Britain Urged by Pope to Defend Family and Life

Assails Acceptance of Abortion and Human Cloning

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 8, 2002 ( John Paul II appealed to the British government for «an uncompromising defense» of human life and the family, as a key step to helping its society face current challenges.

When he received Kathryn Frances Colvin, the new British ambassador, on Saturday, the Holy Father stressed «the need for an uncompromising defense of the rights of the family and the legal protection of the institution of marriage.»

«The family plays a decisive role in fostering those values upon which any civilization worthy of the name is built,» the Pope said.

«The whole of human society is deeply rooted in the family, and any weakening of this indispensable institution cannot but be a potential source of grave difficulties and problems for society as a whole,» the Holy Father explained.

He also lamented the «attempts to legitimize abortion, the production of human embryos for research and processes of genetic manipulation, such as the cloning of human beings.»

In January 2001, the House of Lords approved the proposal of Tony Blair’s government which made Great Britain the first country to legalize the creation of human embryos for cloning.

«Neither human life nor the human person can ever legitimately be treated as an object to be manipulated or as a disposable commodity,» the Pontiff stressed.

«Rather, each human being — at every stage of existence, from conception to natural death — is endowed by the Creator with a sublime dignity that demands the greatest respect and vigilance on the part of individuals, communities, nations and international bodies,» John Paul II concluded.

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