22 February 1988
TO MEMBERS OF U.S. CONGRESS
Defend human life from its
conception to natural death
The Holy Father
gave the following greeting to a group of
members of the U.S. House of Representatives when he received them on Wednesday
10 February, 1988:
Dear Friends from the United
It is a pleasure to welcome you, distinguished members of the House of
Representatives, together with the friends and family members who have
accompanied you to Rome. Less than five months ago, I had the joy of making a
second pastoral visit to your homeland... As I greet you today, I assure you
that the vivid memories of those days remain a source of deep gratitude.
One of the striking features of your country is its pluralism, a rich
diversity of ethnic origins and religious beliefs, of cultural traditions and
customs. As members of the Congress of the United States, this feature of
national life presents you undoubtedly with challenging opportunities and not a
few difficult problems. For your public service is aimed at the unity and common
good of all, and it demands that you make every effort to safeguard and enhance
the rights and dignity of every human person, from the moment of conception
until natural death.
As elected public officials, you fulfil an important and honorable service in
American society. You help shape policies that have an impact not only on the
quality of life of your fellow citizens but on the lives of people of other
nations too. You have a particularly serious responsibility to promote justice
and to overcome the scandalous inequalities that exist between the rich and the
poor, the powerful and the powerless. Belonging, as you do, to a nation which
has been particularly blessed by Providence, your responsibility takes on even
greater proportions, and in a certain sense is more urgent.
I know that your sense of dedication and duty makes you eager to play your
part in building a world of true justice and peace. In this most worthwhile
task, I assure you of my personal support and prayer I likewise assure you of
the readiness of the Church to offer spiritual and moral assistance.
Upon yourselves and your families and upon all those whom you serve, I invoke
God's blessings of joy and peace.
Teachings of the Magisterium on Abortion