Pope Francis today reiterated the Church's love for human life, encouraging that life be protected especially at its beginning stages, from conception, and at the end, with the elderly.
The Pope said this as he addressed representatives from the Italian pro-life movement.
"We know it, human life is sacred and inviolable. Every civil right rests on the recognition of the first and fundamental right of life, which is not subordinated to any condition, either qualitative or economic and least of all ideological," he said.
The Pope repeated his warning from Evangelii Gaudium, that a "throw-away culture" is growing, spreading a disregard for life.
"One of the gravest risks to which our time is exposed is the divorce between economy and morality, between the possibilities offered by a market furnished with every technological novelty and the elementary norms of human nature, ever more neglected," Francis stated.
In such a context, he added, "It is necessary to confirm the firmest opposition to every direct attempt against life, especially innocent and vulnerable life, and the unborn in the maternal womb is the innocent one par excellence."
As is often his style, the Holy Father illustrated his message with a personal story: "I recall that once, a long time ago, I had a conference with doctors. After the conference I greeted the doctors – this happened so long ago. I was greeting the doctors, talking with them, and one called me aside. He had a package and he said to me: “Father, I want to leave this with you. These are the instruments that I have used to cause abortion. I have found the Lord, I have repented, and I now fight for life.” He gave me all these instruments. Pray for this good man!"
Pope Francis encouraged an "evangelical witness" that lovingly and courageously protects life in all its stages, specifically so that "every woman feels regarded as a person, heard, received and supported."
Francis also reiterated his concern for the plight of the elderly.
We spoke of children, he said, but "I would also like to talk of grandparents, the other part of life! -- because we must also take care of grandparents, because children and grandparents are the hope of a people."
The Pontiff said in our throw-away culture, both children and grandparents are "thought of as material to be discarded."
"No!" he exclaimed. "Children and grandparents are the hope of a people!"
The Holy Father concluded by saying that when speaking of life, the Virgin Mary comes to mind: "Let us turn to our Mother; may she may protect us all."
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