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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, May 30, 2023

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org.

Several us here have been wondering what Pope Francis was trying to say when he responded to a question about abortion in his recent interview with Telemundo (Pope, in interview, describes unborn child as ‘a living being, I’m not saying a person’). One wag suggested that perhaps Pope Francis did not want to call a pre-born baby a “person” from the moment of conception because he or she is not yet capable of acting “synodally”. In any case, it’s a good thing to wonder about.

We cannot resolve this question definitively, of course. That would require mindreading. But we know two things about Pope Francis: First, he has frequently upheld the identity of the baby in the womb as a person. Second, he has frequently spoken confusedly during interviews, betraying an inability to respond clearly off-the-cuff—an inability that suggests his interviews should be rare or non-existent. None of this is news to us. …

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