Pope Francis said something important earlier today:
Inserting himself into the Republican presidential race, Pope Francis on Wednesday suggested that Donald J. Trump “is not Christian” because of the harshness of his campaign promises to deport more immigrants and force Mexico to pay for a wall along the border.
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” Francis said when a reporter asked him about Mr. Trump on the papal airliner as he returned to Rome after his six-day visit to Mexico.
Wait…that’s not important, it’s silly. No, I was talking about this:
Pope Francis has suggested that women threatened with the Zika virus could use artificial contraception, saying there’s a clear moral difference between aborting a fetus and preventing a pregnancy.
Francis, however, drew a parallel to the decision taken by Pope Paul VI in the 1960s to approve giving nuns in Belgian Congo artificial contraception to prevent pregnancies because they were being systematically raped.
Abortion “is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil at its root, no? It’s a human evil,” he said. “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one (Zika), such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.”
It so happens that I’m what you might call a lapsed Catholic, although it’s been a pretty serious lapse by any definition of that word. Pope Francis irks me far less than his predecessor, but the organization he runs is still a regressive institution that covered up a systemic child sexual abuse problem for decades and has actual blood on its hands. So I may have a slightly higher standard than most people for admitting that the Pope has done a Good Thing, but he’s doing a Good Thing here. It’s not unprecedented–aside from Paul VI in the Congo, John Paul II also eased official Church restrictions on birth control in the 1990s in Bosnia, in response the systematic rape of the Bosnian War–and no, Vox, it’s probably not going to lead to a Church-wide reconsideration of the birth control ban. But it is a big step for a pope to take, and it’s urgently needed in this case.
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