Dozens of youth in Colombia reacted against Jesuit priest Father Carlos Novoa's support for abortion and called on Colombian bishops and the Society of Jesus to make a statement on the controversy.
“It is very disappointing and frustrating to see people who have received formation as Jesuits not defending the message of Christ and the principles for which St. Ignatius of Loyola fought his entire life,” said student protestor Liz Rodriguez.
On Nov. 12, young people gathered outside the Pontifical Xavierian University in Bogota where Fr. Novoa teaches to protest against his repeated statements in favor of abortion.
In several recent radio and television interviews, Fr. Novoa defended the practice through his own interpretation of passages from John Paul II’s encyclical "Evangelium Vitae," documents from Vatican II and canon law.
Maria Isabel Magana, a student taking part in the protest, said that “the statements by Fr. Novoa have been very damaging to the Church because they contradict the messages that have been part of the magisterium and tradition of the Church throughout history which Pope Benedict XVI has also defended.”
“When a priest goes contradicts this message in the media, he is confusing the faithful. This attitude must be counteracted with courage and rigor,” she added.
Another protestor, Ramon Cortes, said Fr. Novoa’s statements are ultimately damaging to the pro-life movement at large.
“They put us at a disadvantage with pro-abortion groups,” he said. “Not only do we have to fight against these groups, but also unfortunately against some members of our own Church.”
“We call on the Jesuits to state their true position regarding the defense of life, and I think it should be the same thing that St. Francis Xavier or St. Ignatius of Loyola would say if they were alive right now,” Cortes said.
Student Liz Rodriguez added that life “is not negotiable. As the laity, as believers, we have to always defend it.”
“For reasons unknown to us, Fr. Novoa is saying things that are totally opposed to the principles we defend as Catholics, as believers and as citizens in defense of natural law,” she said.
The protestors signed a petition calling on the rector of the university, Father Joaquin Sanchez Garcia, the bishops of Colombia, the nunciature and Fr. Novoa himself to clarify the position of the Church on the defense of life from conception to natural death.