Pope Francis challenged affluent societies Sunday to stop wasting the precious gifts that God has given them, especially the gift of life.
In an Angelus address from the window of the Apostolic Palace, the pope criticized the “throwaway culture” that destroys unborn babies in abortions and devalues the poor and elderly, according to the Catholic News Agency.
“The throwaway culture says, ‘I use you as much as I need you. When I am not interested in you anymore, or you are in my way, I throw you out,’” Pope Francis said. “It is especially the weakest who are treated this way: unborn children, the elderly, the needy and the disadvantaged.”
This “throwaway” mentality is especially prevalent in affluent societies – even though they have the resources to care for the most vulnerable, he continued.
“It is a fact that about one-third of total food production goes to waste in the world each year, while so many die of hunger,” the pope said, according to the report. “Nature’s resources cannot be used like this. Goods should be taken care of and shared in such a way that no one lacks what is necessary. Rather than waste what we have, let us disseminate an ecology of justice and charity, of sharing.”
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Pope Francis emphasized that the most precious gift of all is human life, and every person is valuable to God.
“… people are never to be thrown out,” he said. “The disadvantaged cannot be thrown away. Every person is a sacred and unique gift, no matter what their age or condition is. Let us always respect and promote life! Let us not throw life away.”
Quoting Jesus’ blessing to the “poor in spirit,” he said society must not waste “the gift that we are,” according to CNA.
“Each one of us is a good, independent of the gifts we have,” Pope Francis continued. “Every woman, every man, is rich not only in talents but in dignity. He or she is loved by God, is valuable, is precious. Jesus reminds us that we are blessed not for what we have, but for who we are.”
Abortions destroy tens of millions of unborn babies’ lives every year across the world. Estimates vary, but one report puts the number of abortions in 2022 at 44 million worldwide. Assisted suicide and euthanasia that kill the elderly and people with disabilities also are growing problems, especially in North America and Europe.
Pope Francis frequently speaks about the value of every human life, born and unborn. A few years ago, he angered abortion activists by comparing abortion to hiring a hitman to kill a child.
The Catholic Church leader also has been encouraging families to have children as birth rates drop across the world and global powers push to expand the killing of unborn babies in abortions.
However, he recently faced criticism for appointing abortion supporters to the Pontifical Academy for Life, which promotes protections for human life at all stages and conducts research on moral and bioethical issues.