VATCAN CITY, January 13, 2014 ( – In Pope Francis first ‘State of the World’ address, given annually to the ambassadors to the Vatican, the pope said “it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day.” 

Speaking Sunday to some 180 foreign diplomats, Pope Francis began by saying that peace is “threatened by every denial of human dignity, firstly the lack of access to adequate nutrition.”  In the midst of great hunger, food is often wasted in “the throwaway culture,” he said.

“Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as ‘unnecessary’,” added the Holy Father. “For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity.” 


Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, praised the pope’s remarks. “Pope Francis, in his recent remarks, continues to articulate a consistent moral vision, as he mentions abortion and hunger in the same context,” Pavone told “If it’s wrong that children are deprived of food, it’s wrong if they are deprived of life. To fight poverty but to take a pro-choice position is nothing short of illogical and insane.”

It has been a tradition of the last two popes to include remarks about the sanctity of human life and family in the annual New Year’s address to the Holy See’s diplomatic corps. 

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In his address to the diplomatic corps last year, Pope Benedict XVI called on the world’s governments to promote peace based on “the protection of human beings and their fundamental rights. “Foremost” among which, he said, is “respect for human life at every stage.” In 2008, Benedict used the annual address to warn the governments of the world against attacking the family based on the marriage of “one man and one woman.”

Pope John Paul II too used the Sate of the World address to highlight attacks on children in the womb.  In 2002, Pope John Paul compiled a list of eight “great challenges lying before us.”  Topping the list were “the defence of the sacredness of human life in all circumstances, especially in relation to the challenges posed by genetic manipulation” and “the promotion of the family, the basic unit of society.”