Pope, after conservatives' criticism, calls abortion "horrific"

Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:42am EST
 
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis, whom conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church have accused of not speaking out forcefully enough against abortion, on Monday called the practice "horrific".

The pope made his toughest remarks to date on abortion in his yearly address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, a speech known as his "State of the World" address.

"It is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day," he said in a section of the speech about the rights of children around the world.

Abortion, he said, was part of a "throwaway culture" that had enveloped many parts of the world.

"Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as unnecessary," he said.

Since his election in March, the pope, while showing no signs of changing the Church's position against abortion, has not spoken out against it as sternly or as repeatedly as his predecessors, Pope Benedict XVI and the late John Paul II.

Both of those popes often delivered sermons against abortion, which the Church considers murder.

Conservatives in the Church were alarmed when Francis, in a landmark interview in September with the Italian Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica, said the Church must shake off an "obsession" with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality.   Continued...

 
Pope Francis (C) poses during an audience with the diplomatic corps at the Vatican January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano