Defending Life an Act of Love, Says Benedict XVI

Speaks on Pro-Life Day in Italy

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 5, 2006 ( Benedict XVI says that defending life from beginning to end is an authentic act of love for every person.

The Pope said this today after praying the Angelus address with those gathered St. Peter’s Square, including a group representing Italy’s Pro-Life movement. Today the Church in Italy and other countries observed Pro-Life Day.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope’s vicar for Rome, and president of the Italian bishops’ conference, was also present.

“Even before undertaking operative initiatives, it is essential to promote an appropriate attitude to the other,” said the Holy Father, referring to the central message of his first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est” (God Is Love).

According to the Bishop of Rome, “the culture of life is based, in fact, on attention to others, without exclusions or discriminations.”

“‘All’ human life, as such, is worthy of and calls for being defended and promoted always,” he said, speaking from the window of his study.

The good life

Benedict XVI continued: “This truth runs the risk of being contradicted often by the widespread hedonism in the so-called welfare societies: Life is exalted while it is enjoyable, but there is a tendency to stop respecting it when it is sick or experiences some kind of disability.”

Beginning “from profound love for every person,” he added, “it is possible to apply effective forms of service to life, both the nascent as well as that marked by marginalization or suffering, especially in its terminal phase.”

The Holy Father recalled that one of the contributions of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate, particularly in his encyclical “Evangelium Vitae,” was the framing of “moral aspects in a broad spiritual and cultural context,” confirming “that human life is a primary value that must be acknowledged, and that the Gospel calls to be respected always.”

Benedict XVI commended to Mary “women who are expecting a child; families; health agents; and volunteers committed in different ways in the service of life. We pray, in particular, for people who are in situations of great difficulty.”

“Two mentalities”

Benedict XVI also spoke on the topic of defending life during his pastoral visit this morning to the Vatican parish of St. Anne.

The Holy Father said that in modern times “two mentalities are opposed irreconcilably.”

The Pope continued: “Expressing ourselves in simplified terms, we might say: One of the two mentalities considers that human life is in the hands of man, the other recognizes that it is in the hands of God.

“Modern culture has underlined legitimately the autonomy of man and of temporal affairs, thus developing a perspective appreciated by Christianity, that of the Incarnation of God.”

He added: “But, as the Second Vatican Council clearly states, if the expression, the independence of temporal affairs, is taken to mean that created things do not depend on God, and that man can use them without any reference to their Creator, anyone who acknowledges God will see how false such a meaning is.

“For without the Creator the creature would disappear.”

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