In his annual address to the Members of the Diplomatic Corp accredited to the Holy See, Pope Benedict expressed concern over ongoing efforts to expand legalized abortion and destroy innocent life.
Pope Benedict also criticized the recent Inter-American Court of Human Rights decision that struck down a Costa Rican law that prohibited in vitro fertilization by redefining when life begins and ruling the embryo does not have the legal status of “person”.
At the same time, I must note with dismay that, in various countries, even those of Christian tradition, efforts are being made to introduce or expand legislation which decriminalizes abortion. Direct abortion, that is to say willed as an end or as a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law. In affirming this, the Catholic Church is not lacking in understanding and mercy, also towards the mother involved. Rather, it is a question of being vigilant lest the law unjustly alter the balance between the right to life of the mother and that of the unborn child, a right belonging equally to both. In this area, the recent decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights regarding in vitro fertilization, which arbitrarily redefines the moment of conception and weakens the defence of unborn life, is also a source of concern.
Pope Benedict also noted how “human rights” is being used to liberalize policy that is self-centered and self-seeking.
Sadly, especially in the West, one frequently encounters ambiguities about the meaning of human rights and their corresponding duties. Rights are often confused with exaggerated manifestations of the autonomy of the individual, who becomes self-referential, no longer open to encounter with God and with others, and absorbed only in seeking to satisfy his or her own needs. To be authentic, the defence of rights must instead consider human beings integrally, in their personal and communitarian dimensions.
LifeNews.com Note: Lisa Correnti writes for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Turtle Bay and Beyond blog and is used with permission.