Pope Fran­cis com­pares abor­tion to mafia-style killing

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Jane Onyanga-Omara

Pope Fran­cis com­pared abor­tion to hir­ing a “hit man to solve a prob­lem” and com­plained about a “de­pre­ci­a­tion of hu­man life” on Wed­nes­day. The pon­tiff de­parted from the pre­pared text of his homily at his weekly au­di­ence on Saint Peter’s Square to make the com­ments, some of his strong­est yet against abor­tion. “In­ter­rupt­ing a preg­nancy is like elim­i­nat­ing some­one,” Fran­cis said. “Is it fair to hire a hit man to solve a prob­lem? It is not fair. We can­not take out a hu­man be­ing, even if it is small.” His ad­dress was ded­i­cated to the com­mand­ment ex­hort­ing the faith­ful not to kill. He also de­nounced war, ex­ploita­tion and a cul­ture of waste­ful­ness. Fran­cis said some jus­tify abor­tion as re­spect­ing other rights, but he asked, “How can an act that sup­presses in­no­cent and de­fense­less life as it blos­soms be ther­a­peu­tic, civil or sim­ply hu­man?” It was the sec­ond time in re­cent months that Fran­cis has ex­pressed the church’s long­stand­ing op­po­si­tion to abor­tion in vi­o­lent, stark terms. In June, Fran­cis de­nounced how some cou­ples re­sort to pre­na­tal test­ing to see whether their un­born ba­bies have mal­for­ma­tions and then choose to have an abor­tion, which he said was the “white glove” equiv­a­lent of the Nazi-era eu­gen­ics pro­gram. Fran­cis has framed both abor­tion and eu­thana­sia as part of what he calls to­day’s “throw­away cul­ture,” where the sick, the poor, the el­derly and the un­born are con­sid­ered un­wor­thy of pro­tec­tion and dig­nity by a so­ci­ety that in­stead prizes in­di­vid­ual prow­ess and suc­cess. Of­fi­cial church teach­ing op­pos­ing abor­tion is ab­so­lute, pro­vid­ing for no ex­cep­tions. Fran­cis has ac­knowl­edged, how­ever, that women some­times are driven by cir­cum­stance to abor­tion, and he has ex­tended the abil­ity of or­di­nary priests – and not just bish­ops – to ab­solve them of the sin of abor­tion if they re­pent. Fran­cis’ com­ments came dur­ing a three-week meet­ing of bish­ops from around the world on young peo­ple, where sex­u­al­ity, in­clud­ing pre­mar­i­tal sex, is among the top­ics of dis­cus­sion. Catholic teach­ing on abor­tion has been in the head­lines lately, in­clud­ing dur­ing the di­vi­sive con­fir­ma­tion process of Supreme Court Jus­tice Brett Ka­vanaugh, a Catholic whose vote could over­turn le­gal­ized abor­tion in the U.S.

GRE­GO­RIO BOR­GIA/AP

Pope Fran­cis de­parts from the text of his homily on Wed­nes­day to speak out against abor­tion.

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