Pope says abortion to avoid birth defects is like Nazi eugenics

Pope Francis Abortion is ‘white glove' equivalent to Nazi’s eugenics program

Pope Francis attends the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum

The pontiff will travel to Ireland in August for the World Meeting of Families, just months after a referendum removed a restriction on abortion in the constitution, paving the way for the government to legislate for terminations up to 12 weeks pregnancy. "Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves", the agencies quoted Francis as saying.

'The first proposal in such a case is, "do we get rid of it?"' Francis said.

Francis made the comparison in a long, off-the-cuff address to a members of a confederation of Italian family associations.

Although Pope Francis has built a reputation as one of the most tolerant heads of the Catholic Church in recent history, some of his latest comments against abortion reveal Francis is definitely keeping up with the status quo of his predecessors.

Green Party MLA Claire Bailey, who has campaigned to allow access to abortion for women in in Northern Ireland, said she was not surprised by the Pope's comments.

Families should accept children "as God gives them to us", the Pope said.

Francis has dedicated much of his pontificate to preaching about families, marriage and the problems that families today encounter. God loves you like this'.

New talks between China and the Holy See have "taken place quietly in Rome".

He also spoke about the importance of educating one's children, but noted that this is not easy for parents, especially in a virtual world, which "they know better than us".

The pope also declared that the only family in the eyes of God is a heterosexual partnership.

"Children are the greatest gift", he said, even when they are sick.

However, alluding to the growing trend to be "childless by choice", Francis noted that there are people who simply don't want children, and pointed to a couple who did not want to have kids, but who instead had three dogs and two cats. This, he said, is "the holiness that forgives because it loves".

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