Pope Francis: Abortion attack will please church conservatives

Pope gives speech

Pontiff calls terminations 'horrific' and links them to modern society's throwaway culture

LAST UPDATED AT 10:21 ON Tue 14 Jan 2014

POPE FRANCIS has linked the "horrific" practice of abortion to society's "throwaway culture" in a speech that the Daily Telegraph says is his strongest comment on the issue to date.

The paper points out that the Catholic Church's first South American pope has "focused more on social issues such as poverty than on abortion" since his appointment in March. But in his annual address to 180 Vatican diplomats yesterday, Pope Francis condemned the early termination of pregnancy.

"It is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day," he said. Linking the practice to modern society's disposable culture, he added: "Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as unnecessary."

The Telegraph says the Pope's words are significant because Vatican conservatives have criticised him for not speaking out against abortion in "forceful terms". Last year, the pontiff said the Church should not be "obsessed" with issues such as abortion, homosexuality and contraception.

The Independent points out that Bishop Thomas J Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, voiced the concerns of many US-based Catholics last year when he said he was disappointed that the Pope had not addressed "the evil of abortion" more directly.

The BBC agrees that church conservatives will "welcome" the pontiff's remarks.

In his speech, Pope Francis also deplored the use of children as "soldiers" which saw them "abused and killed in armed conflicts". He condemned human trafficking, describing it as a "crime against humanity".

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