Pope Francis Says Common Good Rests on ‘Defense of the Life of the Unborn’

TOPSHOT - Pope Francis kisses a baby as he arrives for his weekly general audience at the Saint Peter square on September 21, 2016 at the Vatican. / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis had tough words for pro-choice politicians Saturday, telling them that defense of the unborn is the cornerstone of the common good of society, regardless of one’s religious beliefs.

Just days after New York’s Catholic Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill greatly expanding the state’s abortion availability, the pope said that when it comes to the question of abortion, politicians ought not allow themselves to be conditioned by “partisan interests.”

In the strongest pro-life message of his pontificate, Francis said: “I take this opportunity to appeal to all politicians, so that, regardless of each one’s faith beliefs, they set as the cornerstone of the common good the defense of the life of the unborn.”

May politicians “not allow themselves to be conditioned by logic that aims at personal success or solely immediate or partisan interests, but always be farsighted and able to look at everyone with their heart,” he said just prior to Italy’s yearly celebration of the Day for Life, to be held Sunday.

In his address to members of the board of the Italian Pro-Life Movement, the pope said that the Day for Life “highlights each year the preeminent value of human life and the absolute duty to defend it, from conception to its natural death.”

“Taking care of life requires that it be done throughout life, until the end,” he said. “And it also requires that attention be paid to the conditions of life: health, education, job opportunities, and so on, in short, everything that allows a person to live in a dignified way.”

“The defense of life has as its fulcrum the welcome of those who have been conceived and are still safeguarded in the womb, wrapped in the mother’s bosom as in a loving embrace that unites them,” he said.

Conception and birth should not be viewed merely as a mechanical or physical fact, “but in the perspective of the relationship and the communion that unites the woman and her child,” he said.

How can we consider the child “a work of our own, to the point of feeling entitled to dispose of it at our leisure?” he asked.

“Voluntarily extinguishing life in its blossoming is a betrayal of our vocation, as well as of the pact that links the generations, a pact that allows us to look forward with hope,” Francis said.

“If life itself is violated in its arising, what remains is no longer the grateful and astonished reception of the gift, but a cold calculation of what we have and what we can dispose of,” he said. “In this way, life is reduced to a consumer good, to be used and thrown away, for ourselves and for others.”

“How dramatic is this vision, unfortunately widespread and deeply rooted, and even presented as a human right, and how much suffering it causes the weakest of our brothers and sisters!” he said.

“Those who are conceived are children of the whole society, and their killing in huge numbers, with the approval of states, constitutes a serious problem that undermines the building up of justice, compromising the correct solution to every other human and social question,” he said.

The pope said that the presence of so many young people in the pro-life movement is “a particular sign of consolation.”

“Thank you, dear young people, you are a resource for the Pro-Life Movement, for the Church and for society, and it is beautiful that you dedicate time and energy for the protection of life and the support of the most defenseless,” he said.

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