VATICAN CITY--Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday urged Christians to reject laws allowing the "killing of innocent unborn children" as the abortion pill RU-486 became available at Italian hospitals.
"It is important for Christians not to accept a wrong that is enshrined in law -- for example, the killing of innocent unborn children," he said in his homily during the traditional Chrism mass in the run-up to Easter on Sunday. The Italian parliament legalized the sale of RU-486 pills in December after heated debate, and the first lots of the drugs were distributed Thursday.
The 82-year-old pontiff made no reference to the snowballing pedophilia priest scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church in the last five months.
In the Chrism mass, traditional on the Thursday before Easter, priests renew their vows, including the vow of celibacy.
The pedophilia scandals have led to calls for the Church to rethink the centuries-old requirement of celibacy for priests, but several leading prelates have rejected any link between the two.
Benedict earlier this month defended celibacy as a "sign of full devotion" and of an "entire commitment to the Lord".