“Join with all people of goodwill to become the people of life and for life and to bring about a transformation of our culture.”St. John Paul II
In his encyclical ‘The Gospel of Life’ Pope Saint John Paul II appealed to each and every one of us in the name of God: “respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this direction will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness!” Evangelium Vitae, #5
In this inspired work, the Pope documented how social and moral confusion has resulted from ideologies which obscure the true meaning of human life, dignity, freedom, the nature of marriage and the role of the family. In the face of increasing threats to life (from cloning, artificial reproductive technologies, euthanasia, genetic engineering etc) he illuminated the Church’s consistent teaching and called us to work together in building a new culture of life.
We are called to serve life
Through our baptism each one of us is called to defend, “with perseverance and courage,” the dignity of every human life from conception to natural death.
“The God of the Covenant has entrusted the life of every individual to his or her fellow human beings… It is therefore a service of love which we are all committed to ensure to our neighbour, that his or her life may be always defended and promoted, especially when it is weak or threatened. It is not only a personal but a social concern which we must all foster: a concern to make unconditional respect for human life the foundation of a renewed society.” (EV #76
“The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognised, among which, in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.” (EV #59)
How are we building a culture of life?
Through prayer, education and service
The Holy Father specifically called for the establishment of centres – to offer moral and material support to mothers in difficulty or with unplanned pregnancies – to support and accompany each family in its mission as the sanctuary of life and ensure that each new life receives a warm welcome. (EV #26) – to teach natural methods of managing fertility to help couples achieve responsible parenthood (EV #88).
Pope Saint John Paul II urged each one of us to pray, as well as work, for this new culture of life and love. “Filled with the certainty that we can rely on the help of God, for whom nothing is impossible (Mt 19:26) and moved by profound concern for the destiny of every man and woman… a great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.” (Evangelium Vitae, #5)
“When we come to know Christ… When our heart beats with Christ’s heart, we see every human life differently. We look into the womb of every mother, and see the image of the Son of God.”John Cardinal O’Connor