Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Day of Life

This morning, the Pope paid a visit to S. Anna, the Vatican's "parish church," for a pastoral visit and to say Mass (ad-libbed homily) before heading back to The Window to give his (prepared) Angelus talk -- at which, yet again, no consistory (on whatever date) was announced.

The church sponsored the annual "Day for Life" in Italy today, and it was the crux of the catechetical talk.

From the AsiaNews summary of both events:
A clash of cultures is manifest in the division between who believes that human life, in the end, is at the mercy of man’s “autonomy” and who recognizes that “it is in the hands of God” motive of the Church’s essential mission: to proclaim “the God of life”....

In his proclamation of the right to life, which entails respect for human life in each of it’s phases, Pope Benedict made reference to two encyclicals: Evangelium vitae, by John Paul II, defined “a milestone in Church ministry” and his own Deus caritas est, underlining “the importance of charity in supporting and promoting human life. On this issue – he added – it is fundamental to promote just behaviour towards each other, before taking practical initiatives: the culture of life is in fact based on our care for one another privy of exclusion or discrimination. Each human life, such as it is – he underlined – deserves and demands that it be protected and promoted. we know only too well, he said, that this truth is often put at risk by today’s widespread hedonism, our pursuit of a so-called society of well being. when this happens human life is exalted as long as it facinates us and gives us pleasure, but when it is shadowed by illness or when it is no longer attractive, then it is no longer respected. if we are motivated by a profound love for others then it is possible to effectively promote and protect the beauty of life, from the unborn, to the ill and marginalized above all life in its final stages”....

A message of this beauty – he added – cannot be kept hidden, it must be proclaimed. In this context the exclamation of the Apostle Paul in the second reading is echoed: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel! (1 Cor 9,16)”. “This dear brothers and sisters – he added is the vocation and mission of the : to proclaim to the world that God is love and that He loves life and He vanquished, through Christ ,death and sin, freeing man from the slavery of physical, mental and spiritual evil”....

Referring to the message issued to mark the Day for Life, Benedict XVI underlined that “ in their message the Italian bishops wished to draw attention to the need to prioritize “respect for life”, which is “chief among human values” : man is not the owner of life, he is only the custodian. This truth which constitutes a primary point of natural law and which is illuminated by biblical revelation, today manifests itself as a “point of contradiction” in the light of the ruling mentality.