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Address at the University of Uppsala

Pope John Paul II

Excerpt from Address at the University of Uppsala

June 9, 1989

5. ( ... ) The dignity of the person can be protected only if the person is considered as inviolable from the moment of conception until natural death. A person cannot be reduced to the status of a means or a tool of others. Society exists to promote the security and dignity of the person. Therefore, the primary right which society must defend is the right to life. Whether in the womb or in the final phase of life, a person may never be disposed of in order to make life easier for others. Every person must be treated as an end in himself or herself. This is a fundamental principle for all human activity: in health care, in the upbringing of children, in education, in the media. The attitudes of individuals or societies in this regard can be measured by the treatment given to those who for various reasons cannot compete in society -- the handicapped, the sick, the aged and the dying. Unless a society treats the human person as inviolable, the formulation of consistent ethical principles becomes impossible, as does the creation of a moral climate which fosters the protection of the weakest members of the human family.


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