Retired Pope Benedict XVI described abortion as one of the biggest threats to the world in a newly published interview Monday.
The Catholic News Agency reports the interview with Benedict, who stepped down as pope in 2013, was included in a new biography by German author Peter Seewald.
The former pope said modern society is advancing an “anti-Christian creed,” punishable by “social excommunication.” At the root of it, Benedict said, is “seemingly humanistic ideologies,” according to the report.
“But the real threat to the Church and thus to the ministry of St. Peter … [is] in the worldwide dictatorship of seemingly humanistic ideologies, and to contradict them constitutes exclusion from the basic social consensus,” he said.
“A hundred years ago, everyone would have thought it absurd to speak of homosexual marriage. Today whoever opposes it is socially excommunicated. The same applies to abortion and the production of human beings in the laboratory,” Benedict continued.
“Modern society is in the process of formulating an ‘anti-Christian creed,’ and resisting it is punishable by social excommunication. The fear of this spiritual power of the Antichrist is therefore only too natural, and it truly takes the prayers of a whole diocese and the universal Church to resist it,” he added.
According to the Catholic News Service, Benedict made the statements in a fall 2018 interview, but this is the first time they have been published.
The biography currently only is available in German, but it is scheduled to be published in the United States in November.
The Catholic Church and its leaders are strong advocates for life across the world. The church teaches that every human life is created in the image of God, and abortion is a grave moral evil that destroys an innocent human being.
The current pope, Pope Francis, also has spoken out strongly against abortion. In March, he encouraged society to value every human life during one of his daily messages from his papal library.
“Every human life, unique and unrepeatable, it has value in itself. It has an inestimable value,” Pope Francis said. “The attacks on the dignity and life of people unfortunately also continue in our era, which is the era of universal human rights. Indeed, we are faced with new threats and a new slavery, and laws don’t always protect the weakest and most vulnerable human life.”
Many times, Pope Francis has condemned abortion and urged Christians to protect every human life. In 2018, he caused outrage among abortion activists after comparing abortion to “hiring a hitman” to kill unborn babies. He frequently describes aborted babies as victims of a “throwaway culture” and encourages society to recognize their value.