Pope Francis is calling for an end to the Catholic Church’s “pervasive, oppressive and even lethal practice of contraception” in an effort to end what he sees as a “persecution” against Catholics.
Speaking at a Vatican conference on women’s rights on Thursday, the pontiff said the “danger of the contraception” was “very real and very serious” and the church “should not continue to tolerate” its practice of aborting pregnancies when it could save a woman’s life.
“For too long the church has perpetuated the practice of preventing women from using contraception, especially when it can save their life,” Francis said, addressing a group of women who were dressed in white.
“The Catholic Church cannot be silent.
I want the world to know that this is a serious and dangerous practice, which should be stopped immediately,” Francis continued.”
I call on the leaders of the Catholic church to come to an agreement to stop the practice, and the Vatican is open to such an agreement.”‘
Not just a tool’Pope Francis has been accused of racism and sexism in the past for using the phrase “gina” to refer to a woman, but he has defended it by saying that the word is “not just a word, it is a tool of liberation”.
“I do not use it as a curse, but as a tool to make our lives easier,” he said in 2014.
“If you are a woman and you want to be an activist, you should use the tool that’s in front of you.”
Francis, whose papacy has been dogged by scandal since his election in 2014, also has been outspoken in his support for gay marriage.
“As Pope, I take this issue very seriously and I am convinced that the Church has an obligation to protect the human person, the dignity of the person and respect for human dignity,” Francis told the conference.
“That’s what I believe in.
It’s not just a Catholic issue, it’s an issue of humanity,” he added.”
This is a human issue.
I’m sorry that I cannot be with you.”
The Vatican’s latest contraception initiative is one of several initiatives aimed at making it easier for women to access abortion.
Francis called for a change in the way Catholics “look at the issue of contraception and of abortion” and pledged to “fight with all my might for the rights of all people”.
“The Church cannot allow itself to be silent,” Francis added.
“It is not just an instrument of the state, it becomes a tool for liberation.”
The Pope has faced criticism for some of his remarks in recent months, including his comments in February that the Catholic priesthood should “stop having babies” and for saying that homosexuality was “a disease that has to be cured”.
“Today, a new era is beginning in which the Church can live as a new people in peace and joy, in the midst of a great challenge, with a firm sense of responsibility for those who have suffered,” Francis also said.