by Steven Ertelt
February 6, 2006
The Vatican (LifeNews.com) — Pope Benedict XVI issued a strong condemnation of abortion and euthanasia on Sunday when he called on Catholics and others to protect life, especially those who are "sick or damaged." The comments marked the Italian Catholic Church’s "Day for Life."
"We know well that this truth risks being contradicted by the hedonism of the so-called well-off societies: Life is exalted as long as it’s pleasant, but one tends to not respect it any more when it is sick or damaged," Benedict said.
According to an AP report, the pontiff made the remarks during his Sunday blessing at St. Peter’s Square.
The pontiff described the need to care for those who may become victims of euthanasia or assisted suicide.
"Every human life as such deserves to be always defended and promoted," Benedict added. "Life is exalted while it is enjoyable, but there is a tendency to stop respecting it when it is sick or experiences some kind of disability."
"Beginning, on the contrary, from profound love for every person, it is possible to apply effective forms of service to life: both the nascent as well as that marked by marginalization or suffering, especially in its terminal phase," he said.
The pope cited the 1995 encyclical "Evangelium Vitae," a highly revered document written by former Pope John Paul II against abortion and bioethics concerns like embryonic stem cell research and experimentation.
AP reported that he said he found inspiration from the former Catholic leader "who dedicated constant attention to these issues."
He said John Paul’s work "represents an authentic cornerstone in the Church’s teaching on such a current, decisive question."
The pope saluted Italian pro-life advocates and praised their involvement in "defense and promotion of human life, especially when it is found in difficult conditions."
Pope Benedict also spoke at a mass at a local church in the Vatican and said people wrongly believe that they are the master of life when life depends on God.
"Man is not the owner of life, but the custodian and caretaker," he explained, adding that there are two schools of thought on how to value human life.
"One maintains that human life is in the hands of man, and the other recognizes that it is in God’s hands," he said. The other, based on Christian views, respects human life and human rights.
"When God is not present, man is not respected."
According to a Catholic World News report, the pope also addressed the importance of mothers at the church, saying their instructions to their children is "not only from the intellect but from the heart."