Vatican City (AsiaNews) – At a time when the institution of the family is in “profound crisis”, religious and political institutions should extend a helping hand, not least because it represents the natural environment for the birth and growth of children and for safeguarding life, which is to be respected even when it is at its weakest and most vulnerable, as in the case of a newborn or dying person.
The celebration in Italy of the Day for Life, based on the theme “Love and desire life” was visibly marked in St Peter’s Square by hundreds of green balls scattered among the 30,000 people who turned up for the recital of the Angelus. It was the commemoration of this day that prompted Benedict XVI to make yet another appeal in defence of life.
On a bright day reminiscent of springtime – which the pope drew attention to – Benedict XVI turned to “all men and women of goodwill” and asked that they should “welcome the great and mysterious gift of life. Life, which is the work of God, should not be denied to anyone, not even to the smallest defenceless newborn, especially if the baby has serious disabilities. At the same time, echoing the Pastors of the Church in Italy, I urge all not fall prey to the deception of thinking that they can dispose of life to the extent of ‘legitimizing its disruption with euthanasia, perhaps masking it with a veil of human pity’.”
Benedict XVI then referred to the “Week of life and the family” that starts today in the diocese of Rome. He made a forceful call for the safeguarding of the family, “which is the ‘cradle’ of life and of all vocations. We are well aware how a family founded on matrimony constitutes the natural environment for the birth and education of children and thus assures the future of all humanity. However we also know how it is marked by deep crisis and must today face multiple challenges. It must therefore be defended, helped, safeguarded and valued in its irreplaceable uniqueness. While this commitment is first and foremost up to spouses, the Church and all public institutions also have as a priority the duty to support the family through pastoral and political initiatives that take into account the real needs of spouses, the elderly and new generations. A serene family climate, enlightened by faith and a holy fear of God, also encourages the blossoming and flourishing of vocations in the service of the Gospel. I refer in particular, apart from those who are called to follow Christ in the path of the priesthood, to all religious, men and women, consecrated people, who we remembered last Friday during the ‘World Day of Consecrated Life’.”
The Pope invited all to pray so that “through a constant effort in favour of life and the institution of the family, our communities may be places of communion and hope where the big ‘yes’ to authentic love and to the reality of mankind and the family according to the original plan of God may be renewed, even if amid many difficulties. Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Most Holy Mary, that respect for the sacredness of life may grow, that there will be ever more awareness of the true needs of the family, and that the number of those contributing to realizing a culture of love in the world may grow.”
After the Angelus, the pope turned his thoughts to Sri Lanka, greeting in English a group of government officials involved in reconstruction works in Tsunami-afflicted areas. He said: “Today’s Gospel shows us the great spiritual fecundity that accompanies our decision that accompanies the call of the Lord.”