Let’s see the Pope Francis defenders defend his latest stunt.
In an interview on February 8, 2016, with one of Italy’s most prominent dailies, Corriere Della Serra, Pope Francis praised Italy’s leading proponent of abortion – Emma Bonino — as one of the nation’s “forgotten greats,” comparing her to great historical figures such as Konrad Adenauer and Robert Schuman.
Massimo Franco reports for Corriere Della Serra in “Francis: ‘I Embrace My Orthodox Brethren’,” Feb. 8, 2016, that Pope Francis exhorted Europe to welcome (“smile at”) the refugees and migrants:
“. . . he [Pope Francis] insists . . . that ‘Europe must and can change. It can and must reform itself. If it is unable to financially help the countries from which the refugees come, you must face the problem of how to address this great challenge that is primarily, but not solely, humanitarian….’ . . . Often, using a biblical metaphor, Francis compares the Old Continent [Europe] to Sarah, Abraham’s wife, who was sterile for more than 70 years. So according to the customs of those ancient times, Sarah gave a [female] slave to Abraham, who gave birth to a son. But then, miraculously, Sarah at age 90 became pregnant and gave birth to a son. Francis likes to say that “Europe is like Sarah, who first gets scared but then smiles secretly.” Francis’ hope is that Europe also ‘smiles secretly’ to migrants, and remembers the ‘great forgotten figures’ of Europe’s recent history. Francis is an admirer of the prominent figures of Europe’s renaissance after the Second World War. He quotes the German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, French foreign minister Robert Schuman, and the Italian statesman Alcide De Gasperi. But Francis also points to ‘great forgotten figures’ in our times, for example, the woman mayor of Lampedusa, Giusi Nicolini who has welcomed migrants to her island. Francis named ‘among the greats of today’s Italy’ former President of Italy Giorgio Napolitano, and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino . . . . Knowing that his praise of the radical leader [Bonino] may be controversial, Francis argues that ‘she is the person who knows Africa better than anyone and offered the best advice to Italy on learning about Africa.’ Admitting that ‘it is true she [Bonino] thinks very differently from us,’ Francis said, ‘But never mind. We have to look at people, at what they do.‘”
So what is it that Emma Bonino, the woman hailed by Pope Francis as “one of the greats of today’s Italy,” does?
According to Wikipedia, Emma Bonino, 67, is an Italian politician, who most recently served as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Previously she was a member of the European Parliament and a member of the Italian Senate. She served in the government of Italy as minister of international trade from 2006 to 2008. She is a leading member of the Italian Radicals, a political party that is economically libertarian and culturally left on moral issues.
What Wikipedia omits is filled in by John Henry-Westen of LifeSiteNews:
At 27, Bonino had an illegal abortion and then worked with the Information Centre on Sterilization and Abortion which boasted over 10,000 abortions. There are famous photos of Bonino performing illegal abortions using a homemade device operated by a bicycle pump. Arrested for the then-illegal activity she spent a few days in jail and was acquitted and entered politics.
When she was appointed Italy’s foreign minister in 2013 there was a general outcry from life and family leaders at the appalling situation.
As Henry-Westen reports, reacting to Pope Francis’ praise of Bonino, pro-life leaders in Italy expressed disbelief.
Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, who was until last year the head of the Rome office of Human Life International, said: “How can the pope praise a woman that is best known in Italy for practicing illegal abortion and promoting abortion?”
Luca Volonte, an Italian politician and the president of the pro-life Novae Terrae Foundation, while saying the Pope “was wrong,” blamed Francis’ secretariat for not informing him “about how much Mrs. Bonino has done in Italy and at the international level to promote abortion and euthanasia.”
But Henry-Westen points out that it is unlikely Pope Francis is ignorant of Bonino’s abortion activism for the following reasons:
- In the interview with Corriere Della Serra, Francis acknowledged that his praise of Bonino “may be controversial.”
- Bonino has been for decades the most prominent supporter of abortion in Italy.
- In 2015, Francis had already been criticized when he telephoned Bonino about her cancer and invited her to the Vatican.
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