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posted: 8/16/2014 11:26 AM

Pope in South Korea makes silent statement about abortion

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  • Pope Francis blesses a child who is planned to be adopted by a family, during his visit to the rehabilitation center for disabled people at Kkottongnae in Eumseong, South Korea, Saturday, Aug. 16.

      Pope Francis blesses a child who is planned to be adopted by a family, during his visit to the rehabilitation center for disabled people at Kkottongnae in Eumseong, South Korea, Saturday, Aug. 16.
    Associated Press

  • A Chinese priest holds up a bible during a mass at the 400-year-old Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Beijing, China, Friday, Aug. 15. Chinese Catholics on Friday cheered Pope Francis' visit to neighboring South Korea, saying they hoped his trip to their region would help end the estrangement between Beijing and the Vatican. However, China's entirely state-run media imposed a virtual news blackout on his visit, ensuring the public at large would know little about Francis' activities.

      A Chinese priest holds up a bible during a mass at the 400-year-old Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Beijing, China, Friday, Aug. 15. Chinese Catholics on Friday cheered Pope Francis' visit to neighboring South Korea, saying they hoped his trip to their region would help end the estrangement between Beijing and the Vatican. However, China's entirely state-run media imposed a virtual news blackout on his visit, ensuring the public at large would know little about Francis' activities.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea -- Pope Francis has generally avoided hot-button "culture war" issues like abortion, arguing that the church's doctrine on the sanctity of life is well-known and that he'd rather emphasize other aspects of church teaching.

But he made a strong, albeit silent anti-abortion statement Saturday during his visit to South Korea, stopping to pray at a monument for aborted babies in a community dedicated to caring for people with the sort of severe genetic disabilities that are often used to justify abortions.

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Francis bowed his head in prayer before the monument -- a garden strewed with simple white wooden crosses -- and spoke with an anti-abortion activist with no arms and no legs.

He also spent an hour blessing and caressing dozens of disabled Koreans who live in the Kkottongnae community.

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