Pope: Right to Life is 'Non-Negotiable'
Pope thanked European Movement for Life: "How many human lives have you saved from death! Continue along this path and do not be afraid."
Opening his address to them, Benedict XVI recalled how the year 2008 marks the 30th anniversary of the legalisation of abortion in Italy.
"It is your intention", he told his audience, "to suggest profound reflections on the human and social effects the law has produced in the civil and Christian community during that period".
"We cannot but recognise", he went on, "that, in practical terms, defending human life has become more difficult today, because a mentality has been created that progressively devalues human life and entrusts it to the judgement of individuals. A consequence deriving therefrom is lessened respect for the human person, a value that lies at the foundation of any form of civil coexistence, over and above the faith a person may profess".
Abortion "not only has not resolved the problems afflicting many women and no small number of families, but it has opened another wound in our societies" said the Holy Father.
He also called for combined efforts to ensure that "institutions once again focus their activities on defence of human life and priority concern for families. ... Families must be helped, using all legislative means to facilitate their formation and their educational work in the difficult social context of today".
"It is necessary to bear concrete witness to the fact that respect for life is the first form of justice that must be applied. For those who have the gift of faith this becomes an imperative that cannot be deferred. ... Only God is the Lord of life. Each human being is known, loved, wanted and guided by Him, ... and each has his origins in God's creative plan".
The Pope pointed out that this year also marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and he praised the Movement for Life's commitment "in the political sphere, assisting and encouraging the institutions to ensure that correct recognition is given to the words 'human dignity'.
"Your initiative in the European Parliament's Commission for Petitions, in which you affirm the fundamental values of the right to life from the moment of conception, of the family founded on the marriage of a man and a woman, of the right of all conceived human beings to be born and educated in a family of parents, is further confirmation of the solidity of your commitment and your full communion with the Church's Magisterium which has always proclaimed and defended such values as 'non negotiable'".
Benedict XVI concluded by thanking his audience for their service "to the Church and to society. How many human lives have you saved from death! Continue along this path and do not be afraid, so that the smile of life may triumph on the lips of all children and their mothers".
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