VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Peace dictates that life be respected from the moment of conception until natural death, John Paul II says.
The Pope addressed the need for the respect of life when he met today with some 150 representatives of the Italian Pro-Life Movement, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. It arose with the legalization of abortion in Italy in 1978.
In his address, the Holy Father recalled the message left by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whom the Italian Movement regards as its spiritual president.
The Pope said that when she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, the nun “had the courage to affirm before leaders of political communities: ‘If we accept that a mother can do away with the fruit of her womb, what is left for us? Abortion is the principle that endangers peace in the world.'”
“It is true! There can be no authentic peace without respect for life, especially for the innocent and defenseless, as are unborn children,” the Pope said. “Basic coherence requires that those who seek peace defend life.”
“No action for peace can be effective if it is not opposed with the same force to the attacks against life in each of its phases, from the moment it emerges, until natural death,” he added.
This is why the Pro-Life Movement is “a genuine movement for peace, precisely because it makes every effort to safeguard life always,” the Pope explained.
Addressing women in particular, John Paul II renewed his appeal that they “defend the alliance between women and life” and “become promoters of a new feminism which rejects the temptation of imitating models of male domination in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation.”
The Italian Pro-Life Movement reckons that it has helped to save 60,000 children from abortion, and offered spiritual, psychological and material help to their mothers. See http://www.mpv.org.