Pope Benedict XVI’s New Encyclical: Social Political Issues Tied to Pro-Life Ethic

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 7, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pope Benedict XVI’s New Encyclical: Social Political Issues Tied to Pro-Life Ethic

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 7
, 2009

The Vatican (LifeNews.com) — Pope Benedict XVI has released a new encyclical Caritas in veritate (Love in Truth), that says the numerous social political issues are all tied to the pro-life ethic.

The leader of the Catholic Church made it clear that human life must be protected from conception on and that the pro-life perspective can’t be compromised in pursuit of common ground on other political issues.

Although the new paper doesn’t mention pro-abortion President Barack Obama, some observers are seeing it as an indirect statement in response to his disingenuous pursuit of common ground on the abortion issue.

Pope Benedict says “one of the most striking aspects of development in the present day is the important question of respect for life, which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples.”

The pro-life perspective obligates people to "broaden our concept of poverty and underdevelopment to include questions connected with the acceptance of life, especially in cases where it is impeded in a variety of ways.”

He is upset that “some parts of the world still experience practices of demographic control, on the part of governments that often promote contraception and even go so far as to impose abortion.”

“In economically developed countries legislation contrary to life is very widespread, and it has already shaped moral attitudes and praxis, contributing to the spread of an anti-birth mentality; frequent attempts are made to export this mentality to other States as if it were a form of cultural progress," he laments.

"By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual," he writes.

“If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away," he says.

Pope Benedict relies on the connections to John Paul II’s Encyclical Evangelium Vitae to make his points.

His says that well-regarded work is “highly important for delineating the fully human meaning of the development that the Church proposes.”

“The Encyclical Humanae Vitae emphasizes both the unitive and the procreative meaning of sexuality, thereby locating at the foundation of society the married couple, man and woman, who accept one another mutually, in distinction and in complementarity: a couple, therefore, that is open to life," Pope Benedict writes.

“This is not a question of purely individual morality: Humanae Vitae indicates the strong links between life ethics and social ethics, ushering in a new area of magisterial teaching that has gradually been articulated in a series of documents," he added.

“The Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics,” the Pope writes.

Pope Benedict XVI also takes pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood to task.

He condemns those that “actively to spread abortion, at times promoting the practice of sterilization in poor countries, in some cases not even informing the women concerned.”

The pontiff also tackles bioethics issues in the new encyclical.

“Further grounds for concern are laws permitting euthanasia as well as pressure from lobby groups, nationally and internationally, in favor of its juridical recognition.”

He concludes by saying that “openness to life is at the center of true development,” and warns, “when a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good.”

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