General Audience - Vatican Media

‘With St. John Paul II, I Confirm With Renewed Conviction, His Appeal to Respect & Defend Every Life’ (Full Text of General Audience on Annunciation)

‘The life we are asked to promote and protect is no abstract idea, but becomes real flesh and blood in the unborn child, the terminally ill, the refugee and the outcast’

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The life we have been called to promote and to defend isn’t an abstract concept, but is always manifested in a person in flesh and bone: a baby just conceived, the terminally ill, and in any person…

Every human life, unique and unrepeatable, has value in itself and constitutes an inestimable value, and must be defended…

Unfortunately, attacks on human life and dignity are continuing, and laws often do not protect the most vulnerable…

John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae is more timely than ever…

These four points were at the heart of Pope Francis’ catechesis during his General Audience, this Wednesday, March 25, 2020, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord and 25th anniversary of St. Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical Evangelium vitae, on the value and inviolability of human life.

In the midst of the coronavirus epidemic spreading worldwide, like the Holy Father’s morning Masses and Angelus, this too was made available to faithful via streaming and done privately in his apostolic library.

Today, the Pontiff, in his catechesis focused on the importance of this great encyclical of his predecessor and how every life, from conception to natural death, is of inestimable importance.

Defend Baby in Womb …. Life to Defend Isn’t ‘Abstract Concept’

“The life we have been called to promote and to defend,” Pope Francis underscored, “isn’t an abstract concept, but is always manifested in a person in flesh and bone: a baby just conceived, a poor marginalized man, a sick man alone and discouraged or in a terminal state, one who has lost his job or unable to find one, a migrant rejected or ghettoized.”

Life, he reminded, is manifested concretely in persons.

“Every human being,” Pope Francis stressed, “is called by God to enjoy the fullness of life; and, being entrusted to the maternal solicitude of the Church, every threat to human dignity and life cannot but have repercussions in her heart, in her maternal “innermost being.”

For the Church, he said, the defense of life “isn’t an ideology,” but “a reality, a human reality.”

“Unfortunately,” the Pontiff decried, “attacks on the dignity and life of people continues also in our time, which is the time of Universal Human Rights.”

Lamenting new threats to life, Francis observed: “laws don’t always protect the weakest and most vulnerable human life.”

‘Evangelium Vitae’ More Timely Than Ever

“Therefore,” he observed, “the message of the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae is more than ever timely.”

Beyond the emergencies, such as the one we are living, the Jesuit Pope stated, “it’s about acting on the cultural and educational plane to transmit to the future generations an attitude to solidarity, to care, to hospitality, knowing well that the culture of life isn’t the exclusive patrimony of Christians, but belongs to all those that, doing their utmost to build fraternal relations, recognize the value proper of every person, also when the person is fragile and suffering.”

“Every human life, unique and unrepeatable,” he reminded, “has value in itself and constitutes an inestimable value. This is always proclaimed again, with the courage of the word and with the courage of actions.”

Francis reiterated the necessity for solidarity and fraternal love for the great human family and for each of its members.

With John Paul II, & Renewed Conviction, Francis Appeals for Life

“Therefore, with Saint John Paul II, who wrote this Encyclical,” Pope Francis stressed, “I confirm with renewed conviction the appeal he made to all twenty-five years ago: “Respect, defend, love and serve life, every life, every human life! Only in this way will you find justice, development, freedom, peace and happiness!” (Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, 5).

At the audience’s conclusion, Francis made an appeal for Christians worldwide to join him, today, in reciting the Our Father, in Latin, and to take part in the private moment of prayer, which will be held on Friday, March 27, 6 pm, in the courtyard of Saint Peter’s Basilica. The Pope will pray before an empty square and faithful can follow along via streaming.

The General Audience ended with the Pope giving his Apostolic Blessing.

Here is the Vatican-provided English summary of today’s General Audience, followed by the full Zenit translation of the Pope’s full address:

***

Speaker:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: Twenty-five years ago today, on the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Saint John Paul II issued his Encyclical Evangelium Vitae on the value and inviolability of human life. The Gospel of life lies at the heart of Christ’s message, and resonates in a particular way in the current context of a pandemic that threatens the human family. With gratitude I call to mind the quiet witness of the many people who today are doing all they can to help the sick, elderly, poor and lonely. They are putting the Gospel of life into practice, like Mary who accepted the angel’s message and then went to visit her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth. The life we are asked to promote and protect is no abstract idea, but becomes real flesh and blood in the unborn child, the terminally ill, the refugee and the outcast. The Church feels in the depths of her heart every threat to human life, for each person is unique and unrepeatable, in need of solidarity and fraternal love. Today, I renew the appeal made by Saint John Paul II, to “respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this way will you find justice, development, freedom, peace and happiness!” (Evangelium Vitae, 5).

Speaker:

I greet the English-speaking faithful joining us through the media, as we continue on our Lenten journey towards Easter. Upon you and your families, I invoke the strength and peace that come from our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!

[Vatican-provided text]

***

FULL GENERAL AUDIENCE ADDRESS–

[Working Translation by ZENIT’s Virginia Forrester]

This morning’s General Audience was held at 9:30 am from the Library of the Apostolic Vatican Palace.

In his address in Italian, the Pope focused his meditation on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, observed today, March 25. 

After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father expressed special greetings to the faithful. Then he made an appeal to join, today, in the recitation of the Our Father and to take part in the moment of prayer, which will be held on Friday, March 27, in the courtyard of Saint Peter’s Basilica.

The General Audience ended with the Apostolic Blessing.

* * *

The Holy Father’s Catechesis

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Twenty-five years ago, on this same date of March 25, which in the Church is the Solemn Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, Saint John Paul II promulgated the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, on the value of the inviolability of human life. The link between the Annunciation and the “Gospel of Life” is close and profound, as Saint John Paul underscored in his Encyclical. Today we meet to re-launch this teaching in the context of a pandemic that threatens human life and the global economy — a situation that makes one feel even more the demanding words with which he begins the Encyclical. Here they are: “The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Received by the Church every day with love, it is proclaimed with courageous fidelity as good news to men of every time and culture” (n. 1).

As every evangelical proclamation, this is also first of all witnessed. And I think gratefully of the silent witness of so many people that, in different ways, are spending themselves at the service of the sick, of the elderly, of those that are alone and more indigent. They put into practice the Gospel of life, as Mary that, receiving the angel’s announcement, went to help her cousin Elizabeth who was in need of it. 

In fact, the life we have been called to promote and to defend isn’t an abstract concept, but is always manifested in a person in flesh and bone: a baby just conceived, a poor marginalized man, a sick man alone and discouraged or in a terminal state, one who has lost his job or unable to find one, a migrant rejected or ghettoized . . . Life is manifested concretely in persons. 

Every human being is called by God to enjoy the fullness of life; and, being entrusted to the maternal solicitude of the Church, every threat to human dignity and life cannot but have repercussions in her heart, in her maternal “innermost being.” For the Church, the defense of life isn’t an ideology; it’s a reality, a human reality that involves all Christians, precisely because they are Christians and human.

Unfortunately, attacks on the dignity and life of people continues also in our time, which is the time of Universal Human Rights; instead, we find ourselves faced with new threats and new slaveries, and the legislations don’t always protect the weakest and most vulnerable human life.

Therefore, the message of the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae is more than ever timely. Beyond the emergencies, such as the one we are living, it’s about acting on the cultural and educational plane to transmit to the future generations an attitude to solidarity, to care, to hospitality, knowing well that the culture of life isn’t the exclusive patrimony of Christians, but belongs to all those that, doing their utmost to build fraternal relations, recognize the value proper of every person, also when the person is fragile and suffering. 

Dear brothers and sisters, every human life, unique and unrepeatable, has value in itself and constitutes an inestimable value. This is always proclaimed again, with the courage of the word and with the courage of actions. This calls for solidarity and fraternal love for the great human family and for each of its members. Therefore, with Saint John Paul II, who wrote this Encyclical, I confirm with renewed conviction the appeal he made to all twenty-five years ago: “Respect, defend, love and serve life, every life, every human life! Only in this way will you find justice, development, freedom, peace and happiness!” (Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, 5). 

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

In Italian 

I greet you all warmly Italian-speaking faithful. I encourage you to be always confident in God’s mercy and generous with your neighbour, especially in these times of uncertainty. 

A special thought goes to young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. Today, Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, I entrust all to the Mother of Jesus and our Mother. May She, who said “yes” at Nazareth, help you every day to say your “yes” to the Lord, who calls you to receive Him and follow Him in all the concrete situations in which you find yourselves living. God bless you. 

[Original text: Italian]

The Holy Father’s Appeal 

Shortly, at midday, we Pastors of the various Christian Communities, together with the faithful of different Confessions, will gather spiritually to invoke God with the prayer of the Our Father. Let us unite our voices in supplication to the Lord in these days of suffering, while the world is sorely tried by the pandemic. May the good and merciful Father hear the concordant prayer of His children who, with confident hope, turn to His Omnipotence. 

I also renew to all the invitation to take part spiritually, through the means of communication, in the moment of prayer over which I will preside at 6:00 pm on Friday, in the courtyard of Saint Peter’s Basilica. The listening to the Word of God and the Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament will be followed by the Urbi et Orbi Blessing, with the attached Plenary Indulgence. 

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

 

 

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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