Pope Francis used unusually strong language over the weekend in commenting on two relatively controversial topics: abortion and marriage.
The pope said the practice of aborting children because they have a physical or mental condition is comparable to how Nazi Germany would exterminate people who they claimed had defects. The pope’s comments come as the practice of utilizing prenatal testing to determine whether or not a child will be born with ailments has become more common. In Iceland for example, as the Washington Post reports, the practice is being used for “the deliberate, systematic attempt to erase” nearly all people with Down syndrome.
“Children should be welcomed the way they come, the way God sends them to us, the way God allows, even if sometimes they are ill,” the pope said, via the Wall Street Journal.
“I’ve heard that it’s fashionable—or at least habitual—to perform certain exams in the early months of pregnancy, to see if the baby is unwell or comes with a certain problem,” he continued. “And to have an easy life, one does away with an innocent.”
“I say this with pain. In the last century, the whole world was scandalized about what the Nazis did to purify the race,” the pope added, as CNN reports.
“Today we do the same, but now with white gloves.”
As CNN reminds, “The Nazi quest for a pure race by only allowing healthy children to be born was known as Nazi eugenics. It included abortion and the sterilization of people with a physical and mental illness.”
Here’s more on the pope’s comments, from USA Today:
A Vatican official confirmed the statements, which, according to the Italian newspaper La Stampa, were made when Francis departed from his prepared remarks in an address to the Forum of Family Associations on the 25-year anniversary of its founding.
The pope’s remarks were strong, but clearly in line with the stance of the Catholic Church, which has always been unwaveringly opposed to all forms of abortion or birth control. The Vatican has frequently criticized the use of abortion on unborn children determined to suffer from Down syndrome or birth defects.
Francis’ home country of Argentina voted Thursday for a proposal that legalizes abortion in that country. Last month, Ireland, one of the most Catholic countries in Europe, voted to overturn a national ban on abortion. A similar law is in the works in Catholic Northern Ireland, the only part of the United Kingdom where abortion is illegal.
Ireland was the latest battleground over the legalization of abortion. Last month, 66 percent of voters allowed their parliament to legalize it.
The leader of the Catholic church also addressed his view of marriage and clarified that only the wedding of one man and one woman constitute a “family.”
“Today—it hurts to say it—one speaks of ‘diversified’ families: different types of family …but the human family as the image of God, man and woman, is only one. Only one,” the pope said, as the WSJ reports.
In unusually blunt language, pope likens abortion to Nazi eugenics practiced ‘with white gloves,’ and says the only real families are based on marriage between a man and a woman. https://t.co/YI1KCRrnsg via @WSJ
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) June 17, 2018