To the members of the Italian Pro-Life Movement

25 January 1986

On Saturday, 25 January the Holy Father received in audience the members of the Italian Pro-Life Movement.  He gave the following address:

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Pro-Life Movement,

1. Welcome!  I greet you most cordially and thank you for your visit which, among other things, affords me the opportunity to take up again a topic worthy of constant attention given its exceptional importance.  I greet your President in particular, as well as the Hon. Casini, the tireless animator of your Movement, each one from the National leadership, and the Regional Delegates.

I would immediately like to say to you that life is one of those basic values for whose care and promotion society itself exists, and this is expressed in its structures.  No one can appreciate this value as much as a Christian who believes in a God who reveals himself in this way:  “Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him” (Lk 20:38;  a God who, in order to renew mankind’s countenance and heart, sent to earth his own Son in whom is the very source of life (cf. Jn 1:4; 16:6, …).

For these reasons, in an age in which the culture of death seems prevalent, the Church is committed to enlightening and urging, with pastoral insistence, the public opinion of each country to support a reversal of trends.

2. Since its origins, your Movement has dedicated itself generously to collaborate with other forces of good will, first to oppose the passage and to lessen the effects of a law which allows the suppression of innocent beings and which is used more and more as a means of birth control.  Today your Movement offers its own participation and aid to mothers in difficulty and families in danger while reminding each one of his or her own responsibilities so that health care facilities and especially family counselling centres may be places where life is effectively defended and not prematurely wiped out.

3. Elimination of the unborn child’s life today, sadly, is a very widespread phenomenon in the world, even in nations with ancient Christian traditions, such as Italy.  Financed by public funds, it is facilitated by human laws together with a series of arguments whose flimsiness and defects are easily recognized.

In reality, abortion is a serious defeat for man and civil society.  With it the life of a human being is sacrificed for the sake of much lesser values, often due to motives based on lack of courage and confidence in life, and at times on the desire for a false well-being.  The state, instead of intervening – which is its mission – to defend the endangered innocent beings by preventing their suppression and guaranteeing their existence and growth with adequate means, authorizes and even concurs in exercising a death sentence.

This is one of the most troubling consequences of theoretical and practical materialism which, by rejecting God, ends up rejecting even man, in his essential, transcendent dimension;  it is a result of consumerist hedonism which puts immediate interests as the goal of human activity.

The Church has not failed to intervene clearly and vigorously in denouncing abortion both as a serious offence against the law of God, the sole Lord of life, and as a violation of the primary and inalienable right of the human person to exist.  She will continue to intervene in order to convince man to restore fundamental moral values at the basis of society without which a truly civil social life cannot be built.  Civilization, in fact, is measured first of all by its respect and promotion of life throughout all the stages of human existence.

4. My dear brothers and sisters, on 2 February next you will celebrate the eighth Pro-Life Day.  For that occasion, I wish to express to you and your collaborators my active encouragement to continue your work unceasingly, to improve its quality and its ability to penetrate, and to develop it in the whole range of its expressions.

You are aware that the struggle is difficult.

Never lose the clarity of your ideas, the impulse of the ideal nor the necessary propulsive dynamism needed.  Do not be discouraged by the complexity and length of the struggle.  Truth and good will triumph, even if not in the short term.

Make efforts to seek collaboration among all available energies;  there are many and they must be awakened.  Stimulate those sectors hiding behind agnosticism and non-involvement.  Call on the limitless reserves of volunteers.  In this field, since it goes beyond human forces, do not fail to invoke  the protection of the Blessed Virgin, Mary Most Holy.

And, as a sign of divine help, receive my Apostolic Blessing.

John Paul II