The following comes from a February 29 Christian Today article by Shianee Mamanglu-Regala:

Pope Francis shocked church traditionalists and pro-life advocates after he recently praised a leading abortion rights advocate and even dubbed her as one of Italy’s “forgotten greats.”

The pontiff made the statement during an interview February 8 with Corriere Della Serra, where he compared former Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino to great historical figures such as Konrad Adenauer and Robert Schuman.

Bonino has been known for decades as Italy’s most outspoken abortion rights activist.

At 27, she had an illegal abortion and then worked with the Information Centre on Sterilisation and Abortion which boasted over 10,000 abortions. There are famous photos of Bonino performing illegal abortions using a homemade device operated by a bicycle pump. Arrested for the then-illegal activity, she spent a few days in jail, was acquitted and then entered politics, according to reports.

In 2013 when was she was appointed Italy’s foreign minister, there was reportedly a general outcry from life and family leaders at the ”appalling situation.”

Pope Francis acknowledged that his statements were “controversial” but dismissed them, saying, “True, but never mind. We have to look at people, at what they do.”