Maybe It’s the Cabin Pressure

Tom Flynn

Have you noticed? Riding on airplanes makes Pope Francis say the darnedest things.

On a July 2013 flight to Rome from Rio de Janeiro, Francis joined reporters for an impromptu eighty-minute Q&A. Responding to a question about gay priests, he said: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?" World media went wild, hailing what they portrayed as a softening of church doctrine by Recent History’s Most Lovable Pope.

Fast-forward to February 17, 2016. Aboard a flight to Rome from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the pontiff suggested that for Latin American women urged to delay pregnancy for fear of birth defects linked to the Zika virus, abortion is not an option—“it’s an absolute evil"—but the use of contraception might be considered a “lesser evil." Again the media went wild.

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