POPE TO THE EUROPEAN CONGRESS OF MOVEMENTS FOR LIFE
Life will overcome death!
On 26 February 1979, the Holy Father received in audience those taking part
in the European Congress organized by "The Movement for Life" which was then
being held in Milan. John Paul II delivered the following address.
Welcome to the Pope's house! I willingly accepted the desire you expressed
for a special Audience on the occasion of your second European Congress, because
this meeting offers me the opportunity to say to you, and to all members of the
Movements for Life, a word of praise and encouragement to persevere in the noble
task which you have assumed in defence of man and of his fundamental rights. You
are struggling in order that every man may be recognized as having the right to
be born, to grow, to develop his own capacities harmoniously, to construct his
own transcendent destiny freely and in a dignified way.
These are very noble purposes and I am happy to see that not only the sons of
the Catholic Church but also members of other religious confessions and persons
of different ideological trends are united in pursuing them, because I consider
that an expression of that "agreement in supporting one another on some
elementary but firm principles", "principles of humanity", which "every man of
good will can find...in his own conscience", to which I referred in my recent
Message for the World Day of Peace.
Faithful to the mission received from her divine Founder, the Church has
always affirmed the sacredness of human life, and did so with particular
forcefulness at the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. Who does not remember
those solemn words? "God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble
mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of
themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of
conception" (Past. Const. Gaudium et Spes, n. 51). Strong in this
conviction, the Council Fathers did not hesitate to condemn bluntly "all
offences against life itself, such as murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and
willful suicide; all violations of the integrity of the human person, such as
mutilation, physical and mental torture, undue psychological pressures; all
offences against human dignity, such as sub-human living conditions, arbitrary
imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and
children, degrading working conditions where men are treated as mere tools for
profit rather than free and responsible persons" (Ibid. n. 27).
This is the context in which your commitment is set. It consists in the first
place of an intelligent and assiduous action to make consciences become aware of
the inviolability of human life at all its stages, so that the right to it will
be effectively recognized in morals and in laws, as a basic value of every
society that wants to call itself civil. It is expressed, furthermore, in the
courageous stand against every form of attack on life, from whatever quarter
it may come. Finally, it takes the form of a disinterested and respectful offer
of concrete help for persons who are up against difficulties in making
their behaviour conform with the dictates of conscience.
It is a work of great humanity and generous charity, which cannot but meet
with the approval of every person aware of the possibilities and the risks which
are in store for this society of ours.
Do not be discouraged by the difficulties, opposition, and failure you may
meet with on your way. It is a question of man and with such a stake, no one can
shut himself up in an attitude of resigned passivity without thereby abdicating
as a human being. As Vicar of Christ the Word of God Incarnate, I say to you:
have faith in God, the Creator and Father of every human being: have confidence
in man, created in the image and likeness of God and called to be his son in the
Son. In Christ, who died and rose again, man's cause has already had its
definitive verdict: life will overcome death!
With this hope in my heart, I willingly grant you all my Apostolic Blessing,
as a token of divine assistance.
other Papal Writings and Speeches]