Today, October 22, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Saint John Paul II, undoubtedly one of the greatest Popes of the Contemporary Age.
Precisely this year marks the 27th anniversary of the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, published on March 25, 1995, a text with which the Polish Pope expressed one of the main concerns of his pontificate: the defense of the culture of life, seriously threatened in current times by what he called the "culture of death", embodied in scourges such as abortion and euthanasia, which some promote in the name of an aberrant conception of progress.
In that encyclical there are many paragraphs that are good for reflection, but I want to highlight some that seem especially valuable to me:
"Today there exists a great multitude of weak and defenceless human beings, unborn children in particular, whose fundamental right to life is being trampled upon. If, at the end of the last century, the Church could not be silent about the injustices of those times, still less can she be silent today, when the social injustices of the past, unfortunately not yet overcome, are being compounded in many regions of the world by still more grievous forms of injustice and oppression, even if these are being presented as elements of progress in view of a new world order."
"The emergence and ever more widespread development of bioethics is promoting more reflection and dialogue-between believers and non-believers, as well as between followers of different religions- on ethical problems, including fundamental issues pertaining to human life.
This situation, with its lights and shadows, ought to make us all fully aware that we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the "culture of death" and the "culture of life". We find ourselves not only "faced with" but necessarily "in the midst of" this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life."
"The appearance of the strictest respect for legality is maintained, at least when the laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are the result of a ballot in accordance with what are generally seen as the rules of democracy. Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality; the democratic ideal, which is only truly such when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person, is betrayed in its very foundations: "How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted? In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practised: some individuals are held to be deserving of defence and others are denied that dignity?" When this happens, the process leading to the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the State itself has already begun."
"To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin" (Jn 8:34)."
I believe that these words should be a wake-up call for today's society and also for the Church, because more insistence and clarity on these serious issues are often lacking. The Church cannot yield to the pressure of the dominant thought, even if the price to pay is the hatred and misunderstanding of certain political groups and their related media.
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