Pope attacks abortion, calls on governments to support the family

(Photo: REUTERS / Andrew Medichini)Pope Francis (L) makes his speech during an audience with the diplomatic corps at the Vatican January 13, 2014.

Broken families are on the rise and governments need to have the right policies to support and strengthen the human unit that is the glue of fraternity, Pope Francis has said.

The Pope made his remarks Monday in once a year speech to diplomats accredited to the Vatican known as his "State of the World" address in which he made a stinging criticism of abortion.

Giving his first year address to diplomats since assuming the papacy in March last year Francis referred to his January 1 message for the World Day of Peace.

In that he observed that "fraternity is generally first learned within the family... for the family by its vocation... is meant to spread its love to the world."

He quoted his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who said that "the language of the family is a language of peace."

The pontiff said, "Sadly, this is often not the case."

"The number of broken and troubled families is on the rise, not simply because of the weakening sense of belonging so typical of today's world."

Francis said this is "because of the adverse conditions in which many families are forced to live," often lacking even basic access to subsistence.

"There is a need for suitable policies aimed at supporting, assisting and strengthening the family," said Pope Francis.

He said that the denial of human dignity with a lack of access to basic nutrition is a threat to peace.


The wasting of food in many parts of the world due to a "throwaway culture" was reason for humanity not to be indifferent to this situation.

And he said it was not only food and other objects being thrown away, but "human beings themselves."

"For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day," said Francis.

He also condemned "children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity."

"It is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day," he said in a section of the speech about the rights of children around the world.

Reuters news agency reported that these were the strongest remarks to date on abortion from the Francis.

The report said that conservatives Catholics were alarmed when the Pope, in a September interview with the Italian Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica, said the Church must shake off an "obsession" with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality.

It cited the disappointment expressed by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, when he noted the Pope had not addressed "the evil of abortion" more directly.

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