From a Hospital, on Italy's Pro-Life Day

“First Among the Great Challenges of Humanity”

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 6, 2005 ( Here is a translation of the address read today by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Vatican Secretariat of State, on behalf of John Paul II, before the Pope imparted his apostolic blessing from the window of his room at the Gemelli Polyclinic, where he is hospitalized.

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1. Today I address you from the Gemelli Polyclinic, where I have been for a few days looked after with loving solicitude by doctors, nurses and health personnel whom I thank from my heart.

All of you receive, dear brothers and sisters, and all those in every part of the world who are close to me, the expression of my gratitude for the sincere and participatory affection, which I have felt during these days in a particularly intense way.

I assure my gratitude to each and all, which is translated in constant invocation to the Lord for your intentions, as well as for the needs of the Church, and for the great causes of the world. So, also here in hospital, in the midst of the other patients, to whom I address my affectionate greetings, I continue to serve the Church and the whole of humanity.

2. Pro-life Day is being observed today in Italy. In the message published for this occasion, the Italian bishops emphasize the mystery of life as a reality that requires confidence. One must have confidence in life!

Confidence in life is demanded silently by children who are yet unborn. Confidence is also asked by so many children who, remaining without a family for different reasons, need a home that will receive them through adoption or temporary custody.

3. With special solicitude I think, therefore, of the beloved Italian people and of all those who have at heart the defense of nascent life. In particular, I stand by the Italian bishops who continue to exhort Catholics and people of good will to defend the fundamental right to life, in respect for the dignity of every human person.

May Mary, Queen of Families, help us to overcome the “challenge of life,” which is the first among the great challenges of humanity today.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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