Divorce and abortion are offences in the sight of God, Pope Benedict XVI charged Saturday, while calling on the Catholic Church to be merciful to those who had experienced such events.
"The ethical judgement of the Church on divorce and abortion is clear and well-known," he told participants in a Catholic congress on marriage and the family.
"They are serious offences... which violate human dignity, inflict deep injustice on human and social relations and offend God himself, guarantor of conjugal peace and origin of life," he said.
However he added that there were people who had committed such "errors" but "suffered from wounds to the soul" and "sought peace."
"The Church has the duty to be close to these people with love and delicacy," the pope added.
"Divorce and abortion are choices... which sometimes develop in difficult and dramatic circumstances... and are a source of profound suffering for those who take such decisions.
"They also affect innocent victims, the barely-conceived and unborn infant, the children caught up in divorces."