from Slovakia to Rome. Stefano Maria Paci of Sky Tg 24 presented the letter to the pope, reading out its opening lines.

The pope responded: “Anti-Semitism is in fashion now, it is resurrecting. It is a very bad thing.”

The pope met with representatives of Hungary’s Jewish communities at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest on Sept. 12.

Nazi Germans deported more than 434,000 Jews from Hungary towards the end of the Second World War. They sent most to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where an estimated 80% were gassed on arrival.

In a speech, the pope reflected on the life of the Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti, who was born in a Jewish family but converted to Catholicism. Imprisoned in a slave labor camp, Radnóti was shot dead in 1944 during a forced march.

“His brilliant career was cut short by the blind hatred of those who, for no other reason than his Jewish origins, first prevented him from teaching and then separated him from his family,” the pope said.

“Imprisoned in a concentration camp, in the darkest and most depraved chapter of human history, Radnóti continued until his death to write poetry. His ‘Bor Notebook’ was his only collection of poems to survive the Shoah. It testifies to the power of his belief in the warmth of love amid the icy coldness of the camps, illumining the darkness of hatred with the light of faith.”

Referring to a poem in which Radnóti described himself as “a root,” the pope said: “Only if we become roots of peace and shoots of unity, will we prove credible in the eyes of the world, which look to us with a yearning that can bring hope to blossom.”

The pope met Slovakia’s Jewish community on Sept. 13 in the capital, Bratislava.

During World War II, almost all of Bratislava’s Jews were deported to concentration camps or labor camps. Around 11,500 of the more than 15,000 Jews then living in the city were murdered in the Holocaust.

Slovakian Holocaust survivors spoke at the event in Rybné Square, part of the city’s former Jewish quarter.

In his address, the pope said: “Let us unite in condemning all violence and every form of anti-Semitism, and in working to ensure that God’s image, present in the humanity he created, will never be profaned.”

Bruck was born in Hungary in 1931 but has lived in Italy since her early 20s. She survived the Nazi concentration camps in Auschwitz and Dachau, where she was sent with her parents, two brothers, and a sister at the age of 12.

Her parents and a brother died in the concentration camps. Bruck and her remaining siblings were freed from the Bergen-Belsen camp by the Allies in 1945.

Pope Francis visited Bruck at her home in Rome in February.

According to the Vatican, in a meeting of around an hour, Bruck and the pope spoke about “those moments of light which marked the experience of the hell of the concentration camps.”

Their conversation also touched on the “fears and hopes for the time we live in, underlining the value of memory and the role of the elderly in cultivating it and passing it on to the young.”

When he greeted Bruck, Pope Francis said: “I came here to thank you for your testimony and to pay tribute to the people martyred in the madness of Nazi populism.”

“And I sincerely repeat to you the words I spoke from my heart at Yad Vashem and which I repeat in front of every person who, like you, has suffered so much because of this: ‘Forgiveness, Oh Lord, on behalf of humanity!’” he said, according to a Vatican communication.

After 1945, Bruck returned to Hungary and then went to Czechoslovakia, where a sister was living. She married for the first time when she was 16 years old and moved to Israel. That marriage ended in divorce after a year, and was followed by two more marriages and divorces.

Bruck moved to Italy in 1954, where she married Nelo Risi, an Italian poet, film director, translator, and screenwriter who died in 2015 after a long battle with a neurodegenerative disease.

During World War II, Risi had fought on the Russian front and been imprisoned in a Swiss internment camp.

Bruck published a memoir about her time in the concentration camps and the years after in Italian in 1959. In 2001, it was translated into English with the title “Who Loves You Like This.”

An award-winning writer, Bruck has also published novels, short story collections, plays, and screenplays in Italian and directed several Italian films.

In recent years, Bruck has continued to speak about the Holocaust in schools and universities.

Her letter comes shortly after a Vatican cardinal wrote to Jewish leaders assuring them that recent comments by Pope Francis did not devalue the Torah.

The rabbis wrote to Pope Francis in August, expressing alarm at a general audience address in which the pope said that the Mosaic Law did “not give life.”

He made the observation in his cycle of catechesis on the Epistle to the Galatians, in which St. Paul addresses a dispute in the early Christian community over how closely Christians should follow Jewish law.

Cardinal Kurt Koch told the rabbis: “Bearing in mind the positive affirmations constantly made by Pope Francis on Judaism, it cannot in any way be presumed that he is returning to a so-called ‘doctrine of contempt.’”

“Pope Francis fully respects the foundations of Judaism and always seeks to deepen the bonds of friendship between the two faith traditions.”

Live Action says Google’s removal of pro-life ads ‘unprecedented’

Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, addresses the 2021 Live Action Life Awards Dinner at Dana Point, California; Aug. 21, 2021 / Francesca Polio/CNA

Washington D.C., Sep 15, 2021 / 14:50 pm (CNA).

According to the pro-life group Live Action, the search engine Google canceled its advertisements for abortion pill reversal services. The act is further evidence of Google’s pro-abortion biases, a leading pro-life activist tells CNA. 

“In a dramatic and unprecedented move, Google has sided squarely with extremist pro-abortion political ideology, banning the pro-life counterpoint and life-saving information from being promoted on their platform,” Live Action founder Lila Rose told CNA in a statement. 

Rose said that Google was no longer “hiding their bias,” and that the censorship of the advertisements “baldly reveals that the corporation is in the pocket of the abortion industry.”

On Sept. 13, Rose said, Google “disapproved” all of Live Action’s advertisements for abortion pill reversal, claiming they were “unreliable” and contained false information. The advertisements had been running for over four months and had previously been approved by Google, she said. 

Rose disputed Google’s label of “unreliable claims,” noting that the abortion pill reversal regimen uses progesterone treatment that has been FDA-approved to prevent miscarriages. She said Google “obviously failed to understand” what abortion pill reversal actually entails.

The reversal regimen, promoted by Live Action and other pro-life medical professionals, “involves an FDA-approved, bioidentical pregnancy hormone called progesterone that has been used for dozens of years to prevent miscarriage and has already saved thousands of lives,” Rose said. 

Banning the ads, she said, will have “devastating” consequences for women and girls who may turn to the search engine after regretting taking the first dose of the medication abortion regimen. 

“More women and girls will be marketed abortions through Google’s platforms, without also being offered life-affirming options,” said Rose. 

The office of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Wednesday sent a letter to Google’s CEO, asking why the ads had been removed and at what rate ads by pro-life organizations are ruled ineligible for Google’s platform, Live Action reported.

A chemical or medication abortion is a two-step process that involves the ingestion of two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. The first drug, mifepristone, effectively starves the unborn baby by blocking the effects of the hormone progesterone. The second drug, misoprostol, is taken up to two days later, and induces labor to expel the body of the deceased baby.

Chemical abortions can be reversed after a woman takes mifepristone, but before she takes misoprostol, although this action must be taken quickly. Live Action advertised a hotline for women seeking to potentially reverse the first step of a chemical abortion, with a physician available to help. 

If an ultrasound confirms the unborn baby is still viable, the mother is given a large dose of progesterone to reverse the effects of mifepristone, with additional doses of progesterone needed throughout the first trimester.

Each woman who undergoes an attempt to reverse her abortion is also referred to a help center for support throughout the remainder of her pregnancy.

In 2019, Andrea Trudden, the director of communications and marketing for Heartbeat International - which markets the abortion pill reversal hotline - told CNA of an estimated "64-68 percent success rate" for women who contact the hotline seeking to reverse their abortions.

Rose told CNA that she thinks Google should allow the ads back on its platform as a sign of compliance with its own policies. 

“The tech monopolies that have so much control over our information consumption and our daily lives are so tied in with the radical left that they work to restrict informed consent and censor life-saving options in order to protect the billion-dollar abortion industry,” said Rose. “It’s anti-choice and morally wrong. Google must apply fairness and uniformity to its policy and allow Live Action and pro-life partners back on its ads platform.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – which is pro-abortion and has fought in court to liberalize federal restrictions on the abortion pill regimen – claims that the abortion pill reversal regimen is “unproven and unethical.”

The organization points to a 2012 case series as “not scientific,” where four of six women continued their pregnancies after taking progesterone doses. That study “was not supervised by an institutional review board (IRB) or an ethical review committee,” the college stated.

In 2019, a case study commenced at the University of California at Davis to study the abortion pill reversal treatment, but it was stopped due to safety concerns and lack of participants. According to NPR, only 12 women enrolled in the study while researchers had hoped for 40 enrollees. Three of the 12 were transported to the hospital for serious vaginal bleeding; one of those three had been given progesterone.

The lead researcher on the study – Dr. Mitchell Creinin, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UC Davis – told NPR that not finishing the abortion pill regimen was “experimental” and cited “some evidence that it could cause very significant bleeding." Crenin has a long history of performing abortions.

Pro-life groups countered that the study actually showed the dangers of mifepristone, as two of the three women who experienced bleeding had not been given progesterone after they had taken mifepristone.

Heartbeat International added that a previous study, in which Crenin participated, also showed hemorrhaging related to the abortion pill regimen.

Heartbeat International claims that more than 2,000 women have successfully used the abortion pill reversal to stop an abortion. The administration of progesterone to reverse the abortion pill regimen has not been specifically approved by the FDA, although many pro-life medical professionals consider it safe.

A 2018 case study, published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Issues in Law and Medicine, showed that in 261 successful abortion pill reversals, the reversal success rates were 68% with a high-dose oral progesterone protocol and 64% with an injected progesterone protocol.

Rebekah Buell-Hagan, a woman who successfully underwent a reversal of the abortion pill regimen in 2013, told EWTN Pro-Life Weekly that she had used her phone to find out what she could do to reverse the procedure.

“I typed in ‘I took the first abortion pill and changed my mind,’ and back in 2013, there wasn’t a whole lot that came up,” Buell-Hagan said in her 2018 interview with EWTN Pro-Life Weekly. “But there were a few girls that had asked the same question, and unfortunately the answers they were getting were not hopeful, it was very much ‘you have to finish what you started.’”

However, she found the website AbortionPillReversal.com which connected her with a doctor.

“We started progesterone injections for several weeks to counteract the abortion pill that I took,” she said.

This article was updated on Sept. 15 with new information.

Live Action says Google’s removal of pro-life ads ‘unprecedented’

Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, addresses the 2021 Live Action Life Awards Dinner at Dana Point, California; Aug. 21, 2021 / Francesca Polio/CNA

Washington D.C., Sep 15, 2021 / 14:50 pm (CNA).

According to the pro-life group Live Action, the search engine Google canceled its advertisements for abortion pill reversal services. The act is further evidence of Google’s pro-abortion biases, a leading pro-life activist tells CNA. 

“In a dramatic and unprecedented move, Google has sided squarely with extremist pro-abortion political ideology, banning the pro-life counterpoint and life-saving information from being promoted on their platform,” Live Action founder Lila Rose told CNA in a statement. 

Rose said that Google was no longer “hiding their bias,” and that the censorship of the advertisements “baldly reveals that the corporation is in the pocket of the abortion industry.”

On Sept. 13, Rose said, Google “disapproved” all of Live Action’s advertisements for abortion pill reversal, claiming they were “unreliable” and contained false information. The advertisements had been running for over four months and had previously been approved by Google, she said. 

Rose disputed Google’s label of “unreliable claims,” noting that the abortion pill reversal regimen uses progesterone treatment that has been FDA-approved to prevent miscarriages. She said Google “obviously failed to understand” what abortion pill reversal actually entails.

The reversal regimen, promoted by Live Action and other pro-life medical professionals, “involves an FDA-approved, bioidentical pregnancy hormone called progesterone that has been used for dozens of years to prevent miscarriage and has already saved thousands of lives,” Rose said. 

Banning the ads, she said, will have “devastating” consequences for women and girls who may turn to the search engine after regretting taking the first dose of the medication abortion regimen. 

“More women and girls will be marketed abortions through Google’s platforms, without also being offered life-affirming options,” said Rose. 

The office of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Wednesday sent a letter to Google’s CEO, asking why the ads had been removed and at what rate ads by pro-life organizations are ruled ineligible for Google’s platform, Live Action reported.

A chemical or medication abortion is a two-step process that involves the ingestion of two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. The first drug, mifepristone, effectively starves the unborn baby by blocking the effects of the hormone progesterone. The second drug, misoprostol, is taken up to two days later, and induces labor to expel the body of the deceased baby.

Chemical abortions can be reversed after a woman takes mifepristone, but before she takes misoprostol, although this action must be taken quickly. Live Action advertised a hotline for women seeking to potentially reverse the first step of a chemical abortion, with a physician available to help. 

If an ultrasound confirms the unborn baby is still viable, the mother is given a large dose of progesterone to reverse the effects of mifepristone, with additional doses of progesterone needed throughout the first trimester.

Each woman who undergoes an attempt to reverse her abortion is also referred to a help center for support throughout the remainder of her pregnancy.

In 2019, Andrea Trudden, the director of communications and marketing for Heartbeat International - which markets the abortion pill reversal hotline - told CNA of an estimated "64-68 percent success rate" for women who contact the hotline seeking to reverse their abortions.

Rose told CNA that she thinks Google should allow the ads back on its platform as a sign of compliance with its own policies. 

“The tech monopolies that have so much control over our information consumption and our daily lives are so tied in with the radical left that they work to restrict informed consent and censor life-saving options in order to protect the billion-dollar abortion industry,” said Rose. “It’s anti-choice and morally wrong. Google must apply fairness and uniformity to its policy and allow Live Action and pro-life partners back on its ads platform.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – which is pro-abortion and has fought in court to liberalize federal restrictions on the abortion pill regimen – claims that the abortion pill reversal regimen is “unproven and unethical.”

The organization points to a 2012 case series as “not scientific,” where four of six women continued their pregnancies after taking progesterone doses. That study “was not supervised by an institutional review board (IRB) or an ethical review committee,” the college stated.

In 2019, a case study commenced at the University of California at Davis to study the abortion pill reversal treatment, but it was stopped due to safety concerns and lack of participants. According to NPR, only 12 women enrolled in the study while researchers had hoped for 40 enrollees. Three of the 12 were transported to the hospital for serious vaginal bleeding; one of those three had been given progesterone.

The lead researcher on the study – Dr. Mitchell Creinin, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UC Davis – told NPR that not finishing the abortion pill regimen was “experimental” and cited “some evidence that it could cause very significant bleeding." Crenin has a long history of performing abortions.

Pro-life groups countered that the study actually showed the dangers of mifepristone, as two of the three women who experienced bleeding had not been given progesterone after they had taken mifepristone.

Heartbeat International added that a previous study, in which Crenin participated, also showed hemorrhaging related to the abortion pill regimen.

Heartbeat International claims that more than 2,000 women have successfully used the abortion pill reversal to stop an abortion. The administration of progesterone to reverse the abortion pill regimen has not been specifically approved by the FDA, although many pro-life medical professionals consider it safe.

A 2018 case study, published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Issues in Law and Medicine, showed that in 261 successful abortion pill reversals, the reversal success rates were 68% with a high-dose oral progesterone protocol and 64% with an injected progesterone protocol.

Rebekah Buell-Hagan, a woman who successfully underwent a reversal of the abortion pill regimen in 2013, told EWTN Pro-Life Weekly that she had used her phone to find out what she could do to reverse the procedure.

“I typed in ‘I took the first abortion pill and changed my mind,’ and back in 2013, there wasn’t a whole lot that came up,” Buell-Hagan said in her 2018 interview with EWTN Pro-Life Weekly. “But there were a few girls that had asked the same question, and unfortunately the answers they were getting were not hopeful, it was very much ‘you have to finish what you started.’”

However, she found the website AbortionPillReversal.com which connected her with a doctor.

“We started progesterone injections for several weeks to counteract the abortion pill that I took,” she said.

This article was updated on Sept. 15 with new information.

Pope Francis on COVID-19 vaccines: ‘Even in the College of Cardinals there are some deniers’

Pope Francis speaks during an in-flight press conference from Slovakia, Sept. 15, 2021 / Vatican Media.

Rome, Italy, Sep 15, 2021 / 13:00 pm (CNA).

Discussing COVID-19 vaccines during an in-flight press conference on Wednesday, Pope Francis said that “even in the College of Cardinals there are some deniers.”

The pope was responding to a question posed by a journalist at the end of his four-day visit to Slovakia and Hungary on Sept. 15.

The reporter noted that the initial requirement that only fully vaccinated people could take part in papal visit events caused controversy in Slovakia.

He recalled that the pope had described receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as an “act of love” and asked how it was possible for Christians with contrasting views to be united on the issue.

The pope said: “Humanity has a history of friendship with vaccines. As children, we got them for measles, for other things, for polio. All the children were vaccinated and no one said anything.”

“Then this [opposition] happened. This was perhaps due to the virulence, the uncertainty not only about the pandemic, but also about the different vaccines, and also the reputation of some vaccines which are nothing more than distilled water. This created fear in people. Then others who say that it is a danger because with the vaccine you are infected. So many arguments that have created this division.”

He continued: “Even in the College of Cardinals there are some deniers and one of these, poor guy, is hospitalized with the virus.”

The pope may have been referring to Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was placed on a ventilator in August after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The 73-year-old American cardinal is not the only cardinal to have contracted COVID-19.

Cardinal Philippe Ouedraogo of Burkina Faso and Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, both tested positive and recovered from COVID-19 in March 2020.

Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, was hospitalized with the virus in November 2020. Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg tested positive in January, as did Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga in February.

After he was taken off the ventilator and moved from the ICU to a hospital room, Cardinal Burke gave thanks that God had brought him to a “point of healing and recovery.”

Known for his outspoken defense of traditional Catholicism, Burke is the former leader of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Diocese of La Crosse in his home state of Wisconsin.

He served as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura from 2008 to 2014. Pope Francis appointed him as a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in 2017.

LifeSiteNews reported in May 2020 that Burke affirmed in an online talk that it is “never morally justified to develop a vaccine through the use of cell lines of aborted fetuses.”

It added that the cardinal said that vaccination should not be imposed on citizens “in a totalitarian manner” and spoke of the possibility of microchips being planted under people’s skin, permitting them to be “controlled by the state regarding health and about other matters.”

Pope Francis, who received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, in January and February, has repeatedly encouraged Catholics to be vaccinated and has promoted the fair distribution of vaccines throughout the world.

He said in a public service announcement produced in collaboration with the Ad Council in August that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is “an act of love.”

“I pray to God that each one of us can make his or her own small gesture of love, no matter how small, love is always grand,” the pope said in the PSA, published Aug. 17.

The COVID-19 vaccine has been a controversial subject in Slovakia, where as of Sept. 15, only half of the country is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, well below the 71% of adults fully vaccinated in the European Union overall.

A Slovak Academy of Sciences poll in July found that 36% of Slovakians said they did not want to receive the COVID vaccine, up from 30.9% in May. The same month, hundreds of people gathered outside Slovakia’s parliament in protest of possible new vaccine rules.

In July, Slovakia’s health minister and the Catholic bishops' conference announced that only those who had been fully vaccinated would be allowed to attend events during Pope Francis' Sept. 12-15 visit to the country.

But in early September, authorities eased this rule to also allow those with a recent negative test result or recovery from COVID-19 within the past 180 days to attend if they registered in advance.

Local media reports suggested that registration for the papal events had been at just 13% of their capacity, with 57,000 people having registered to see the pope as of Sept. 2, in a country of 5.5 million people, 62% of whom are Catholics.

“We knew there would be some problems with this,” Fr. Martin Kramara, the spokesman for the Slovakian bishops’ conference, told CNA in August, in reference to the obligation to be vaccinated.

At the time the decision was taken, the alternative given by the authorities was to have a maximum 1,000 people in attendance at each event, in spaces that could theoretically hold up to 50,000 people, Kramara said. He added that the bishops were tentatively expecting as many as 100,000 people at the pope's closing Mass at the national shrine in Šaštín.

Attendance at some events in Slovakia was lower than projected, with an estimated 25,000 young people present at an event in Košice’s Lokomotiva Stadium, half the stadium’s capacity, and about 60,000 at the national shrine in Šaštín, which could accommodate 100,000 attendees as originally tentatively projected.

Concluding his response to the question on vaccine skepticism, the pope said: “I do not know how to explain it well. Some say it comes from the diversity of where the vaccines come from, which are not sufficiently tested and they are afraid. We must clarify and speak with serenity about this. In the Vatican, everyone is vaccinated except a small group which they are studying how to help.”

Full text: Pope Francis’ in-flight press conference from Slovakia

Pope Francis speaks during an in-flight press conference. / Colm Flynn/CNA.

Aboard the papal plane, Sep 15, 2021 / 12:00 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis landed in Rome on Sept. 15 after a four-day journey to Hungary and Slovakia. Please read below for CNA’s transcript of Pope Francis’ 30-minute press conference during the flight from the Slovakian capital, Bratislava, to Rome.

Matteo Bruni, Holy See press office director: Hello, Your Holiness, thank you for these days that opened with Eucharistic Adoration in Budapest and ended with the celebration, the united prayer, this morning in Šaštín. Between those moments there were many images, many words, many encounters, it was beautiful that you could again be among people. The joy and participation of the people of God was also beautiful during these days. We will go over these days through the questions, but maybe you want to…

Pope Francis: No, no.

Bruni: OK, the first question comes from a Hungarian journalist, Istávan Kuzmányi of Magyar Kurír.

Istávan Kuzmányi: Holy Father, we thank you for your visit to Budapest, where you cited our Venerable Cardinal Mindszenty, who said: “I cannot worry when there are a million Hungarians praying.” Why did you decide after 21 years to participate as the pope in the International Eucharistic Congress? What do you see for the future of European Christianity and what do you think we Hungarians can do about it?

Pope Francis: At first it was not clear: [the pope] is only coming to the ceremony and will not visit us Hungarians? I explained that the visit to Slovakia was planned, that it was planned first, and I promised to your president, with whom I met, to come [the] next year, because there are so many Hungarian values.

I was struck by the sense of ecumenism with a very great depth that you have. Europe must, I always say, follow the dreams of the founding fathers of the European Union. The European Union is not a meeting to do things, there is a spirit at the base of the European Union dreamed of by Schuman, Adenauer, De Gasperi, these great ones. Return to that, because there is the danger that Europe will become only a management office and this is not right, it must go to the mystical, seek the roots of Europe and carry them forward. All countries must move forward. Some interests, perhaps not European ones, try to use the EU for ideological colonization and this is not good. The EU must be independent for itself and for all countries at the same level inspired by the dream of the founding fathers. This is my idea. Last year [Ed. in 2019] I was in Transylvania. That Mass was really beautiful.

Bohumil Petrik, Denník Štandard: Vaccination has divided Christians, also in Slovakia. You say that getting the vaccine is an act of love. And when you do not get the vaccine, what would you call it? Some believers have felt discriminated against and there are different approaches in the different dioceses on this point. Even before your visit, this visit could only be accessed if [someone was] vaccinated, then it was changed, even those who did rapid tests could attend and so on... So, we would all like to know how to get along, how to reconcile on this issue.

Pope Francis: Humanity has a history of friendship with vaccines. As children, we got them for measles, for other things, for polio. All the children were vaccinated and no one said anything. Then this [opposition] happened. This was perhaps due to the virulence, the uncertainty not only about the pandemic, but also about the different vaccines, and also the reputation of some vaccines which are nothing more than distilled water. This created fear in people. Then others who say that it is a danger because with the vaccine you are infected. So many arguments that have created this division. Even in the College of Cardinals there are some deniers and one of these, poor guy, is hospitalized with the virus. The irony of life. I do not know how to explain [the opposition] well. Some say it comes from the diversity of where the vaccines come from, which are not sufficiently tested and they are afraid. We must clarify and speak with serenity about this. In the Vatican, everyone is vaccinated except a small group which they are studying how to help.

Daniel Verdu, El País: On Sunday morning, you met with President Viktor Orbán. One can understand that there are some differences on issues like Europe, migrants, nationalists. We wanted to ask how the meeting went, if you talked about migrants now that it’s becoming a big issue again with the Afghanistan crisis, and what you think about the laws that [Orbán] has enacted about homosexuals. We also ask you because I think you asked him not to let Christian Hungary die, but listening to your speeches during these days it would seem that sometimes it is these policies, these types of policies, that want to destroy Christian values.

Pope Francis: I was visited by the president [János Áder], because he came to me. He had this politeness, this kindness about him, so he came [to me]. This is the third time I have met him, and he came with the prime minister [Orbán] and the deputy minister. There were three of them. The president spoke. The first topic was ecology, which took up about three-quarters [of the conversation]. Chapeau to you Hungarians! The ecological consciousness you have is impressive. He explained how they purify the rivers, things I did not know about, and that was the main thing [we discussed]. Then I asked about the average age, because I am worried about the demographic winter. In Italy, if I’m not mistaken, the average age is 47 and I think Spain is even worse. There are so many empty villages, or villages with only about 10 elderly people, a serious concern. How do you solve this? And then, the president, always the president, explained to me the law that they have to help young couples to get married, to have children and it is interesting. It’s a law that is quite similar to the French one, but more developed. That’s why the French don’t have the same problem as the Spanish. And they explained this to me, both the prime minister and the deputy minister, and there they added some facts. Then what else did we talk about… On immigration nothing. We returned to ecology again. About the family. I asked about the family, and you can see that there are many young people, so many children. But also in Slovakia, I was amazed: So many children, so many young couples. This was promising. Now the challenge is to find jobs, so that they don’t leave [the country] later... Because if there are no jobs, they will leave and find one. Those were the things [we talked about]. The president always spoke and both ministers were adding some specific facts, but it was a good atmosphere and it lasted long enough. I think 45 or 50 minutes.

Gerard O’Connell, America Magazine: Holy Father, first I want to say that we are all happy that the surgery produced a splendid result and that you are rejuvenated. You are rejuvenated after…

Pope Francis: I was told by someone that they wanted to do an operation. I don’t know who it was that I heard [...] It was an aesthetic thing.

O’Connell: You yourself have said that we are all sinners and that the Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect, but a medicine and nourishment for the weak. As you know, in the U.S. after the last elections, but also since 2004, there has been a discussion among bishops about giving Communion to politicians who have supported pro-abortion laws and a woman’s right to choose.

And as you know, there are bishops who want to deny Communion to the president and others, there are other bishops who are against it, there are some bishops who say that the Eucharist should not be used as a weapon. What do you think about this reality and what do you recommend to the bishops? And then as a second question, have you as a bishop in all these years publicly refused the Eucharist to anyone?

Pope Francis: I have never refused the Eucharist to anyone. No one. I do not know if anyone came [to me] who was in this situation, but I never refused the Eucharist. To this day as a priest never. But never have I been conscious of having a person in front of me as you describe. That is true.

Simply, the only time I had a funny thing happen was when I went to celebrate Mass in a nursing home. And we were in the living room and I said: “Whoever wants Communion, raise your hand.” And everybody, they were elderly, raised their hands. And I gave Communion to one lady, and [afterward] she took my hand and she said, “Thank you, Father, thank you, I’m Jewish.” She took my hand. Even this one I told you about was a Jewish woman and yet, onward. The only strange thing. But the lady told me afterward.

Communion is not a prize for the perfect, think of [...], Jansenism, the perfect are able to take Communion. Communion is a gift, a gift, the presence of Jesus in his Church. It is in the community. This is the theology. Then, those who are not in the community cannot take Communion -- like this Jewish lady, but the Lord wanted to reward her and without my knowledge. Why [can they not take Communion]? Because they are out of the community, excommunicated, they are “excommunicated” it is called. It’s a harsh term, but what it means is they are not in the community, either because they do not belong, or they are baptized but have drifted away from some of the things.

Second, the problem of abortion. Abortion is more than an issue. Abortion is murder. Abortion, without hinting: whoever performs an abortion kills. You take any embryology textbook of those students that study in medical school. At the third week of conception, at the third, many times before the mother notices, all the organs are already there. All of them. Even the DNA. [...]

It’s a human life, period. This human life must be respected. This principle is so clear. And to those who can’t understand it I would ask two questions: Is it right, is it fair, to kill a human life to solve a problem? Scientifically it is a human life. Second question: Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? I said this publicly [...] when I did, I said it to COPE, I have wanted to repeat it. And period. Don’t continue with strange discussions: Scientifically it’s a human life. The textbooks teach us that. But is it right to take it out to solve a problem? This is why the Church is so strict on this issue because accepting this is kind of like accepting daily murder.

A head of state was telling me that the decline in population started with the age of abortion. Because in those years there was such a strong abortion law that six million abortions were performed and this left a very large decline in the society of that country.

Now let’s return to the person who is not in the community and is not able to take Communion because he is outside of the community. This is not a penalty: you are outside. Communion is to unite the community.

But the issue is not a theological problem, which is simple. The problem is a pastoral problem: how we bishops manage this principle pastorally. If we look at the history of the Church, we will see that every time the bishops have not managed a problem as pastors, they have taken sides about political life, about the political problem. For not managing a problem well they have taken sides on the political front.

Let’s think about the night of St. Bartholomew: Heretics, yes, heresy is very serious [...] everyone, it’s a political fact. Let’s think about Joan of Arc, with this mission. Let’s think about witch-hunts. Always we think of Campo de’ Fiori, Savonarola, all these kinds. When the Church, in order to defend a principle, does not do it pastorally, it takes sides politically. And this has always been the case. Just look at history.

What should the pastor do? Be a shepherd, do not go around condemning, not condemning, but be a pastor. But is he also a pastor of the excommunicated? Yes, he is the pastor and he has to shepherd them, and he must be a shepherd with God’s style. And God’s style is closeness, compassion, and tenderness. The whole Bible says that. Closeness. Already in Deuteronomy, He says to Israel: What people have gods as close as you have me? Closeness. Compassion: the Lord has compassion on us. We read Ezekiel, we read Hosea, right from the beginning. And tenderness -- just look at the Gospel and the works of Jesus.

A pastor who does not know how to manage with God’s style slips and he adds many things which are not pastoral. For me, I do not want to particularize [...] the United States because I do not know the details well, I give the principle.

You can tell me: but if you are close, and tender, and compassionate with a person, you have to give Communion -- but that’s a hypothetical. Be a pastor and the pastor knows what he has to do at all times, but as a shepherd. But if he stops this shepherding of the Church, immediately he becomes a politician. And you will see this in all the denunciations, in all the non-pastoral condemnations that the Church makes. With this principle, I believe a pastor can act well. The principles are from theology, the pastoral care is theology and the Holy Spirit, who leads you to do it with the style of God. I would venture to say up to this far.

Bruni: Thank you, Holy Father.

Pope Francis: If you say to me: but can you give or cannot give [Communion]? It is casuistry, as the theologians say. Do you remember the storm that was stirred by Amoris laetitia when that chapter on accompanying separated, divorced couples came out: “Heresy, heresy!” Thank God there was Cardinal Schönborn, a great theologian who clarified things.

But always condemnation, condemnation, enough with excommunication. Please let us not place any more excommunications. Poor people. They are children of God. They are outside temporarily, but they are children of God and they want, and need, our pastoral closeness. Then the pastors work things out by the Spirit of God.

Stefano Maria Paci, Sky TG24: Holy Father, I believe, knowing you, that this message will seem to you a kind of gift. Knowing that I am flying with you, Edith Bruck asked me to give it to you. The Jewish writer, deported to Auschwitz at the age of 13, winner of the Prema Strega Giovani this year, sent me [this letter] last night. A completely unusual fact: you went to her house in the center of Rome to meet her. It is a long message from her signed, “Your sister Edith,” in which she thanks you for your repeated appeals and gestures against anti-Semitism during this trip. The first words [of her message] are “Beloved Pope Francis, your words on anti-Semitism, which has never been eradicated, are more relevant today than ever. Not only in the countries you are visiting, but throughout Europe…”

Pope Francis: This is true. Anti-Semitism is in fashion now, it is resurrecting. It is a very bad thing.

Paci: The question is about the family: You spoke about it with the Hungarian authorities, you spoke about it yesterday in the meeting with young people, and yesterday arrived news of a resolution in the European Parliament which invites the member states to recognize same-sex marriages and related parenting relationships. Holy Father, what are your thoughts on this?

Pope Francis: I have spoken clearly about this: marriage is a sacrament, marriage is a sacrament. And the Church does not have the power to change the sacraments. They are thus, as the Lord has instituted [for] us. These are laws that try to help the situation of many people of different sexual orientations. And this is important, to help these people, but without imposing things that by their nature do not enter in the Church. But if they want to support a homosexual couple in life together, states have the possibility of civilly supporting them, of giving security through inheritance, health [insurance]. But the French have a law on this not only for homosexuals, but for all people who want to associate with each other [in a legally recognized relationship].

But marriage is marriage. This is not to condemn people who are like that, no, please, they are our brothers and sisters and we must accompany them. But marriage as a sacrament is clear, it is clear. That there are civil laws that provide if they want to associate, a law to have the health service, to have [...] among them, these things are done. The French PACS, this law [...] has nothing to do with homosexual couples -- homosexual people can use it, they cannot use it, but marriage as a sacrament is man and woman. Sometimes what I have said is confusing. All the same, respect everyone. The good Lord will save everyone -- do not say this aloud [laughs] -- but the Lord wants to save everyone. Please do not make the Church deny her truth. Many, many people of homosexual orientation approach the Sacrament of Penance, they approach to ask priests for advice, the Church helps them to move forward in their lives. But the sacrament of marriage is [...].

[Addressing journalists] Thank you all. I read a nice thing about one of you. I leave this as a little offering before I leave. It was said that this journalist is available 24 hours for work, and she always lets the others go first, her behind, and always gives the word to others and she keeps quiet. It is nice that someone says this about a journalist. And this guy, Manuel Beltrán [Ed. he means José Beltrán of Vida Nueva], said it about our Eva Fernández.