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The Pope Coined the Term 'Culture of Life'

Saturday, 02 April 2005 12:00 AM

While it has become a favorite expression of the President, it originated with a man in a white robe: Pope John Paul II.

In his groundbreaking encyclical called "The Gospel of Life," John Paul II depicted the cosmic struggle between the "culture of life" and the "culture of death."

By coincidence, that struggle played itself out in Florida just as the Holy father was dying in Rome.

Just ten years ago, John Paul II warned that "we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the 'culture of death' and the 'culture of life'. We find ourselves not only 'faced with' but necessarily 'in the midst of' this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life."

In this encyclical, the Holy Father re-affirmed the Church's ancient teachings on all life issues, including abortion, euthanasia, sterilization, and contraception.

The Pope grounds each of these teachings in the profound respect for the dignity and worth of each human person created in the image and likeness of Almighty God.

"In our present social context, marked by a dramatic struggle between the 'culture of life' and the 'culture of death', there is need to develop a deep critical sense, capable of discerning true values and authentic needs," the pontiff wrote.

But as the man in the white robe called us to choose life, America's men in black robes who are called "judges" have consistently chosen for us the culture of death.

Though there is no constitutional provision of a "right to privacy" and certainly not one to kill an innocent fetus, in 1973 nine men in black robes ruled in Roe v. Wade that there should be one.

Byt doing so, they overturned the laws of 38 states and declared that a woman had a right to destroy her own unborn child.

Since the high Court's decision, Americans have killed more than forty million babies. This grievous crime against humanity and God has conditioned a generation of Americans to see life as cheap and expendable.

In subsequent years, men in black robes continued to promote a culture of death.

The culture of death has seemingly culminated in the barbaric court-ordered starvation/dehydration of Terri Schiavo before the tearful eyes of her own loving family.

Just ten years before men in black robes ordered the death of Terri Schiavo, the man in the white robe warned in "The Gospel of Life" that, "Here we are faced with one of the more alarming symptoms of the 'culture of death', which is advancing above all in prosperous societies, marked by an attitude of excessive preoccupation with efficiency and which sees the growing number of elderly and disabled people as intolerable and too burdensome. These people are very often isolated by their families and by society, which are organized almost exclusively on the basis of criteria of productive efficiency, according to which a hopelessly impaired life no longer has any value."

The pope continued to explain that food and water are the most basic forms of care to be afforded to even the weakest members of our society.

Each person is precious to God and continues to serve God until He chooses to call that person to Himself, whereas "to kill a human being, in whom the image of God is present, is a particularly serious sin. Only God is the master of life!"

And so while the United States crusades to spread democracy throughout the world, perhaps we need to ponder deeply the words of the man in the white robe, who cautioned that "the value of democracy stands or falls with the values which it embodies and promotes."

An America that stands before the world as an apostle of democracy must first guarantee that "values such as the dignity of every human person, respect for inviolable and inalienable human rights, and the adoption of the 'common good' as the end and criterion regulating political life are certainly fundamental and not to be ignored."

Likewise, men in black robes must learn that "civil law must ensure that all members of society enjoy respect for certain fundamental rights which innately belong to the person, rights which every positive law must recognize and guarantee. First and fundamental among these is the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being."

Men in black robes must "never presume to legitimize as a right of individuals - even if they are the majority of the members of society -an offence against other persons caused by the disregard of so fundamental a right as the right to life. The legal toleration of abortion or of euthanasia can in no way claim to be based on respect for the conscience of others, precisely because society has the right and the duty to protect itself against the abuses which can occur in the name of conscience and under the pretext of freedom."

In fearlessly preaching the culture of life to a civilization that seems to be choosing death, John Paul II has beckoned all men of good will to join forces in this great battle.

"Today we too find ourselves in the midst of a dramatic conflict between the 'culture of death' and the 'culture of life.' But the glory of the Cross is not overcome by this darkness; rather, it shines forth ever more radiantly and brightly, and is revealed as the centre, meaning and goal of all history and of every human life."


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While it has become a favorite expression of the President, it originated with a man in a white robe: Pope John Paul II. In his groundbreaking encyclical called "The Gospel of Life," John Paul II depicted the cosmic struggle between the "culture of life" and the...
Saturday, 02 April 2005 12:00 AM
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