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Pope Likens Abortion to Nazi Eugenics

The Wall Street Journal. logo The Wall Street Journal. 6/16/2018 Francis X. Rocca

Pope Francis likened abortion to Nazi eugenics practiced “with white gloves,” and said the only real families are those based on marriage between a man and a woman, using uncharacteristically blunt language on two controversial moral issues.

Addressing an Italian family association on Saturday, the pope equated the contemporary termination of pregnancies in response to fetal maladies or defects discovered through prenatal testing to the policies of Hitler’s Germany.

“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. 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,” the pope said. “And to have an easy life, one does away with an innocent,” he added.

The pope also rejected the concept of nontraditional families not based on heterosexual marriage.

“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.

The world was scandalized by what “the Nazis did to ensure the purity of the race,” he said. “Today we do the same thing, but with white gloves.”

a group of people standing in front of a crowd © EPA/Shutterstock

Pope Francis’ remarks were consistent with traditional Catholic teaching yet unusually strong for a pope who has generally played down medical and sexual ethics and taken a strikingly conciliatory approach to gay people.

A few months after his election in 2013, the pope suggested that Catholics had become “obsessed” with abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage, telling an interviewer that “it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

The pope was criticized by conservatives for his silence on last month’s Irish referendum in which 66% of voters chose to allow parliament to legalize abortion, underscoring the decline of the Catholic church as a political force in that nation.

Write to Francis X. Rocca at francis.rocca@wsj.com

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