Pope Francis Condemns Abortion as Evidence of ‘Throwaway Culture’

Pope Francis kisses a baby during his visit at Zimpeto Hospital, in Maputo, Mozambique, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Francis wrapped up his visit to Mozambique on Friday by consoling HIV-infected mothers and children at a Catholic Church-run hospital in one of the countries hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic, saying …
AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

ROME — Pope Francis once again condemned abortion Monday, insisting that true peace can only be achieved when the unborn are protected.

“Peace requires before all else the defense of life, a good that today is jeopardized not only by conflicts, hunger and disease, but all too often even in the mother’s womb, through the promotion of an alleged ‘right to abortion,’” the pontiff said during his annual address to diplomats accredited to the Holy See.

“No one, however, can claim rights over the life of another human being, especially one who is powerless and thus completely defenseless,” he continued, in reference to the unborn.

“For this reason, I appeal to the consciences of men and women of good will, particularly those having political responsibilities, to strive to safeguard the rights of those who are weakest and to combat the throwaway culture that also, tragically, affects the sick, the disabled and the elderly,” the pope said.

“States have a primary responsibility to ensure that citizens are assisted in every phase of human life, until natural death, and to do so in a way that makes each feel accompanied and cared for, even in the most delicate moments of his or her life,” he asserted.

Speaking of the defense of all life, the pope also renewed his appeal for an abolition of the death penalty, specifically denouncing its abuse in Iran.

The right to life is threatened “in those places where the death penalty continues to be imposed, as is the case in these days in Iran, following the recent demonstrations demanding greater respect for the dignity of women,” he declared.

“The death penalty cannot be employed for a purported State justice, since it does not constitute a deterrent nor render justice to victims, but only fuels the thirst for vengeance,” he contended.

“I appeal, then, for an end to the death penalty, which is always inadmissible since it attacks the inviolability and the dignity of the person, in the legislation of all the countries of the world,” he said, adding that “up until his or her very last moment, a person can repent and change.”

Defending life also means overcoming an emergence of a “fear” of life, Francis said, “which translates in many places into a fear of the future and a difficulty in creating families and bringing children into the world.”

“In some contexts, I think for example of Italy, there is a dangerous fall in the birthrate, a veritable demographic winter, which endangers the very future of society,” he said. “I wish once more to encourage the beloved Italian people to confront with tenacity and hope the challenges of the present time by drawing strength from their religious and cultural roots.”


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