The 25th anniversary of John Paul II's encyclical Evangelium vitae was at the center of Francis' catechesis for the general audience. "he life that we are called to promote and defend is not an abstract concept, but always manifests itself in a person in the flesh: a newly conceived child, a poor outcast, a sick person who is alone and discouraged or in a terminal state, one who has lost his job or cannot find one, a rejected or ghettoized migrant...".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The epidemic that the world is experiencing in these days highlights the value of human life, of every life, as John Paul II solemnly affirmed with his encyclical Evangelium vitae, promulgated on March 25 of 25 years ago. The anniversary was remembered today by Pope Francis to reiterate that "every human life, unique and unrepeatable, is of inestimable value."
Another general audience from the pope's private library, in the presence of about ten priests.
On the day on which the Annunciation of the Lord is celebrated, he said, " bond between the Annunciation and the “Gospel of life” is close and profound, as Saint John Paul emphasised in his Encyclical. Today, we find ourselves reiterating this teaching in the context of a pandemic that threatens human life and the global economy."
"A situation that makes the words with which the Encyclical begins seem even more challenging: “The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as ‘good news’ to the people of every age and culture” (1). As in every proclamation of the Gospel, this too must first of all be witnessed. And I think with gratitude of the silent testimony of the many people who, in different ways, are doing their best to serve the sick, the elderly, the lonely and the destitute. They put the Gospel of life into practice, like Mary who, having accepted the angel’s announcment, went to help her cousin Elizabeth who was in need."
"Indeed, the life that we are called to promote and defend is not an abstract concept, but always manifests itself in a person in the flesh: a newly conceived child, a poor outcast, a sick person who is alone and discouraged or in a terminal state, one who has lost his job or cannot find one, a rejected or ghettoized migrant... Life manifests itself tangibly in people. Every human being is called by God to enjoy the fullness of life; and being entrusted to the maternal care of the Church, every threat to human dignity and life cannot but be felt in her heart, in her maternal womb."
"The attacks on people's dignity and life continue, unfortunately, even in this age of ours, which is the age of universal human rights; indeed, we are faced with new threats and new slavery, and legislation is not always in place to protect the weakest and most vulnerable human life.”
"The message of the Encyclical Evangelium vitae is therefore more timely than ever. Beyond emergencies, such as the one we are experiencing, it is a matter of acting on the cultural and educational level to transmit to future generations an attitude of solidarity, care and acceptance, well aware that the culture of life is not the exclusive patrimony of Christians, but belongs to all those who, working to build fraternal relationships, recognise the value proper to each person, even when he or she is fragile and suffering".
“Dear brothers and sisters, every human life, unique and unrepeatable, is of inestimable value. This must always be proclaimed anew, with the courage of speech and the courage of action. This calls for solidarity and fraternal love for the great human family and for every one of its members. Therefore, with Saint John Paul II, who gave this Encyclical, alongside him I reiterate with renewed conviction the appeal he addressed to everyone twenty-five years ago: “Respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this direction will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness!” (Encyclical Evangelium vitae, 5).”
"Every human life - he reiterated in his greeting to the Poles - is an invaluable gift from God. We are increasingly aware of this in this period, in which the epidemic takes the lives of many people. Through Mary's intercession, we pray to the Lord of life to stop the threat of death and to instill respect for every life in the hearts of all men ".
Finally, Francis invited everyone to join the recitation of the Our Father today and participate in the moment of prayer to be held on Friday 27 March in the churchyard of St. Peter's basilica.