Francis: “Every civil right is based on the right to life”

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“Human life is sacred and inviolable” and “every civil right is based on the “first and most fundamental right,” the right to life.” “The unborn child in the womb is the most concrete example of innocence.” These are just some of the key phrases Francis used in the speech he has given to members of the Italian Pro-Life Movement (Movimento per la Vita). The audience took place in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace. The Pope thanked representatives of the movement for the work they do to promote and defend human life “from conception”, inviting them to act to ensure “every woman feels regarded as a person who is heard, accepted, and accompanied.”

“Every civil right is based on the first and most fundamental right, the right to life: which is not subordinate to any condition, neither qualitative, nor economic, much less ideological,” the Pope said.

The Pope went on to quote his Apostolic Exhortation, the “Evangelii Gaudium”, explaining that: “Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills... Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “throw away” culture which is now spreading.”

According to the Pope one of the most serious risks our age is exposed to is the “divorce between economy and morality, so that as the market gives us every technical innovation, it neglects more and more elementary ethical standards. We must therefore reiterate the strongest opposition to any direct attack on life, especially innocent and defenceless life, and the unborn child in the womb is the most concrete example of innocence,” Francis stressed.

“Let us remember the words of the Second Vatican Council: From the moment of its conception, life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.”

Here, surrounded by the enthusiastic applause of the almost 500 people present and the screams of numerous children and babies who were being cradled in their parents’ arms, “It was as if I was in a kindergarten,” the Pope joked as he entered the Clementine Hall. He went on to describe an experience he had had during a meeting with doctors once: One of them took me to one side. He had a package with him and he said to me: ‘Father I want to hand this over to you. These are the instruments I used to carry out abortions. I found the Lord, I have repented and I am now fighting for life!’ He handed over a load of medical instruments. Please pray for this good man!”

“It is every Christian’s task to protect life t all its stages, with courage and love. I encourage you to always act with a style of nearness, of closeness: that every woman feels regarded as a person who is heard, accepted, and accompanied,” Francis went on to say, before adding off the cuff; “We spoke about children: there are so many of them! But I would also like to talk about grandparents who are on the other side of the spectrum of life! It is important we look after our grandparents because children and grandparents represent hope.”

“Just one final thing,” the Pope said. “When children cry, complain and shout it’s like wonderful music to my ears. But there are some children here who are crying from hunger: please don’t hesitate to feed them!”

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Mauro Pianta--