On Pro-life Day in Italy
"Must Not Be Denied to Anyone"
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 5, 2007 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Sunday before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Today Pro-life Day is being observed in Italy, promoted by the episcopal conference with the theme "Love and Desire Life."
I cordially greet all those who have gathered in St. Peter's Square to witness to their commitment in favor of life, from conception until natural death. I join the Italian bishops to renew the appeal, launched several times also by my venerated predecessors, to all men and women of good will to receive the great and mysterious gift of life.
Life, which is the work of God, must not be denied to any one, not even the smallest and defenseless newborn, and much less so when he has serious handicaps. At the same time, echoing the pastors of the Church in Italy, I urge you not to fall into the deception of thinking that one can dispose of life to the point of "legitimizing its interruption with euthanasia, masking it perhaps with a veil of human mercy."
The "Week of Life and Family" begins today in the Diocese of Rome, an important occasion to pray and reflect on the family, which is the "cradle" of life and of every vocation.
We know well that the family, based on marriage, constitutes the natural environment for the birth and education of children and, therefore, to ensure the future of the whole of humanity.
However, we also know that it is going through a profound crisis and that it must face numerous challenges.
Therefore, it is necessary to defend, protect and value it in its unique and irreplaceable character. If this commitment is first of all the duty of spouses, it is also a priority duty of the Church and of all public institutions to support the family through pastoral and political initiatives, which take into account the real needs of spouses, of the elderly and of the new generations.
A peaceful family atmosphere, enlightened by faith and the holy fear of God, also favors the rise and flowering of vocations at the service of the Gospel. I am referring in particular, not only to those called to follow Christ on the path of the priesthood, but also to men and women religious, consecrated persons, whom we remembered last Friday on the World Day of Consecrated Life.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us pray so that with a constant effort in favor of life and of the family our communities may become places of communion and hope, in which is renewed, despite the many difficulties, the great "yes" of authentic love to the reality of the human being and of the family, according to the original plan of God.
Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that respect will grow for the sacred character of life, that there will be ever greater awareness of genuine family needs, and that the number will increase of those who contribute to bring about in the world the civilization of love.
[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in six languages. In English, he said:]
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors gathered for today's Angelus. My special greeting goes to the government officials from Sri Lanka engaged in the reconstruction of areas stuck by the tsunami. Today's Gospel shows us the great spiritual fruitfulness that accompanies our whole hearted decision to answer the Lord's call. May you and your families be strengthened in faith and confident hope in God's promises!
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Pope, Benedict, Pro-life, Life, Abortion, Address
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