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Pope Francis’ Address to the Science and Life Association

“The degree of progress of a civilization is measured by its ability to protect life, especially in its most fragile stages, rather than by the spread of technological means.”

The following is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ address to participants in a meeting organized by the Science and Life Association on Saturday.

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I welcome you on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the founding of your Association, and I thank you for this meeting and for your commitment. I especially thank the Madam President for the kind words addressed to me in your name.

Your service in favor of the human person is important and encouraging. In fact, the protection and promotion of life represents a critical task, especially in a society marked by the negative logic of discarding. For this reason, I see your Association as hands that tend to other hands and sustain life.

It is a significant challenge, in which you guide the attitudes of openness, attention, and closeness to man in his concrete situation. This is very good. The hands that are grasped not only guarantee stability and balance, but transmit human warmth.

To protect the person you place two essential actions at the center: going out to meet and meeting to give support. The common dynamism of this movement goes from the center towards the peripheries. Christ is at the center. And from this focus you are directed towards the various conditions of human life.

The love of Christ urges us (cfr 2 Cor. 5,14) to become servants of the small ones and the elderly, of every man and every woman, through which the primordial right to life is recognized and protected. The existence of the human person, to which you dedicate your care, is also your constitutive principle, it is life in its unfathomable depth that originates and accompanies the whole scientific path; it is the miracle of life that undermines any form of scientific presumption, restoring primacy to wonder and beauty. Thus Christ, who is the light of mankind and the world, illuminates the path so that science may always be a service of life. When this light comes less, when knowledge forgets the contact with life, it becomes sterile. For this reason, I invite you to highly maintain your gaze on the sacredness of every human person, so that science may truly be at the service of man, and not man at the service of science.

The scientific reflection uses a magnifying glass to stop and analyze certain details. And thanks to these analytical capabilities, we reaffirm that a just society recognizes the right to life from conception to its natural end as primary. But, I would like for us to go beyond, and to think attentively to the time that unites the beginning with the end. Therefore, recognizing the priceless value of human life, we should also reflect on how we use it. Life is above all a gift. But this reality generates hope and a future if it is enlivened by fruitful ties, from family and social relationships that open new perspectives.

The degree of progress of a civilization is measured by its ability to protect life, especially in its most fragile stages, rather than by the spread of technological means. When we speak of man, let us never forget the attacks on the sacredness of human life. The scourge of abortion is an attack on life. Leaving our brothers on the boats in the Sicilian channel is an attack on life. Death in the workplace is an attack on life because the minimal security conditions are not respected. Death by malnutrition is an attack on life. Terrorism, war, violence and also euthanasia are an attack on life. Loving life means always to take care of the other, to wish him well, to cultivate and respect his transcendent dignity.

Dear friends, I encourage you to re-launch a renewed culture of life, that knows how to build networks of trust and reciprocity and knows how to offer horizons of peace, mercy and communion. Do not be afraid to embark on a fruitful dialogue with the whole world of science, even with those who, while not professing themselves as believers, remain open to the mystery of human life.

May the Lord bless you and Our Lady keep you. And, please, do not forget to pray for me! Thank you.

[Translation by Junno Arocho Esteves]

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