Pope Francis says abortion is like hiring a contract killer

Pope Francis

Image Pope Francis' comments are some of his strongest yet against abortion

The remarks, delivered during his weekly audience in St Peter's Square, were unscripted and diverged from his prepared text.

In his address, the Argentine pontiff complained of a "depreciation of human life" as he cited wars, exploitation and "a culture of wastefulness" as problems, other than abortion.

"Is it just to resort to a contract killer to solve a problem?" he asked, and the crowd shouted: "no". It is not fair. "We can not despise what God so loved!"

Francis accepted McCarrick's resignation as cardinal in July, after a USA church investigation determined that an accusation he had sexually abused a minor was credible. "One can not do this, it is not right to do away with a human being, albeit small, to solve a problem".

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"Is it fair to hire a hitman to solve a problem?"

He added: "How can an act that suppresses an innocent and helpless life as it blossoms be therapeutic, civil or, simply, humane?" In November 2016, he began allowing priests to absolve those who have terminated their pregnancies and seek reconciliation, but reaffirmed the Church's doctrinal belief that abortion is a "grave sin". "The parents, in these dramatic cases, need true closeness, true solidarity, to face the reality and overcome their understandable fears". This vulnerable life can "pull me out of self-centeredness and make me grow in love".

This rich heritage of John Paul II, Pope Francis said, is for Christians, especially his compatriots, a challenge to be faithful to Christ and to respond with joyful dedication to God's call to holiness in the daily specific personal, family and social situation of everyday life.

"The only authentic measure of life" is love, he said; God loves every single human life.

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Pope Francis recalled that the value of life is not measured by money, power or success, but by love.

"In every sick child, in every weak old man, in every desperate migrant, in every fragile and threatened life, Christ is looking for us, he is looking for our heart, to disclose the joy of love".

"It is worthwhile to welcome every life because every man is worth the blood of Christ himself", he said. "We cannot despise what God so loved!" "Don't underestimate yourself, don't despise yourself with addictions that ruin you and lead you to death.".

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