Pope Francis calls surrogacy 'deplorable'

In an annual tradition, Pope Francis greeted ambassadors to the Vatican from more than 180 countries. In this speech, the pope typically gives an outline of his priorities regarding important global topics for the new year.

He began by reflecting on various conflicts worldwide, including in Israel and Palestine, Ukraine and Sudan. Pope Francis called for an end to the availability of weapons to help stop violence.

"A disarmament policy should be pursued, as it is illusory to think that armaments have a deterrent value," Pope Francis said. "Rather, the opposite is true: the availability of weapons incentivizes their use and increases their production. Weapons create distrust and divert resources. How many lives could be saved with the resources devoted to armaments today?"

He highlighted that a central aspect of establishing peace in the world is respect for all life. In this regard, Pope Franics rejected all practices that deny the dignity of both mother and child, specifically opposing the practice of surrogacy.

"I consider deplorable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which seriously offends the dignity of the woman and the child," he said. "It is based on the exploitation of a situation of material need of the mother. A child is always a gift and never the object of a contract."

The pope also warned against ideological colonizations, more specifically, gender theory, which can often emerge when societies try to introduce new rights for people.

In 2023, the number of ambassadors to the Vatican grew as the Holy See established diplomatic relations with the Sultanate of Oman for the first time and welcomed the first Vietnamese political representative in Rome.