Here is a translation of the Pope’s address today to representatives from the Italian Pro-Life Movement.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I give my cordial welcome to each one of you. I greet the Honorable Carlo Casini and I thank him for his words, but above all I express my gratitude to him for all the work he has done for many years in the Pro-Life Movement. I hope that when the Lord calls him it will be the children who open the door for him up there! I greet the Presidents of the Centers of Aid to Life and those responsible for various services, in particular of the “Gemma Project,” which in these 20 years has made possible, through a particular form of concrete solidarity, the birth of so many children who otherwise would not have seen the light. Thank you for the witness you give promoting and defending human life from its conception!
We know it, human life is sacred and inviolable. Every civil right rests on the recognition of the first and fundamental right of life, which is not subordinated to any condition, either qualitative or economic and least of all ideological.
“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not kill’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. … Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a ‘throw away’ culture which is now spreading. (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 53). And so life is also discarded.
One of the gravest risks to which our time is exposed is the divorce between economy and morality, between the possibilities offered by a market furnished with every technological novelty and the elementary norms of human nature, ever more neglected. Therefore, it is necessary to confirm the firmest opposition to every direct attempt against life, especially innocent and vulnerable life, and the unborn in the maternal womb is the innocent one par excellence. We recall the words of Vatican Council II: “Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.” (Constitution Gaudium et spes, 51). I recall that once, a long time ago, I had a conference with doctors. After the conference I greeted the doctors – this happened so long ago. I was greeting the doctors, talking with them, and one called me aside. He had a package and he said to me: “Father, I want to leave this with you. These are the instruments that I have used to cause abortion. I have found the Lord, I have repented, and I now fight for life.” He gave me all these instruments. Pray for this good man!
For one who is a Christian, this evangelical witness must always be given: to protect life with courage and love in all its phases. I encourage you to do so always with the style of closeness, of proximity: so that every woman feels regarded as a person, heard, received and supported.
We spoke of children: there are so many! But I would also like to talk of grandparents, the other part of life! — because we must also take care of grandparents, because children and grandparents are the hope of a people. The children, the young people, because they carry it forward, they will carry these people forward; and the grandparents because they have the wisdom of history, they are the memory of a people. To protect life at a time when children and grandparents enter in this throw-away culture and are thought of as material to be discarded. No! Children and grandparents are the hope of a people!
Dear brothers and sisters may the Lord support the action you engage in as Centers of Aid to Life and as a Pro-Life Movement, in particular the project “One of Us.” I entrust you to the celestial intercession of the Virgin Mother Mary and, from my heart, I bless you and your families, your children, and your grandparents, and pray for me as I need it!
When speaking of life, the memory of the mother comes immediately
One last thing. For me, when children cry, when children lament, when they shout, it is a most beautiful music. But some children cry because they are hungry. Please give them to eat here calmly![Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]