Recently, Pope Francis remarked that the Catholic Church has become too focused on “small-minded rules” regarding hot-button issues like abortion. Like many Catholics around the world this message affirmed what I’ve always felt – my belief in social justice does not contradict my faith.
Pope Francis warned against the church becoming too “obsessed with the disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed” and asked us as Catholics to build our lives on faith and compassion.
I was raised Catholic in a social justice community where families like mine turned to the church to organize, to build community, to raise resources for our families. The church was our center, the one place we felt safe gathering as Hispanics, as undocumented people, and as people of faith who valued the role of the church in keeping our Hispanic family traditions alive.
I understand that every pregnancy is different. I believe that the deeply personal and complex decision to end a pregnancy needs to remain with women, and their families – guided by their own faith.
Pope Francis’ remarks have given me hope that the church important to my upbringing can be a place where people of faith can both value the teachings of our traditions and respect women in making their own decisions about abortion.
Too often my faith is questioned because I trust women to make decisions that are best for themselves, whether that is to become pregnant or end a pregnancy. I honor my Catholic traditions, and I also honor and support the ways in which my communities gather for the issues that matter to them.
Pope Francis has given me hope that the faith we hold dear can be held alongside our commitments to social justice.
I am proud that our pope has invited Catholics to practice openness of heart and compassion, so that more people will feel the church’s embrace for their values and lives. I hold close the message Pope Francis gave us, “God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation.”