Pope John Paul II sends prayers and
words of support to Western Australian prolifers
This is the full text of the message Pope John Paul II sent to the Archbishop
of Perth, Barry James Hickey, through the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal
Angelo Sodano, in support of the WA pro-life cause.
With grave concern, His Holiness Pope John Paul has received
news of the legislation being considered in Western Australia to provide much
freer access to abortion than is allowed by the existing laws.
He fully supports you and the Bishops of Western Australia in
opposing these efforts and in defending those who cannot defend themselves. He
joins his voice not only with yours but also with the voice of the unborn who
have no voice of their own.
Yours is a witness to the incomparable value of human life
and to the inviolable right to life which belongs to every human being. It is a
witness which recognizes that human life must be defended from the moment of
conception and cherished always as the most precious of gifts.
In the season of Lent some years ago, the Holy Father spoke
words which in the meantime have become more pertinent still.
"If a society concedes the right to kill a human being when
still in the womb," he said, "then that society starts down a slope with
incalculable consequences in the moral order.
"If it becomes licit to take a human life when it is weakest,
wholly dependent on its mother, on its parents, on the strength of human
conscience, then what dies is not only an innocent human being but also human
conscience itself. And who knows how widely and quickly the cancer of this
destruction of conscience will spread (Homily, Fifth Sunday of Lent, 1981)."
It is only by silencing the voice of human conscience that
one can silence the voice of the unborn child. And a society in which conscience
is silenced is a society where there can be no culture or progress worthy of the
human person. It will be instead a society where the strong wage war
relentlessly on the weak.
During his visit in 1986, His Holiness glimpsed the great
future which lies before Western Australia, but he insists that a society which
permits the killing of the weak and defenseless, especially a society which
kills its own children, has no real future.
This is an issue which goes to the very heart of human
society and he therefore urges the Catholic people of Western Australia and all
men and women of good will to defend both the unborn child and human conscience
in a way which respects the most basic demands of the moral law, which no one
has the right to ignore.
Praying most fervently to God, the Giver of life, that the
voice of conscience will prevail and that the rights of the unborn will be
respected, His Holiness imparts to you, to your brother Bishops and to all the
Catholic people of Western Australia his Apostolic Blessings.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
+Angelo Cardinal Sodano
Secretary of State
statements of the Holy Father and Bishops on Abortion