- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pope Francis said Tuesday in his first apostolic exhortation that no matter how progressive-minded the world turns, the Catholic Church can never compromise on its “no abortion” rule — it’s a matter of human dignity.

“I want to be completely honest in this regard,” he said, Catholic News Service reported. “This is not something subject to alleged reforms or ‘modernizations.’ It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.”

The statement comes in sharp contrast to some in the political world, of mostly liberal and left-of-center progressive mind, who claim loyalty to the Catholic faith, yet refuse to denounce abortion as a matter of policy. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, one of the most visible examples of such politicos, has advocated for years for the rights of women to abort — to the point of even raising the hackles of one Catholic cardinal in September, who said the Democrat should quit taking Communion.

Then, in an interview with The Wanderer reported by the Western Center for Journalism, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke said of Mrs. Pelosi: “This is a person who obstinately, after repeated admonitions, persists in a grave sin — cooperating with the crime of procured abortion — and still professes to be a devout Catholic.”

The pope’s exhortation seemed only to drive home the point that abortion and the church stand at crossroads.

“Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the church cannot be expected to change her position on this question,” Pope Francis said, on abortion, the Catholic News Service reported.

SEE ALSO: ‘Pope Francis Effect’ has negligible impact for U.S. Catholics: poll

This isn’t the first time the pope has run counter to progressive policies. Just a week ago, on Vatican Radio, he spoke against “adolescent progressivism,” and said believers should keep fast to faith and avoid the pull of the world.

“Today also brings us this desire to be progressive, following a single thought,” he said, days ago on radio.

But when it comes to abortion — progressive thoughts are the enemy, he made clear, in his exhortation.

He wrote: “This defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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