Real Progress Requires Respect for Life and Marriage, Says Pope

In Address to Argentine Envoy

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 29, 2004 ( John Paul II says there can be no genuine development if the fundamental rights of life and the family are not respected.

The Pope expressed this Saturday when greeting the new ambassador of Argentina to the Holy See, Carlos Luis Custer. The ambassador is a trade unionist and a member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

In his address to the Argentine envoy, the Holy Father highlighted two requirements to “construct a society based on fundamental values that cannot be given up, for a national and international order worthy of the human being.”

“One is certainly the value of human life itself, without which not only is the right broken of every human being from the moment of conception until his natural end — which no one can claim for himself the power of violating — but the very principle of all human coexistence is reduced,” the Pope began.

“It is worth asking what sense it makes to improve ways of living together if life itself is not guaranteed,” he added.

“It is necessary, therefore, that this value be guarded with care, quickly impeding all attempts to degrade, in a more or less veiled way, the primordial good of life, converting it into a mere instrument for other ends,” the Pontiff continued.

The other pillar of society and, therefore, of progress, is “marriage, union of man and woman, open to life, which gives place to the natural institution of the family,” he clarified.

“The latter is not only anterior to any other larger order of human coexistence, but upholds it, being in itself an original fabric of intimate relations guided by love, mutual support and solidarity,” the Pope explained.

“Because of this, the family has its own rights and duties that it must exercise in the realm of its own autonomy,” the Holy Father said in Spanish.

“According to the principle of subsidiarity,” he said, “to lawmakers and to the political measures of larger societies corresponds the task of guaranteeing these rights scrupulously and of helping the family in its duties when the latter are beyond its capacity to fulfill them.”

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