Pope Francis Prays for End to Abortion on Feast of ‘Holy Innocents’

TOPSHOT - Pope Francis kisses a baby as he arrives for his weekly general audience at the Saint Peter square on September 21, 2016 at the Vatican. / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

On the day when Christians commemorate the massacre of the ‘holy innocents’ by King Herod, Pope Francis prayed for “all the children who are not allowed to be born,” in reference to the millions of victims of abortion.

In his daily posting on Twitter, the Pope also offered prayers for all the children “who cry with hunger,” or “who hold weapons in their hands instead of toys”:

This is not the first time Pope Francis has likened the systematic slaughter of unborn children through abortion with the massacre wrought by King Herod some 2,000 years ago, in an effort to eliminate the infant Jesus whom he saw as a competitor for his throne.

In his Christmas message of 2014, Francis drew similarly inspiration from the baby Jesus being hunted down by King Herod to speak of abused and massacred children, starting with those killed by abortion.

“Baby Jesus,” Francis began, “My thoughts go to all children who are killed and abused today.” First among these, the Pope spoke of those destroyed “before they ever see the light of day, deprived of the generous love of their parents and buried in the selfishness of a culture that does not love life.”

Saint Matthew’s Gospel recounts that when the three wise men returned to their homes after visiting the baby Jesus, they decided not to tell King Herod where the child was. At that, Herod became furious, and gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under.

On Italy’s annual Day for Life last February, the Pope pledged his support for the pro-life movement, and called on Christians to pray for unborn children in danger of being aborted.

After his weekly Angelus message, Francis said that he supported “bold educational action in favor of human life. Every life is sacred!”

“Let us promote the culture of life in response to the logic of disposability and a declining population,” he said.

“Let us join together and pray for babies who are in danger of being aborted, as well as for people who are at the end of life. All life is sacred!” he said. “Let no one be left alone and may love defend the meaning of life.”

Throughout his pontificate, Francis has repeatedly spoken out against abortion, comparing the abortion industry to the Mafia and calling abortion itself a “horrendous crime.”

In his prayers for the unborn Thursday, Francis was joined by numerous Christian leaders around the world.

In the United Kingdom, for instance, Bishop Philip Egan similarly took occasion from the feast to tweet out prayers for all those involved in abortions, as well as calling for acts of atonement for the crime of killing some 8.5 million babies.

The redoubtable African pro-life crusader Obianuju Ekeocha drew a similar comparison to the Feast of the Holy Innocents, and specifically called for prayers for women who have had abortions.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter

.