By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
Pope Francis once again proves himself to be a powerful pro-life voice with his latest apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, Latin for the “Joy of Love.”
Showing that he has his hand firmly planted on the pulse of the world, the Pontiff boldly writes against the poison pills of our age: euthanasia and assisted suicide.
The Holy Father states,
“Euthanasia and assisted suicide are serious threats to families worldwide…The Church, while firmly opposing these practices, feels the need to assist families who take care of their elderly and infirm members.”
This is perhaps one of the greatest beauties of Pope Francis’ writings—he not only identifies problems, but he proposes merciful solutions.
At a time when groups such as the deceptively named “Compassion & Choices” are trying to legalize assisted suicide throughout the United States, Pope Francis comes along with not only a strong condemnation of the desperate practice, but also a challenge to provide greater love and support to older people and people dealing with disability and serious illness.
Also, just about every broadcast news report I heard made mention of the fact that, in the Joy of Love, Pope Francis does not change Catholic Church teaching on abortion. There is no need to do that, because the timeless teaching is good and right and filled with hope.
The Pope does not mince words when speaking about the taking of an innocent life in a mother’s womb:
“Here I feel it is urgent to state that, if the family is the sanctuary of life, the place where life is conceived and cared for, it is a horrendous contradiction when it becomes a place where life is rejected and destroyed.”
He also swiftly counters the tiresome argument raised by abortion proponents that abortion should be tolerated—even (gasp)celebrated —because a “woman has the right to do what she wants with her own body.”
The Holy Father deftly writes,
“So great is the value of a human life and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right to one’s own body can justify a decision to terminate that life, which is an end in itself and which can never be considered the ‘property’ of another human being.”
Pope Francis sees the family as the greatest defense against the culture of death, which includes the despairing campaigns for unlimited abortion, euthanasia, and doctor-prescribed suicide. He writes, “The family protects human life in all its stages, including its last.”
Pope Francis may be one of the most popular pro-lifers on the planet. His latest writing attests to his conviction that human life is sacred and the rights of the human being should not be trampled upon.
That he backs up his beliefs with hope-filled words for the elderly, heart-felt caresses for people with disabilities, and heavenly kisses for babies demonstrates the winsome way the pro-life message can be delivered to a 21st century audience hungry for the truth.