By NICOLE WINFIELD
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis says Catholic bishops must minister to politicians who back abortion rights with “compassion and tenderness,” not condemnation. And he is warning that they shouldn’t let politics enter into questions about receiving Communion. Francis was asked en route home from Slovakia about the debate in the U.S. church about whether President Joe Biden and other politicians should be denied Communion because of their stances on abortion. Francis declined to give a “yes” or “no” answer, saying he didn’t know the U.S. case well enough. He repeated that abortion was “homicide,” and that Catholic priests cannot give the Eucharist to someone who is not in communion with the church. Most importantly, he said, was that priests and bishops must respond pastorally.