Pope Francis has often lashed out against a throw away culture, where the vulnerable, be it the unborn or the elderly, are seen as unworthy of respect or even life.
March 5, 2015
"People will always be precious beings, despite being afflicted by old age and illnesses. People are in fact, a natural treasure for themselves and others. They are loved by God.”
It's a relevant theme, but also the focus of an encyclical authored by John Paul II, twenty years ago. It's titled 'Evangelium Vitae' or the Gospel of Life, and it was released back March 25, 1995.
MSGR. JEAN-MARIE MATE MUSIVI MUPENDAWATU
Secretary, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers
"It's an encyclical based on the Gospel. It highlights the good news that life is a gift from God. All life is sacred, therefore we have the responsibility of caring for it.”
In the encyclical, John Paul II says that "direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.” He also added that "euthanasia is a grave violation of God's law.”
Experts from all over the world, gathered in Rome to discuss the themes of the encyclical. They add that even though it was released 20 years ago, it's still quite relevant.
MSGR. SIMON CARLOS VAZQUEZ
Secretary, Pontifical Council for the Family
"At that time, 'life' faced serious challenges. From inhumane treatments to ways of diminishing the value of life. There were theories that didn't correspond to God or the Church. The Pope thought the time was right to weigh in on the suggestions Cardinals offered him.”
JAIME BUITRAGO GÓMEZ
Pontifical Council for Pastoral Health
"As Catholics who run Catholic hospitals, we are often asked to perform euthanasia, or abortions. Sometimes we're asked to prescribe the day after pill to teenage girls. These are issues that highlight some of these challenges. They make us realize that we cannot take part in these type of situations.”
Even though it was released 20 years ago, the encyclical is still relevant and it's often used as a point of reference for health care professionals who care for the sick and elderly.
Read Evangelium Vitae here.