Pope Francis spoke off-the-cuff to a meeting of an Italian family association.
The Vatican didn’t immediately provide a transcript of his remarks, but the ANSA news agency and the SIR agency of the Italian bishops’ conference quoted him as denouncing the pre-natal tests that can result in parents choosing to terminate a pregnancy if the foetus is malformed or suffering other problems.
“Last century, the whole world was scandalised by what the Nazis did to purify the race,” the agencies quoted Francis as saying.
“Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves.”
The Pope urged families to accept children “as God gives them to us”.
Pope Francis has repeated the strict anti-abortion stance of his predecessors and integrated it into his broader condemnation of what he calls today’s “throw-away culture.”
He has frequently lamented how the sick, the poor, the elderly and the unborn are considered unworthy of protection and dignity by a society that prizes instead individual prowess.
He also decried how women are often considered part of this “throw-away culture”, sometimes forced to prostitute themselves.
“How many of you pray for these women who are thrown away, for these women who are used, for these girls who have to sell their own dignity to have a job?” Francis asked during his morning homily on Friday.
Pope Francis has dedicated much of his pontificate to preaching about families, marriage and the problems that families today encounter.
He is expected to highlight these issues during his August trip to Ireland where he’ll close out the Catholic Church’s big family rally.