Pope Francis compares abortion to 'hiring a killer'

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – A group of Roman Catholic priests, academics and intellectuals have issued an open letter to bishops asking them to declare Pope Francis a heretic, in the latest broadside by ultra-conservatives against the pontiff.

“We take this measure as a last resort to respond to the accumulating harm caused by Pope Francis’s words and actions over several years, which have given rise to one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church,” the 20-page letter reads.

The most prominent of the 19 signatories of the scathing letter is Father Aidan Nichols, a 70-year-old British priest of the Dominican order who has written many books and is one of the best-known theologians in the English-speaking world.

A Vatican spokesman had no comment on the letter, which includes dozens of footnotes, Bible verses and articles of canon law and a separate bibliography.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella, Editing by William Maclean)

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