03/16/2007, 00.00
VATICAN
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With life under attack right-minded people must mobilise, in the political field if need be

A statement by the Pontifical Academy for Life on the “Christian conscience in support of the right to life” reiterates the importance of conscientious objection in the health field, but also in politics.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Given certain growing cultural and social attitudes vis-à-vis the right to life, reason enlightened by faith must inform how Christians face the issue and help “mobilisation in favour of life,” including the “political level,” this according to the final statement released today by the 13th General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which held an international congress in the Vatican from February 23 to 24 on the theme “Christian conscience in support of the right to life.”

The need to continue forming and developing one’s conscience, which is necessary to “achieve goodness in truth,” has become “clearly evident as certain cultural and social issues emerge with regard to the right to life in the context of the family, the responsibilities of spouses and parents, health care professionals and politics.”

The statement goes on to say that “it is increasingly necessary and urgent that Christians, in adopting truly human values—beginning with the fundamental right to life in its physical existence and dignity—, take on the task to consider such issues in terms of reason enlightened by faith in order to express one’s judgment about the moral import of one’s acts.”

In today’s world, in a cultural environment characterized by a loss of faith and a “tendency to find refugee in forms of extreme rationalism,” there are laws and legal decisions by the courts which, “increasingly and under strong pressure from influential groups working together, are opening the door to decriminalising certain aspects of the law thus allowing for exceptions to the right to life. This way various attacks against human life are legitimised to the point that life as the basis of every other right and respect for each human being’s dignity as the foundation of freedom and responsibility are denied.”

According to the Academy, the litmus test is in the health care field but also in the world of politics. “Faced with the duty to protect human life and confronted with the possibility of cooperating with evil in executing one’s professional duties,” one’s right to “conscientious objection” becomes even more relevant.

At the same time it must be pointed out that in a cultural context defined by ideological tolerance, the possibility of conscientious objection can paradoxically destabilise the exercise of this right because the tendency to conform has a ‘destabilising” effect on one’s conscience.

The statement ended by stressing the need “for the mobilisation of all those concerned with human life, a mobilisation that must also extend to the political field. An indispensable requirement of justice is respect for the principle of equality, which requires the protection of everyone's rights, especially of the weakest and most defenceless.”

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