German Catholics reject Vatican’s abortion stance

A majority of German Catholics don’t approve of Pope Francis and the Vatican criticizing abortion, according to a survey commissioned by a Catholic weekly.

Pope Francis has modernized the Catholic Church, but remains a staunch opponent of abortion

By Darko Janjevic

A new survey reveals a large gap between German Catholics and church leaders when it comes to abortion.

The survey, conducted by INSA Consulere pollster on behalf of German Catholic weekly Die Tagespost, asked the responders for their stance on the following sentence: “It is good that the pope and the Church speak out against abortion.”

Only 17% of surveyed Catholics said they agreed with it, compared to 58% who oppose it.

The same survey also showed that only 13% of Protestants were in favor of the anti-abortion statements. Over two-thirds of Protestants disagreed with anti-abortion comments made by Pope Francis and Catholic leaders.

The pollsters questioned a total of 2,099 people in late July and early August.

Church changes, but only to a point

Pope Francis has moved the Catholic Church in a more liberal direction since taking over as pontiff in 2013. He has taken a tough stance on priests involved in child abuse and chastised Western governments for not welcoming migrants, called for more help for the poor and more efforts to preserve the environment. Publicly, he has worked to reduce prejudice against LGBTQ people, reassuring them that God “does not disown any of his children” and endorsing same-sex civil unions.

However, the 85-year-old has also disappointed some of his more liberal supporters by rejecting the blessing of gay marriages. He has also refused to shift from the Church’s traditional stance on celibacy for priests, and most notably, abortion, which the Vatican sees as an act of murder.

Pope’s stance on abortion: ‘Is it right to hire a hit man?’

In an interview with the Reuters news agency last month, Pope Francis restated his controversial view that having an abortion is akin to  hiring a hit man. 

“The moral question is whether it is right to take a human life to solve a problem. Indeed, is it right to hire a hit man to solve a problem?” the pope said.

The abortion issue is not the only one where the Vatican faces pushback from Germany. Less than three weeks ago, the Catholic Church spoke out against the progressive German Catholic movement known as the “Synodal Path,” warning them they do not have authority to instruct church leaders on matters of morality and doctrine.

The movement has previously called for allowing priests to marry, women to become deacons, and for same-sex couples to receive the Church’s blessing.

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