Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis spoke today to members of Italy’s Pro-life Movement (Movimento per la Vita), who gathered for the 35th National Conference of Life Help Centres. During his address, he encouraged them to foster their personal and social sensitivity vis-à-vis new life as well as better appreciate situations that affect the weakest.
"In existential dynamics,” the pontiff said, “everything is related.” For this reason, “We must nurture both personal and social sensitivity towards a new life as well as towards situations of poverty and exploitation that affect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Thus, ‘[H]ow can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, [. . .], if we fail to protect a human embryo,’ (Enc. Lett. Laudato si’, 120), and see that “human life is itself a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement" (ibid, 5). Sadly, many people live in poor conditions, and this requires our attention and solidarity.
"As appropriate and noble as what you do may be, it is not just a social service. For Christ’s disciples, helping hurt human life can mean meeting people in need, standing by their side, taking on their fragility and their pain so that they may recover. How many families are vulnerable because of poverty, disease, unemployment and homelessness! How many seniors bear the burden of pain and loneliness! How many young people are lost, threatened by addictions and other forms of bondage, and waiting to regain confidence in life!
“Hurt in body and soul, there people are icons of the man in the Gospel who, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, fell victim to robbers who stripped and beat him. He first experienced the indifference of some and then the kindness of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk, 10:30-37).
“On such a road, which runs through the desert of life, many hurt even in our times, because of today’s robbers who strip them not only of their possessions, but also of their dignity. Faced with the pain and needs of our helpless brothers and sisters, some look or move away, whilst others stop and respond with generous devotion to their cry for help.
“For 40 years now, you, members of the Movement for Life, have tried to emulate the Good Samaritan. Faced with various threats to human life, you reached out to your fellow man’s fragility; you got involved in society so that no one living in precarious circumstances would be excluded or rejected. Via Life Help Centres around Italy, you have been a source of hope and rebirth for many people.
"I thank you for the good you have done and you do with so much love. I encourage you to continue confidently on this path, as good Samaritans! Never tire of working for the protection of the most vulnerable people, who have the right to be born to life, as well as those who want a healthier and more dignified existence. In particular, there is need to work, at different levels and with perseverance, in the promotion and defence of the family, society’s first resource, especially with respect to the gift of children and the affirmation of women’s dignity.
“In view of this, I am happy to say that your work includes helping others regardless of their religion and nationality. The number of women, especially immigrant women, who come to your centres, shows that when offered concrete support, women, in spite of problems and restrictions, can bring forth from within a sense of love, life and motherhood.”