Pontiff condemns drive for designer babies, global attacks on right to life
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) – The drive for designer babies is just
one of the challenges facing the Christian conscience that requires
the mobilization of the Catholic Church to continue its effort to
promote the right to life, said Pope Benedict XVI.
In a Feb. 24 address to the 13th general assembly of the Pontifical
Academy for Life and an international congress on "Christian
conscience in support of the right to life," Pope Benedict stressed
that the right to life "must be supported by everyone because it is
fundamental with respect to other human rights."
Pope Benedict lashed out against developed nations' growing interest
in biotechnological research, "the obsessive search for the 'perfect
child'" through genetic selection, a renewed global push for abortion
rights and same-sex marriage, which is "closed to natural
Christians, he said, must speak out against and work toward blunting
continual attacks against the right to life, aware that their
"motivations have deep roots in natural law and can, therefore, be
shared by all people of sound conscience."
Despite the efforts of the church to make "the contents of these
motivations more widely known in the Christian community and the in
civil society," he said "attacks against the right to life in the
world have increased."
He pointed to the "pressures for the legalization of abortion in Latin
American countries and in developing nations," the "liberalization of
new forms of chemical abortion under the pretext of reproductive
health" and the "increase in population-control policies."
The pope decried the "new wave of eugenic discrimination," which has
led many in the "economically develop world" to promote euthanasia "in
the name of the supposed good of the individual."
The Christian conscience, Pope Benedict said, looking to Western
society, must be "illuminated in order to recognize the true value of
actions" and to be able "to distinguish good from evil, even where the
social environment, cultural pluralism and the overlay of interests do
not help to this end."
He told the pontifical academy that the faithful need to continual
formation "in the desire to know the real truth, and in the defense of
their own freedom of choice, against the inclination of the masses and
the flattery of propaganda."
"Open hearts and minds" are key to ensure that the Christian will
"accept the fundamental duties upon which the existence of individuals
and of the community depends," the pope said.
"Only in this way will it be possible to ensure that the young
understand the values of life … of marriage and of family," he said,
and "appreciate the sanctity of love, the joy and responsibility of
parenthood, and of collaborating with God in the giving of life."
When the church's formation is lacking, the pope added, "it becomes
more difficult to pronounce upon the problems associated with
biomedicine in the fields of sexuality, nascent life, procreation, and
upon the way to treat and cure patients and the weaker groups of
He urged scientists, doctors and legislators to contribute to the
effort to strengthen the right to life, "reawakening the clear and
eloquent voice of conscience in many people's hearts."
"When the value of human life is at stake, this harmony between
magisterial function and lay commitment becomes uniquely important,"
"Life is the primary good we have received from God, the foundation of
all the others," Pope Benedict stated. "Guaranteeing the right to life
– for everyone and in the same way for everyone – is a duty upon which
the future of humanity depends."
In a Feb. 4 remarks delivered before praying the Angelus, Pope
Benedict called for the rejection of abortion and euthanasia and all
attempts to dispose of life under the guise of human mercy.
The pope spoke out for the sanctity of human life "from conception to
natural death" and in defense of the family and traditional marriage
on the Italian Catholic Church's observance of Day of Life and
beginning of the Week of Life and Family.
He called on all gathered at St. Peter's Square and to all the
faithful "to witness to their commitment in favor of life, from
conception to natural death" and "to receive the great and mysterious
gift of life."
The pope linked threats to the unborn through abortion and to those
who are mentally and physically handicapped facing premature
termination of life through euthanasia.
"Life, which is the work of God, must not be denied to any one, not
even the smallest and defenseless newborn, and much less so when he
has serious handicaps," Pope Benedict said.
"I urge you not to fall into the deception of thinking that one can
dispose of life to the point of legitimizing its interruption with
euthanasia, masking it perhaps with a veil of human mercy," he said.
He tied his message on life from womb to tomb to role of the family as
"the cradle of life and of every vocation."
"The family, based on marriage, constitutes the natural environment
for the birth and education of children and, therefore, to ensure the
future of the whole of humanity," he said.
"It is necessary to defend, protect and value it in its unique and
irreplaceable character," Benedict said of the family.