Francis: Being Pro-Life Is the Foundation of Human Rights

Francis: Being Pro-Life Is the Foundation of Human Rights February 8, 2019

Pope Francis Walking
Pope Francis Walking on October 3, 2018 (Catholic Church of England and Wales CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This week, Francis spoke to Italian pro-life leaders. In his speech, he spoke about being pro-life as a prerequisite for being pro-justice, pro-human-rights, etc. Here are a few excerpts and my analysis.

The Pro-Life Speech

Some parts are from the Vatican News article and some are original translations of the original in Italian.

Voluntarily extinguishing life in its blossoming is, in every case, a betrayal of our vocation, as well as of the pact that binds generations together, which allows us to look forward with hope. Where there is life there is hope! But when life itself is violated as it starts, what remains is no longer the grateful and enchanted welcome of a gift, but a cold calculation of what we have and what we can use. Then even life is reduced to a one-time-use consumer good. […]

I appreciate the non-sectarian way you present yourselves and your work, based on the truth of the good of life, which is a human and civil value and, as such, should be recognized by all people of good will, of any religion or creed. In your cultural action you have testified frankly that those who have been conceived are children of the whole of society. Their killing in huge numbers, with the endorsement of States, is a serious problem that undermines the foundations of the construction of justice, compromising the proper solution of any other human and social issue.

Pro-Life and Other Forms of Justice

Pope Francis is adamantly pro-life. However, he thinks that it is important to link this with other forms of injustice. This linking works both ways. Many have heard that he has promoted a fuller pro-life vision asking people to think not just about unborn babies but about helping out children who need food or parents who need a job too. However, I think we sometimes forget it goes the other way around too. In this speech, Francis points out the wider effects of killing babies.

  • First, it destroys hope. Hope is the foundation of how we look to the future and how we carry out our duties to the younger generations.
  • Second, he points out that killing babies undermines the foundations of justice. Without those foundations, we have no human rights. Thus, protecting these most innocent and helpless humans provides a foundation for justice and discussing other human rights begins upon this basis.

I have personally wondered at times how people could be so adamant about other rights while denying this fundamental right to life. Let’s pray that our society can realize the need to be pro-life to form a foundation for other rights.

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