VATICAN CITY, MAR. 6, 2001 ( Building the culture of life means a lot more than just opposing the culture of death, John Paul II warns.

Addressing the 125 participants of the seventh General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life last weekend, the Pope said: "Although a necessity and obligation, it is not sufficient to limit oneself to expose and denounce the lethal effects of the culture of death."

"Rather," he added, "what is needed is to constantly regenerate the inner fabric of contemporary culture, understood as a living mentality, as an ensemble of convictions and behavior, as social structures that support it."

The meeting, whose theme was "The Culture of Life: Foundations and Dimensions," gathered representatives from all over the world to discuss current issues. The Holy Father began his address with special greetings for the president and vice president of the academy, professor Juan de Dios Vial Correa and Bishop Elio Sgreccia.

The Holy Father said that culture not only influences the individual´s choices but also legislative and political decisions, as well as those of scientific research. Political choices in turn guide cultural endeavors, "which many times, unfortunately, place obstacles to the genuine renewal of society," he lamented.

As a result, scientific research, which today more than ever before enjoys great means, runs the risk of "moving in many areas, also against man," the Pope said.

What can be done in face of this situation? The media, personal witness, capacity for dialogue, ability to listen and make proposals -- all are means to spread a culture of life "that seeks man´s integral progress," the Pontiff explained.

He added, however, the believer must be sustained by an enthusiasm rooted in faith.

"Life will conquer: This is a sure hope for us," the Pontiff said. "Yes, life will conquer, because truth, goodness, joy and real progress are on the side of life. God, who loves life and gives it generously, is on the side of life."

He continued: "The encyclical ´Evangelium Vitae´ reminds us that ´the Gospel of Life´ is neither a simple reflection nor a commandment to sensitize society, but a concrete and personal reality because it consists of proclaiming the person of Christ himself."

Christ is "the resurrection and the life," the one who "has given his life to vanquish our death and to associate man to his resurrection," the Pope emphasized.

The academy meeting ended Sunday.