In an audience with Catholic gynecologists on September 20, Pope Francis denounced abortions as a symptom of today's "throw-away culture" and encouraged Catholic doctors to refuse to perform them, the Catholic News website reports today (September 22, 2013).
Francis issued the strong anti-abortion message and cited Vatican teaching on the need to defend the unborn a day after he was quoted as blasting the Catholic Church's "obsession" with "small-minded rules" that are driving many faithful away.
In the interview that has sent shockwaves through the church, Francis urged its pastors to focus on being merciful and welcoming, rather than concentrating only on such divisive, hot-button issues as abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.
In his audience with the gynecologists, Francis denounced today's "throw-away culture" that justifies disposing of lives, and said doctors in particular had been forced into situations where they are called to "not respect life." He also said, "Every child that isn't born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord."