Vatican City (VIS) On the morning of April 11, 2014, in the Sala Clementina of the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father received 470 members of the Italian Movement for Life. The Pontiff thanked them for their work, especially for the "Progetto Gemma" (a form of prenatal adoption at a distance to assist pregnant women in difficulty) which, he said, "in these twenty years has enabled, through a particular form of concrete solidarity, the birth of many children who otherwise would never have seen the light of day".
"Human life is sacred and inviolable", he emphasized. "Every civil right is based on the recognition of the first, fundamental right, the right to life, which is not subject to any condition, of a qualitative, economic and certainly not of an ideological nature. Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' places a clear limit guaranteeing the value of human life, today we must also say 'No to an economy of exclusion and inequality'. This economy kills. " Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a 'throwaway' culture which is now spreading. In this way life too is discarded", continued the Holy Father, quoting from his apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium".
"One of the most serious risks of our age is the divorce of economy and morality, the separation between the opportunities offered by a market which has every technological novelty at its disposal and the basic ethical norms of human nature, which are increasingly neglected. Therefore it is necessary to reaffirm our solid opposition to any direct offence against life, especially when innocent and defenseless, and the unborn child in its mother's womb is the quintessence of innocence. Let us remember the words of Vatican Council II: 'Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes'".
"I remember once, a long time ago", he added, "I participated in a conference with doctors. After the conference I greeted them and while I spoke to them, one of them called me to one side. He had a package and he said to me, 'Father, I want to leave this with you. These are the instruments I have used to carry out abortions. I have encountered the Lord and repented, and now I fight for life'. He gave me all those instruments. Let us pray for this good man".
"Every Christian has the responsibility of this witness to the Gospel: to protect life with courage and love in all its phases. I encourage you to do this, always with an attitude of closeness and proximity, so that every woman feels considered as a person, listened to, welcomed and accompanied".
"We have spoken about children: there are many of them! But I would also like to speak about grandparents, the other side of life! Because we must also care for grandparents, because children and grandparents are the hope of the people. Children and young people, because they lead the people ahead; and the elderly, because they hold the wisdom of history, they are the memory of the people. Protect life in a time in which children and grandparents enter into this throwaway culture and are regarded as disposable material. No! Children and the elderly are the hope of a population!"
He concluded, "The Lord supports the activities you carry out as Help Centres for Life and as a Movement for Life, in particular the project "One of Us". I entrust you to the heavenly intercession of the Virgin Mother Mary and impart a heartfelt blessing to your families."