Pope Benedict Thanks Pro-Life Movement at Worldwide Prayer Vigil

International   Steven Ertelt   Nov 29, 2010   |   5:59PM    The Vatican

In his remarks on Saturday night celebrating the worldwide prayer vigil he called for the international pro-life community to pray for an earnest end to abortion, Pope Benedict thanked the pro-life movement.

“Dear brothers and sisters, our coming together this evening to begin the Advent journey is enriched by another important reason: with the entire Church, we want to solemnly celebrate a prayer vigil for unborn life. I wish to express my thanks to all who have taken up this invitation and those who are specifically dedicated to welcoming and safeguarding human life in different situations of fragility, especially in its early days and in its early stages.”

“[T]here is no reason not to consider [the human embryo] a person from conception. It’s not a question of a collection of biological material, but of a new living being, dynamic and marvelously ordered, a new individual of the human species. This is how Jesus was in Mary’s womb; this is how we each were in our mother’s womb.”

“I urge the protagonists of politics, economic and social communications to do everything in their power to promote a culture which respects human life, to provide favorable conditions and support networks for the reception and development of life.”

The Pope said the Catholic Church’s teachings on pro-life issues come out of its worry that the unborn child is most vulnerable to “the selfishness of adults and the clouding of consciences.”

“There are cultural tendencies that seek to anesthetize consciences with spurious arguments,” the Pope said.

Pope Benedict echoed his vigil homily in a Monday morning address to the bishops of the Philippines who are fighting a Reproductive Health bill that would promote birth control and contraception in the storngly Catholic nation.

“Thanks to the Gospel’s clear presentation of the truth about God and man, generations of zealous Filipino clergymen, religious and laity have promoted an ever more just social order. At times, this task of proclamation touches upon issues relevant to the political sphere. This is not surprising, since the political community and the Church, while rightly distinct, are nevertheless both at the service of the integral development of every human being and of society as a whole”.

“At the same time, the Church’s prophetic office demands that she be free ‘to preach the faith, to teach her social doctrine … and also to pass moral judgments in those matters which regard public order whenever the fundamental human rights of a person or the salvation of souls requires it’. In the light of this prophetic task, I commend the Church in the Philippines for seeking to play its part in support of human life from conception until natural death, and in defence of the integrity of marriage and the family. In these areas you are promoting truths about the human person and about society which arise not only from divine revelation but also from natural law, an order which is accessible to human reason and thus provides a basis for dialogue and deeper discernment on the part of all people of good will.”