Pope says abortion is like hiring ‘contract killer’

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

His comments departed from the pre-written text for his homily for the weekly audience on Saint Peter's Square.

Still bothering on conscience and regard for existence, he disagrees with ending a "human life in the womb in the name of safeguarding other rights".

"I ask you: "Is it right to 'take out" a human life to solve a problem?" It is not fair.

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.

"Interrupting a pregnancy is like eliminating someone", Francis said.

"Is this right? Is "hiring" a killer the right thing to do to solve a problem?"

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'How can an act that suppresses innocent life be therapeutic, civil or even human?' he asked.

"No!" the crowd shouted in response. He denounced abortion at the time, and likened it to the "white glove" equivalent to Nazi-era eugenics practices. He recalled that we must watch over the lives of all and spoke about abortion.

Shortly after becoming pontiff in 2013, Francis appeared to be cultivating a softer stance towards issues such as abortion and homosexuality, saying that the Catholic church must move on from such arguments and "heal wounds" while focussing instead on "compassion and mercy".

In August, he intervened in his home country of Argentina to advocate against a bill, which would legalize abortion in first 14 weeks of pregnancy. That said, Francis has acknowledged that women sometimes are driven by circumstance to abortion and he has extended the ability of ordinary priests - and not just bishops - to absolve them of the sin of abortion if they repent.

His comments came during a three-week meeting of bishops from around the world on young people, where sexuality, including premarital sex, is among the topics of discussion.

Pope Francis thinks no reason can justify the elimination of an existing life because of cultural reasons.

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