Church Outlining a "Culture of Life" Strategy

Pontifical Academy Meeting at Vatican

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VATICAN CITY, MAR. 1, 2001 ( The general assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life began today, to outline a strategy to foster the «culture of life» more effectively.

The executive council of the academy, presided over by Chilean professor Juan de Dios Vial Correa, proposed that the assembly identify the means and methods to promote respect for the most fundamental of human rights.

The assembly, which ends Sunday, is continuing the work begun at last year´s meeting, which evaluated the state of the right to life at the social and juridical levels. The conclusions of last year´s meeting were published in a book entitled «´Evangelium Vitae´: Five Years of Confrontation with Society.»

The academy has 70 members, appointed by the Pope. They represent the different branches of biomedical sciences and those that are closely related to problems concerning the promotion and defense of life.

Bishop Elio Sgreccia, vice president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and director of the Bioethics Institute of the Sacred Heart University of Rome, addressed over Vatican Radio (
today´s challenges to the culture of life.

«They have different origins,» Bishop Sgreccia explained. «On one hand, they are of a scientific nature: science proposes means, techniques of intervention on human life, as for example the use of human embryos as a therapeutic means, or the ´morning-after pill,´ to mention two concrete cases of our time. These are techniques that can destroy human lives or that end by turning man into a mere instrument.»

«There are other challenges that can be posed by the law: These are proposals of law that exist in the world today, for example, on euthanasia, abortion and artificial procreation,» the bishop added.

Lastly, there «are attacks on life that are due to devious behavior. Let us give, as an example, the case of drug consumption, or the contagion of infectious diseases because of an evil expression of one´s sexuality,» Bishop Sgreccia explained.

«Therefore, the challenges to the culture of life have different origins, although they stem from the same source: the culture of death,» he said. «The culture of death results from the frenetic pursuit of hedonism, pleasure, the usefulness of the individual, to the detriment of other values of the individual himself/herself, or of other persons.»

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