Pope: Unborn, Disabled, Elderly Are ‘Victims’ in a ‘Throwaway Culture'

By Barbara Boland | December 11, 2013 | 5:08pm EST

Pope Francis(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

(CNSNews.com) – Pope Francis said the unborn, poor, sick, elderly, and disabled were “victims” in a  culture that wants them “thrown out,” and praised a group that has called for denying Communion to pro-abortion  politicians.

In remarks made to a delegation of Dignitatis Humanae Institute on Saturday at the Vatican, the Pope said, “Unfortunately, in our epoch, so rich in many accomplishments and hopes, there is no lack of powers and forces that end up producing a throwaway culture (cultura di scarto); and this threatens to become the dominant mentality."

"The victims of [our] culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings – the unborn, the poorest people, sick elderly people, gravely disabled people ... who are in danger of being ‘thrown out,’" said the Pope,  "expelled from a machine that must be efficient at all costs.”

“This false model of man and society embodies a practical atheism, de facto negating the Word of God that says: ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness’ (Genesis 1:26),” he said.

Pope Francis praised the Institute for its “welcome initiatives that aim to help people, communities, and institutions to rediscover the ethical and social importance of the principle of human dignity, which is the root of liberty and justice.”

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Dignitatis Humanae (Human Dignity) Institute is a think-tank that launched in 2008. According to its web site, it aims to assist “Christians in public life, assisting them  in presenting effective and coherent responses to increasing efforts to silence the Christian voice in the public square.”

“DHI is a direct response to a growing secularist intolerance to Christians of all confessions that has led to a myriad of attacks on human dignity,” its website states.  “Just as many secularist groups have mobilised to create effective advocacy groups across the world, so the Institute plans on doing the same, pushing back the tide of radical secularism which is threatening the dignity of increasing numbers of people, especially the vulnerable and the weak.

In an Oct. 3 statement, the DHI says it is “false charity not to excommunicate visibly pro-abortion politicians.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court at the Vatican.

The president of the Institute’s advisory board, Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis and now head of the highest court at the Vatican, has said that Catholic politicians who support abortion must not present themselves for Holy Communion. In 2004, Burke said he would not serve Communion to then-presidential candidate John Kerry (D-Mass.), now the secretary of State,  because of his pro-abortion views.

In 2009, Burke said that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius should not receive Holy Communion because of her pro-abortion beliefs. In September 2013, Burke said that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also should be denied Communion because of her persistent and outspoken support for abortion.

That same month, Cardinal Burke said that giving Communion to politicians who support abortion or euthanasia legislation “is a contradiction, it is wrong, it is a scandal, and it must stop! We live in a culture with a false sense of dialogue – which has also crept into the Church – where we pretend to dialogue about open and egregious violations of the moral law.”

The Pope told the Dignitatis Humanae Institute that an “initiative such as your own … will assist the lay faithful of every walk of life, and especially those who work in politics, to think according to the Gospel and the Church’s social doctrine and to act consistently, dialoguing and collaborating with those who, with sincerity and intellectual honesty, at least share – if not the faith – a similar vision of man and society and its ethical consequences.”

“There are not a few Christians and non-believers, who are convinced that the human person must always be an end and never a means,” said Pope Francis.

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