Evangelium Vitae Notable quotations

How can we fail to mention the daily gestures of unselfish love and care that countless people make, guided by the example of Jesus "the good Samaritan" (cf. Lk 10:29-37). The church has always been in the front line of providing this charitable help.

Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) Pope John Paul II, 1995 (#27)

(Unless otherwise noted, these quotations are from the translation by Joseph Donders in the book entitled John Paul’s Encyclicals in Everyday Language.)
The Gospel of Life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as “good news” to the people of every age and culture. (#1)


Every threat to human dignity is felt in the church’s heart. It affects its faith and engages its mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Life – a proclamation especially pressing because of the new threats to the life of individuals and peoples, especially where life is weak and defenseless. Next to the old scourges of poverty, hunger, disease, violence, and war, new threats are arising at an alarming scale. I repeat the words of the Second Vatican Council condemning crimes and attacks against human life: “-whatever is opposed to life itself such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or willful self-destruction; -whatever violates the integrity of the human person such as mutilation, torments indicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; -whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; – as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons … all these things and others of their kind are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than to those who suffer from injury. Moreover they am a supreme dishonor to the Creator.” (GS 27) (#3)


This moral uncertainty can in some way be explained by the gravity of today’s social problems, sometimes mitigating the responsibility of individuals, but it is no less true that we are confronted by a true structure of sin, which takes the form of a “culture of death.” This culture denies solidarity and is fostered by currents that encourage a society that is excessively concerned with efficiency. It is in a certain sense a war of the powerful against the poor. (#12)


It is also a question, in a certain sense, of the “moral conscience” of society: in a way it too is responsible, not only because it tolerates or fosters behavior contrary to life, but also because it encourages the “culture of death”, creating and consolidating actual “structures of sin” which go against life. The moral conscience, both individual and social, is today subjected, also as a result of the penetrating influence of the media, to an extremely serious and mortal danger: that of confusion between good and evil, precisely in relation to the fundamental right to life. (#24)


How can we fail to mention the daily gestures of unselfish love and care that countless people make, guided by the example of Jesus “the good Samaritan” (cf. Lk 10:29-37). The church has always been in the front line of providing this charitable help. (#27)


This sense of the value of life does not find as yet the refinement found in the Sermon on the Mount, for it provides severe forms of corporeal punishment and even the death penalty. It culminates in the positive commandment obliging us to be responsible for our neighbor as for ourselves: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev 19:18). (#40)


At the basis of all these tendencies lies the ethical relativism which characterizes much of present-day culture. (#70)


It is a need which springs from “faith working through love” (Gal 5:6)…In our service of charity, we must be inspired and distinguished by a specific attitude: we must care for the other as a person for whom God has made us responsible. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to become neighbors to everyone (cf. Lk 10:29-37), and to show special favor to those who are poorest, most alone and most in need. (#87)


All this involves education and the promotion of vocations to service, particularly among the young…-all are eloquent expressions of what charity is able to devise in order to give new hope and practical possibilities for life. (#88)

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