In his general audience Wednesday, Pope Francis said that abortion “suppresses innocent and helpless life in its blossoming.”

“Is it right to take a human life to solve a problem? It’s like hiring a hitman,” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Square Oct. 10, in a departure from his prepared remarks.

“Violence and the rejection of life are born from fear,” the pope added.

Pope Francis lamented that parents receiving a difficult prenatal diagnosis often “receive hasty advice to stop the pregnancy.”

It is contradictory to suppress “human life in the womb in the name of safeguarding other rights,” the pope insisted.

“How can an act that suppresses innocent and helpless life in its blossoming be therapeutic, civil, or simply human?”

The pope’s remarks on abortion came during a reflection on the fifth commandment, “Thou shall not kill.” In recent weeks, the pope has dedicated his weekly general audiences to a series of lesson and reflections on the Ten Commandments recorded in the scriptural books of Exodus and Deuteronomy.

“What leads man to reject life? They are the idols of this world: money, power, success. These are incorrect parameters to evaluate life. The only authentic measure of life is love, the love with which God loves it!”

The positive meaning of the fifth commandment is that “God is a lover of life,” he continued.

“In every sick child, in every weak old man, in every desperate migrant, in every fragile and threatened life, Christ is looking for us, he is looking for our heart, to disclose the joy of love. It is worthwhile to accept every life because every man is worth the blood of Christ. We can not despise what God so loved!” Pope Francis said.

While a sick child or an elderly person who needs assistance can be viewed as a burden, this can actually be “a gift from God,” explained the pope. This vulnerable life can “pull me out of self-centeredness and make me grow in love.”