Since his stance on abortion was questioned, Pope Francis has preached many, many messages confirming that the Catholic Church will not give up fighting for the value of every human life from the moment of conception.
This week, the pontiff addressed a group from the Pontifical Academy for Life at the Vatican, calling on Catholics to reject modern cultural trends that obscure the value of human life, the National Catholic Register reports. The academy, founded in 1994 by St. John Paul II, defends human life according to Christian moral teachings, according to the report.
Pope Francis told the group that modern culture has reduced human nature “to mere matter that may be molded according to any design. Our humanity, however, is unique and so precious in God’s eyes. For this reason, the first nature to protect, so that it may bear fruit, is our human nature itself.”
According to the report:
Pope Francis said that contemporary culture still has the principles to affirm that man is to be protected. However, this value is often threatened by “moral uncertainties that do not allow life to be defended in an effective way.”
“Not infrequently, it can happen that ‘splendid vices’ are disguised under the mask of virtue,” he said. He stressed the necessity to cultivate virtues through continual discernment. Virtues must be rooted in God, the source of all virtue.
“The good that man does is not the result of calculations or strategies, or even the product of genetic programming or social conditioning. It is, rather, the fruit of a well-disposed heart and of the free choice that tends to true goodness.”
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He told the group that the best ways to protect life are by showing compassion to others and pointing out the beauty of every human life. Pope Francis encouraged the pro-life group to not rely on government or society to protect life but to rely on God to change people’s hearts and minds for life.
“(T)he more the heart tends towards selfishness and evil, the more difficult it is to change,” he said. “As Jesus affirms, ‘Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.’ And when the heart is corrupt, there are grave consequences for social life, as the prophet Jeremiah reminds us.”
“This condition cannot change either through theories or by the effect of social or political reforms,” Pope Francis continued. “Only the work of the Holy Spirit may change our hearts, if we collaborate: God himself, in fact, assures his effective grace to all those who seek it and those who convert with all their hearts.”
During the pope’s visit to America last year, he talked about the cultural destruction that comes from abortion.
The pontiff listed “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.”
“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 said.