Pope Benedict Keeping Strong Pro-Life Views on Abortion in First Year

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 3, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pope Benedict Keeping Strong Pro-Life Views on Abortion in First Year

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 3, 2006

The Vatican (LifeNews.com) — Anyone replacing Pope John Paul II would have a difficult time equaling the remarkably principled pro-life positions the former pope took before he passed away last year.

Perhaps because of his prior role as the top watchdog of Catholic doctrine, Pope Benedict XVI has stood strong against practices like abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research.

Pope John Paul II died last April at age 84 after dealing with months of declining health, Parkinson’s disease and chronic hip ailments.

Father David O’Connell, President of Catholic University in Washington, told Voice of America that John Paul left behind an incredible pro-life legacy.

"[H]e was unwavering in his speaking about that, writing about that, and dealing with that issue within our world," Father O’Connell said of John Paul’s writings and speeches on abortion.

But Pope Benedict has proven himself more than capable in continuing to raise the pro-life standard for the Catholic Church.

In his first speech on pro-life issues last May, Pope Benedict urged church leaders to resist the temptation to "water down" the church’s pro-life teachings. He referred to John Paul, whom he said "when … faced with erroneous interpretations of freedom, underlined in an unequivocal way, the inviolability of human beings, the inviolability of human life from conception to natural death."

The new pontiff wasted little time in putting his stamp on the Church’s pro-life position on paper.

In June, the former Catholic cardinal released "The Europe of Benedict, in the Crisis of Cultures," a book that took task European nations which have legalized abortion.

The former cardinal criticized countries which condemn infanticide "while becoming virtually insensitive to abortion.”

"Maybe because in abortion you don’t see the face of who will be condemned and never see the light,” he wrote.

Pope Benedict has been just as forthright in his condemnation of euthanasia, human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

In February he urged Catholics to do everything possible to care for the "sick or damaged."

"Every human life as such deserves to be always defended and promoted," Benedict observed. "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."

An April 2005 Quinnipiac poll found Catholics in the U.S. agreed with Pope John Paul’s position against abortion and wanted it to continue under Pope Benedict.

The Quinnipiac Polling Institute poll found that two-thirds of Catholics oppose abortion in all or most cases. Eighty percent of Catholics said the pope’s traditional stance on issues such as abortion should stay the same.