Address on Pro-Life Day in Italy

Human Being Can Never Become Objects, Says John Paul II

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 2, 2003 ( Here is a translation of John Paul II’s address and greetings at midday today, before reciting the Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. Pro-Life Day is being observed today in Italy, which has as its theme: «You Cannot Trade With Life.» This principle, although recognized theoretically, is not always respected, however. There are situations in which the human person becomes an instrument for economic, political and scientific interests, especially when he is weak and does not have the strength to defend himself.

Moreover, a certain commercial logic, allied to modern technology, can at times take advantage of human desires that are good in themselves, such as that of becoming a mother or father, to the point of wanting a child «at any cost.» In reality, human life can never become an «object»: from conception until natural death, the human being is the subject of inviolable rights, before which freedom must be restricted. Therefore, in these complex matters, it is indispensable that states adopt organic and clear laws, founded on solid ethical bases, to safeguard the inestimable good of human life.

2. For 10 years now, Pro-Life Day is prolonged in the Diocese of Rome in a special «Week of Life and of the Family.» The diocesan ecclesial meeting next June will also be dedicated to this topic. I renew to the families of Rome the message that resounded in the World Meeting that ended a short time ago in Manila. Dear Christian families, you are «good news» for this, our city. Sustained by the grace of the sacrament of marriage, face the different situations of life united and contribute to maintain the social fabric healthy.

3. We entrust to Mary, today, feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, all those dedicated to the defense of life and of families who are the natural «nest» of life. May Our Lady also watch over those who spend themselves in the service of the sick, for whom next Feb. 11 will be celebrated the World Day dedicated to them. Finally, may the Holy Virgin protect in a special way the men and women religious and consecrated laity, who today celebrate the «Day of Consecrated Life.»

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father added:]

The painful news of the tragic explosion of the United States spaceship «Columbia» on its re-entry in the atmosphere has caused everyone much distress. I invite all to pray for the victims of the incident, who died while carrying out an international scientific mission. At this time of harsh trial, I am spiritually close to the relatives, whom I assure of my remembrance in prayer.

Once again my thoughts go to Ivory Coast, tried by a serious crisis that lacerates those peoples. Let us pray so that beyond the divisions and claims the forces of those who have the unity of the country at heart and respect for legality will prevail. [And] that the Catholic faithful in particular, led by their pastors, will know how to act so that dialogue and respect of persons and their goods will be practiced and promoted by all.

May Mary, Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, intercede for the reconciliation and concord of all the children of that beloved nation.

Yesterday, the first day of February, the end of the lunar year was celebrated by many millions of people, especially the Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans, who live this holiday in the intimacy of the family. I repeat to them the greetings I formulated in the message for the recent World Day of Peace: may the new year be a period of peace, founded on «four precise needs of the human spirit: truth, justice, love and liberty.» I would like my affectionate greetings to reach the heart of each one of them. My prayer accompanies them every day.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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