Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 5 February 2006
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Pro-Life Day is being celebrated today
throughout Italy and is a precious opportunity for prayer and reflection on the
themes of the defence and promotion of human life, especially when it is found
to be in difficult conditions.
Many of the lay faithful who work in this area
are present in St Peter's Square, some of whom are involved in the Pro-Life
Movement. I address my cordial greeting to them, with a special thought for
Cardinal Camillo Ruini who has accompanied them, and I once again express my
appreciation for the work they do to ensure that life is always received as a
gift and accompanied with love.
As I invite you to meditate on the Message of
the Italian Bishops, which has as its theme "Respecting life", I think back to
beloved Pope John Paul II, who paid constant attention to these problems. I
would like in particular to recall the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, which he
published in 1995 and which represents an authentic milestone in the Church's
Magisterium on a most timely and crucial issue.
Inserting the moral aspects in a vast
spiritual and cultural framework, my venerable Predecessor frequently reasserted
that human life has a value of paramount importance which demands recognition,
and the Gospel asks that it always be respected.
In the light of my recent Encyclical Letter on
Christian love, I would like to underline the importance of the service of love
for the support and promotion of human life. In this regard, even before active
initiatives, it is fundamental to foster a correct attitude towards the other:
the culture of life is in fact based on attention to others without any forms of
exclusion or discrimination. Every human life, as such, deserves and demands
always to be defended and promoted.
We are well aware that all too often this
truth risks being opposed by the hedonism widespread in the so-called society of
well-being: life is exalted as long as it is pleasurable, but there is a
tendency to no longer respect it as soon as it is sick or handicapped. Based on
deep love for every person it is possible instead to put into practice effective
forms of service to life: to newborn life and to life marked by
marginalization or suffering, especially in its terminal phase.
The Virgin Mary received with perfect love the
Word of life, Jesus Christ, who came into the world so that human beings might
"have life... abundantly" (Jn 10: 10). Let us entrust to her expectant mothers,
families, health-care workers and volunteers who are committed in so many ways
to the service of life. Let us pray in particular for people in the most
After the Angelus:
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and
visitors present for today's Angelus. May the healing power of Christ transform
your lives and fill you with his peace! I trust your time in Rome will be filled
with joy and deepen your love of the universal Church. God bless you all!
I wish everyone a good Sunday!