Last week, Francis denounced the “sin of racism” and twice identified Floyd as the victim of a “tragic” killing. In a message read in Italian and English during his general audience, Francis expressed concerns about violence during the protests, saying it was self-destructive.
He also said, “We cannot close our eyes to any form of racism or exclusion, while pretending to defend the sacredness of every human life.”
It was a clear effort to call out some conservative Catholics for whom the abortion issue is paramount, while other “life” issues dear to Francis – racism, immigration, the death penalty and poverty – play second fiddle at the ballot box.
Francis has firmly upheld the church’s opposition to abortion. And polls show a plurality of American Catholics support significant restrictions on legal abortion.
But Francis has also lamented that the U.S. church is “obsessed” with abortion, contraception and gay marriage to the detriment of its other teachings. Trump is staking his outreach to Catholic voters largely on his anti-abortion platform.