Pope Francis, criticized by some conservative Catholics as not speaking out forcefully against abortion, said Monday that the practice is "horrific" and evidence of "the throwaway culture."
In an annual speech known as the pontiff's "State of the World" address, Francis told diplomats and journalists gathered at the Holy See that it "is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day."
Hunger, he said, was a threat to world peace, noting that food, like human life, was being discarded as unnecessary.
"We cannot be indifferent to those suffering from hunger, especially children, when we think of how much food is wasted every day in many parts of the world immersed in what I have often termed 'the throwaway culture,' " Francis said.
Some conservative Catholics were alarmed when Francis said in September that the church must end its "obsession" with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality or risk falling "like a house of cards."
As Reuters notes:
"Since his election in March, the pope, while showing no signs of changing the Church's position against abortion, has not spoken out against it as sternly or as repeatedly as his predecessors Pope Benedict XVI and the late John Paul II."
"Both of those popes often delivered sermons against abortion, which the Church considers murder."