Vatican ‘foreign minister’: ‘We are against the idea that abortion could be a human right’

20200818  Press Conference at Holy See Press for the presentation of the Document entitled  On the way to the care of the common home   Five years after the Laudato si Mons Paul Richard Gallagher Daniel Ibez 12 Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican secretary for relations with states. | Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

The Vatican’s “foreign minister” said on Wednesday that the Holy See rejects the assertion in a report adopted by the European Parliament that abortion is a “human right.”

Archbishop Paul Gallagher made the comment on July 7 during a visit to Portugal’s capital, Lisbon.

“Obviously it’s not difficult to imagine what the position of the Holy See is on this. We are against the idea that abortion could be a human right,” the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States told Rádio Renascença.

The European Parliament voted last month in favor of a report describing abortion as “essential healthcare” and seeking to redefine conscientious objection as a “denial of medical care.”

Members of the parliament, the EU’s law-making body, voted by 378 votes in favor and 255 against, with 42 abstentions, to adopt the text, known as the Matić Report, at a plenary session in Brussels, Belgium.

Asked about the threat to conscientious objection, Gallagher said: “And we’re very disappointed that conscience clauses, wherever they exist, in whatever circumstances, whatever law, are eliminated. And we know that it’s a growing tendency in many parts of the world. So we are disappointed by that decision as well.”

Gallagher met with Augusto Santos Silva, the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, during his visit to Portugal, which will host World Youth Day in 2023. Portuguese officials have said they believe that Pope Francis will attend the event that draws hundreds of thousands of young people from around the world.

The Church-owned radio station also asked the archbishop whether Pope Francis’ decision to make just a brief trip to Hungary, before visiting Slovakia on Sept. 12-15, was a snub to the government of Viktor Orbán.

“No, it’s not any judgment on a government or authorities in Hungary,” he replied. “The pope was very clear right from the beginning that he was going to Budapest exclusively to celebrate the concluding Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress.”

Gallagher also commented on the pope’s summit for Lebanese Christian leaders on July 1.

“I think that the strategy, if you like, is that the Christian religious leaders have gone back and that they are going to talk with their people. They are going to talk with the politicians and we will try to find a way forward to whatever contribution that we can make. And the Holy See is very willing,” said Gallagher, 67, from Liverpool, England.

“The Holy Father has made a commitment to visit Lebanon. He has also said that he will visit Lebanon when there is a government. So that’s a great stimulus to form a government. But there may be other visits as well. We’ll wait and see.”

In conclusion, he said: “We don’t really have what you’d call a ‘roadmap’ for what we’re doing. We’re trying to do small steps, move forward, see what the reaction is. But we are appealing at the same time to the international community to do everything in its power to help Lebanon at this critical time.”

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