Chilean bishop responds to media distortion of Pope’s words on abortion


The president of the National Committee on Bioethics for the Chilean bishops, Bishop Fernando Chomali, reiterated that the Church’s teaching in defense of human life from conception to natural death is “unchangeable.” His comments came in response to media reports claiming that there is room for change and that “certain exceptions” for aborting can be justifiable.

Amidst a new debate in Chile on the legalization of abortion, and after the media distorted statements on abortion recently made by Pope Benedict XVI in Angola, Bishop Chomali felt it necessary to reiterate the Church’s teaching on abortion.

“Abortion is the deliberate and direct elimination, no matter how it is done, of a human being in the initial phase of his existence, which lasts from conception to birth,” the bishop said according to the Chilean daily El Mercurio.

After reiterating the teachings of Pope John Paul II in the encyclical Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life), Bishop Chomali said the Church is aware that there are some situations that are difficult and complex, such as when the mother’s life or health is in danger, or how another child could economically impact a family, or when a child is found to be developing a serious deformity, or when a child is result of a sexual assault. 

Nevertheless, he said, the Church holds that “none of these reasons can ever justify the right to take the life of another, not even in its beginnings.”

“Every human being has the right to have his life respected, and it is not recognition by others that makes it so; it is something anterior and demands, therefore, that it always be recognized.”

Bishop Chomali also pointed out that “you cannot achieve a good by doing evil. When a doctor meets with a pregnant woman, he should be fully conscious that he has two patients before him, and he should do everything possible to save both lives when he is faced with a pathology that could end in the death of one of them or both.”

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