Abortion

Pope Francis: Abortion Indicative of "Throw-Away Culture"

Issued anti-abortion message after comments on misplaced focus on "small-minded rules"

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Pope Francis offered an olive branch of sorts to the doctrine-minded, conservative wing of the Catholic Church on Friday as he denounced abortion as a symptom of today's "throw-away culture" and encouraged Catholic doctors to refuse to perform them.

Francis issued a strong anti-abortion message and cited Vatican teaching on the need to defend the unborn during an audience with Catholic gynecologists.

It came a day after he was quoted as blasting the church's obsession with "small-minded rules" that are driving the faithful away and urging it focus instead on being merciful and welcoming — an interview that has sent shock waves throughout the church.