ROME — Pope Francis used some of his strongest language to date to condemn abortion Wednesday, comparing it in a series of improvised remarks to hired murder.
Several times during his General Audience in Saint Peter’s Square, the pope added his own off-the-cuff reflections to his prepared text, likening abortion to “bumping someone off” when they get in our way.
Often the killing of human life in the womb is defended “in the name of safeguarding other rights,” the pope told crowds gathered in the square. “But how can an act that suppresses innocent and helpless life in its beginnings be therapeutic, civil, or even human?”
“I ask you,” the pope continued, “is it right to ‘bump off’ a human life to solve a problem? Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? You cannot, it is not right to ‘bump off’ a human being, no matter how small, to solve a problem.”
“It is like hiring a hitman to solve a problem,” he repeated.
The reception of the other is “a challenge to Individualism,” Francis said. “We can think, for example, of when we find out that a nascent life bears some disability, perhaps a serious one. The parents, in these dramatic cases, need true closeness, true solidarity, to face the reality and overcome their understandable fears.”
“Instead they often receive hasty advice to terminate the pregnancy,” he added.
“Interrupting the pregnancy,” the pope ad-libbed again, “is another way of saying, to bump someone off.”
“A sick child is like every other needy person of the earth, like an elder who needs assistance, like so many poor people who are struggling to get by: he or she who seems to be a problem is actually a gift from God who can pull me out of self-centeredness to help me grow in love,” he said. “Vulnerable life shows us the way out, the way to save us from an existence folded on itself and discover the joy of love.”
The pope was speaking about abortion during an extended reflection on the Fifth Commandment: Thou shalt not kill.
This was not the first time the pope used colorful language to denounce abortion.
In a meeting with sick children and their parents in June 2015, Francis compared the abortion mentality to the code of the Mafia, who “take out” a person when he gets in their way.
“No problem is solved by taking out a person. Never, ever. That is the code of the Mafia: ‘There’s a problem, let’s take this guy out.’ Never,” Francis said.
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