The decision to have the notorious abortionist Emma Bonino speak about immigration in an Italian church last week drew widespread condemnation.

But it also led some to argue, including the local Caritas representative who sponsored her talk, that Bonino’s atrocious abortion record, of which she has never repented, could be set aside to focus on this other aspect of Catholic Social Teaching. 

Yet effectively sidelining the gravity of abortion in favor of bringing a radical secularist to form a common front on immigration perhaps signifies how much the West, and some in the Church, have become numb to abortion and the gravity of the sin.

St. Padre Pio, for example, believed abortion was not just the murder of an innocent human being, but also a true suicide.

In a now famous story, Father Pellegrino Funicelli, who assisted Padre Pio for many years, once confronted the saint on the sin, asking him:

“Today you denied absolution to a woman because she had voluntarily undergone an abortion. Why have you been so rigorous with this poor unfortunate?” (Padre Pio would sometimes refuse to give absolution to a penitent if they showed insufficient contrition; often they would return and he’d give absolution if they were sincere).

Padre Pio responded: “The day that people lose their horror for abortion will be the most terrible day for humanity. Abortion is not only a homicide but also a suicide. Shouldn’t we have the courage to manifest our faith before those who commit two crimes within one act?

“Suicide?,” asked Father Pellegrino.

“The suicide of the human race will be understood by those who will see the earth populated by the elderly and depopulated of children: burnt as a desert,” Padre Pio replied.

Bonino, who boasts of performing more than 10,000 abortions in 1975, vacuuming the unborn child from the womb with a bicycle pump and putting the mangled remains into a glass jar, ironically noted in her talk the population decline in Italy.

For her, migrants are an answer to fill that gap, even though, as one listener protested (and was thrown out as a result), she is at least partly responsible for that lacuna through her abortion crimes.

The warning of Padre Pio, who remains so beloved in Italy, was therefore prophetic. And it is as if Bonino’s enthusiasm to welcome immigrants is aimed at covering up the mass suicide of a country’s population precipitated by the legalization of abortion in Italy that she fought so hard for.

Over six million have died since abortion was legalized in Italy in 1978, and like many countries in the West, Italy is also criticized by the pro-life movement and Catholics as a whole for contracepting itself out of existence.