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Defending Humans From the Start (Part 1)

Interview With Vice President of Academy for Life

ROME, MARCH 27, 2006 (Zenit) - Life cannot be defended if one is not aware of its beauty, says the new vice president if the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Monsignor Jean Laffitte, formerly undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, speaks in this interview with us about how to defend life in the contemporary world.

Part 2 of this interview will appear Wednesday.

Q: The Pope has given you a new mission: vice president of the Academy for Life. Your task, among others, is to sensitize our contemporaries to the gift of life. In your opinion, what are the great challenges in the realm of defense of life?

Monsignor Laffitte: In my opinion, the great problem at present is the loss of the sense of the beauty of life. Life cannot be defended if its beauty is not perceived.

Life today has been transformed into a place for ideological struggle. It was not always like this. Life is from the beginning a concrete reality, which exists. The people around us exist. We are in relationship with them. They represent in the world an objective wealth.

From the beginning, life calls for an essential attitude of acceptance and love. Human life is never neutral. When one loses sight of the character of immediate goodness of what exists and lives before our eyes -- the beauty of the people who surround us and of those to whom we are united by bonds of love and solidarity -- life is turned into a place of ideological struggle.

How does this occur? To begin with, by a trivialization of human life. It loses its specific character and one ends up by assimilating it to any other manifestation of life, of any living being.

One no longer sees that, behind each human face, behind each person, there is a singularity, a unique wealth in which believers recognize an intention of God, a plan of love. Life is the gift of God's love to all men.

The first task is to try to give back, to the one who has lost it, the notion of a real good that precedes us, that we have not chosen and, in any case, that we have not chosen thanks to ourselves.

No one has ever decided to live. We are before a reality that invites us to this gaze of love and acceptance. One cannot have a neutral attitude to life. Life is not simply a biological phenomenon. A human person cannot be considered simply under the aspect of his biological, anatomical or cellular characteristics.

It is possible to do so, in the context of applied science, but when one wishes to explain the truth of a man's life, one is obliged to consider it in all that constitutes it, namely, his organism -- he is a living being subjected to physical and biological laws -- but also in what constitutes his specificity, his quality of rational creature, gifted with intelligence and will, gifted with the capacity to love and to enter into a relationship of communion with other men.


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