VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has encouraged Catholic doctors to refuse to perform abortions, issuing a strong pro-life message after blasting at the church's obsession with "small-minded rules" that are driving the faithful away.
Francis appeared to be offering an olive branch to the more doctrine-minded, conservative wings of the church by citing Vatican teaching on defending the unborn during an audience Friday with Catholic gynecologists.
Urgent: Should the Pope change the Catholic Church?
He denounced today's "throw-away culture" that justifies disposing of lives. He said: "Every child that isn't born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord."
In an interview published Thursday, Francis urged the church to show more mercy and preach less about rules in a radical shift in emphasis for a pope.
© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.