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Pope Francis in Mexico on February 17, 2016. (PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis in Mexico on February 17, 2016. (PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)


Pope seems to say birth control is temporarily OK because of Zika

By WITW Staff on February 18, 2016

Aboard the papal airplane on Thursday, as he made his way home from praying at the U.S.-Mexico border, Pope Francis was asked by reporters whether abortion or birth control could be considered a “lesser evil” as methods for women trying to avoid the fallout the Zika virus has on babies — suspected of causing microcephaly in newborns. The World Health Organization recently declared a global health emergency over the Zika virus. The pontiff was rigid in his response on abortion. “Abortion isn’t a lesser evil, it’s a crime,” he said. “Taking one life to save another, that’s what the Mafia does.” He went on to characterize abortion as an “absolute evil,” but tempered that stance with a more nuanced reply about birth control. “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil,” Francis said. “In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear,” he added, referring to a decision made by Pope Paul VI in the 1960s to allow nuns in Belgian Congo to be given artificial contraception to prevent pregnancies. Catholic nuns in that region were being regularly raped during that time period.

This is not the first time the pontiff has softened his position on Catholic doctrine. Last year, prior to his U.S. visit, Pope Francis extended an olive branch on abortion, saying women who’ve had abortions but whose hearts are “contrite” should be forgiven.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.