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Angelus Message of Pope John Paul II

February 3, 1991

1. Today is the "Day for Life" in Italy, a traditional occasion to reflect and pray, a concrete invitation to make a commitment to defend and promote human life from its beginning to its natural end. I feel the need to join my voice to that of the Italian bishops to say, once again, courageously and clearly that "the divine law 'Thou shalt not kill' regards every person, and obliges every person regardless of his or her religious convictions, because it is the law which the Creator inscribed in consciences as a natural law" (General Audience, 30 January 1991). Politicians, therefore, administrators and those responsible for social services and health care must recognize in the love of life "the presupposition and fundamental contents of the promotion of the common good, and to try every means possible to assure the economic, social and cultural conditions for an effective freedom in regard to life" (from the Italian Bishops' message for Life Day).

2. "Love for life, choice of freedom". This is the day's theme and it moves us to consider the necessary connection between life and freedom. How can there be freedom where life, every human life, is not welcomed and loved? How can there be true social progress when people try to justify and legalize attacks and threats against human life, which is a free gift of God's providential love? When there is no respect for life, we are already in the kingdom of death: death of feelings extinguished by an unbridled, alienating hedonism; the death of a moral sense, overcome by sterile, devastating selfishness, while consciences run the risk of being closed to the truth and unable to recognize the good which alone is capable of making people happy.

Life must always be defended, welcomed with love and accompanied with constant respect. As human beings and believers, we must never stop promoting the culture of life in the face of the culture of death. We must proclaim the inviolability of the right to life - and to a life with dignity - against abortion, an aberrant crime which has the qualities of totalitarianism in regard to the most defenseless human beings. We must proclaim this right against genetic manipulation which threatens the development of the person; against euthanasia and the rejection of those who are most feeble; against racism and homicidal violence of every kind. We must proclaim such a right against war - against this war which is continuing to be fought in the Persian Gulf Region with increasing threat to all humanity.

3. May Mary, Mother of all people, accept our prayer which echoes the anguished cry of the victims of abortion, hatred, war and attacks on life. May she support the weak and comfort those who are suffering unjustly. May she touch the hearts of those who reject the light of truth and, by killing, bring harm to humanity itself.

With confidence we turn to you, Mother of mercy, Mother of life.


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