Pope Francis Tells Congress to “Defend Life at Every Stage of Development”

National   Steven Ertelt   Sep 24, 2015   |   10:35AM    Washington, DC

Pope Francis brought a consistent pro-life message to the nation’s leaders today and admonished members of Congress in a speech today to “defend life at every stage of development.”

The Pope said:

Here I think of the political history of the United States, where democracy is deeply rooted in the mind of the American people. All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”

If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.

Pope Francis talked about the importance of the Golden Rule and said it has significant pro-life implications.

“The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development,” he said. “I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity.”

The Pope encouraged Congress “to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.”

He also indirectly referenced the pressure in pop culture against having children.

“At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future,” he said.

After the address, Congressman Tim Huelskamp, one of the leading pro-life advocates in the House, told LifeNews.com he appreciated Pope Francis’ comments about defending human life.

“My family and I were blessed to hear from Pope Francis yesterday and today. He’s inspired us to continue fighting for our beliefs rooted in the clear teachings of our Catholic faith, especially the sanctity of life, marriage, family, and religious liberty,” he said. “George Washington reminded us in his farewell address that national morality cannot prevail in exclusion of religious principle. I am praying Francis’ visit inspires Catholics and non-Catholics alike to return to our nation’s founding principles and reliance on our Heavenly Father.”

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The comments to Congress follow on a speech to the nation’s Catholic bishops, Pope Francis encouraged them to remain vigilant in their opposition to abortion and he listed unborn children among those innocent people who the bishops must keep at the top of the priority list of people who deserve protection.

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The pontiff lists “the innocent victim of abortion, children who die of hunger or from bombings, immigrants who drown in the search for a better tomorrow, the elderly or the sick who are considered a burden, the victims of terrorism, wars, violence and drug trafficking, the environment devastated by man’s predatory relationship with nature – at stake in all of this is the gift of God, of which we are noble stewards but not masters.”

“It is wrong, then, to look the other way or to remain silent,” he says.

“Ever present within each of them is life as gift and responsibility. The future freedom and dignity of our societies depends on how we face these challenges,” the Pope continues.

Father Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, told LifeNews he is encouraged by the Pope’s remarks but before the bishops and at the White House this morning.

“Anyone who was listening to the words of Pope Francis heard, as I did, very profound implications for our fight against abortion,” he said. “When the pope spoke of having an opportunity to offer ‘words of encouragement’ to lawmakers as they guide the nation in fidelity ‘to its founding principles,’ he was clearly referring to the Declaration of Independence and its guarantee, first and foremost, of the right to life.”

Pavone concluded: “And when he spoke of building a tolerant society, ‘rejecting every form of unjust discrimination,’ we can see that abortion is the ultimate injustice and discrimination against the unborn. When the pope says we must defend the rights of everyone, that clearly includes the unborn.”

In Cuba, Pope Francis on Sunday told a group of nuns, priests, bishops and seminarians to protect their “smallest” and most vulnerable members, including unborn children. CNN reports that he also said Jesus shines in the lives of hidden and ignored people, referring to those who suffer from degenerative diseases.

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