LETTER TO CARDINAL LÓPEZ TRUJILLO
June 11, 1998
Keep alive determination to promote life
"The defence of the family and of human life is also a pastoral priority in
the next millennium", the Holy Father wrote in the Letter he addressed to
Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the
Family, on the occasion of the meeting in Rome of movements and non-governmental
organizations committed to the service of the family in Europe. Here is a
translation of the Pope's Letter, which was written in Italian and dated 11
To my Venerable Brother
Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo
President of the Pontifical Council for the Family
The meeting currently taking place has been promoted by this dicastery and by
the heads of associations, movements and non-governmental organizations,
committed to the service of the family and life on the European continent. On
this occasion I wish to extend my cordial greetings to you, Your Eminence, and
courteously through you, to the participants and relators of the congress, with
the wish that these providential moments of reflection and dialogue may produce
the desired results and offer a renewed incentive to the family apostolate in
Everyone should be aware of the importance of the historical moment through
which we are passing. It is also well known how on the "old continent" as in
other parts of the world, the family institution has long been subject to
profound and not always positive changes, and for this reason the constant and
careful concern of the Bishops and the entire ecclesial community is required.
The defence of the family and of human life is also a pastoral priority in the
next millennium, which we are rapidly approaching.
In fact, among the truths obscured in man's heart due to the growing
secularization and widespread hedonistic atmosphere, it is those truths
regarding the family that are most seriously affected. On the occasion of the
Second World Meeting of Families in Rio de Janeiro, I had the opportunity to
stress that "the basic struggle for human dignity is centred on the family and
life" (Speech to the Pastoral Theology Congress at Rio de Janeiro, 3
October 1997: L'Osservatore Romano English Edition, 15 October 1997, p.
4). The entire Christian community is called to defend and promote these
fundamental human and evangelical values.
An increasingly important role is played in pastoral service to the family
and to life by associations, movements and non-governmental organizations in the
broader context of lay participation in the apostolate and of guidance in
temporal situations, as the Second Vatican Council recommended. The Church
relies on their contribution, on their constant and courageous commitment.
"People who work to protect and foster marriages and families will accomplish
much for the future of Europe" (Synod of Bishops, Special Assembly for
Europe, Final Declaration, n. 10: L'Osservatore Romano English
Edition, 23/30 December 1991, p. 14).
As I sincerely hope that this meeting will effectively contribute to keeping
alive in the faithful and in all people of goodwill an increasingly determined
desire to work for the authentic promotion of human life and of its natural
habitat, I would like to stress once again the truth that the family is
founded on marriage.
These, Your Eminence, are the thoughts with which I accompany the work of
this convention, while invoking on you and on the participants an abundance of
gifts of the Holy Spirit and the protection of the Virgin Mary, Mother of life,
I sincerely impart a special Apostolic Blessing to everyone.
From the Vatican, 11 June 1998.
Teachings of the
Magisterium on Abortion