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Pope Francis General Audience Annunciation of the Lord 25.03.20

Pope Francis: talks about the value of human life  - Annunciation of the Lord 25.03.20 

Pope Francis   25.03.20 General Audience, Library of the Apostolic Palace Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord      Luke 1: 26-38

Pope Francis the Annunciation of the Lord  25.03.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Twenty-five years ago, on this same date of 25 March, which in the Church is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, St. John Paul II promulgated the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, on the value and inviolability of human life. 

The link between the Annunciation and the "Gospel of Life" is close and deep, as St. John Paul pointed out in his encyclical. Today, we find ourselves reviving this teaching in the context of a pandemic that threatens human life and the world economy. A situation that makes the words with which the encyclical begins feel even more challenging. Here they are: "The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus' message. Welcomed by the Church every day with love, it must be proclaimed with courageous fidelity as a good news story to people of all ages and cultures" (No. 1).

Like any evangelical proclamation, this one must be witnessed first and foremost. And I think with gratitude of the silent testimony of so many people who, in various ways, are caring for the sick, the elderly, those who are alone and most destitute. They live the Gospel of life, like Mary who, after accepting the angel's announcement, went to help her cousin Elizabeth who needed her. 

In fact, the life we are called to promote and defend is not an abstract concept, but always manifests itself in a person in the flesh: a newly conceived child, a poor outcast, a sick person alone and discouraged or in a terminal state, one who has lost his job or can't find work, a migrant rejected or ghettoized... Life manifests itself in concrete people.
Every human being is called by God to enjoy the fullness of life; and being entrusted to the maternal care of the Church, every threat to dignity and human life cannot fail to affect the her heart, in her maternal "womb". The defence of life for the Church is not an ideology, it is a reality, a human reality that involves all Christians, precisely because they are Christians and because they are human.

Unfortunately, the threats against people's dignity and lives continue even in this age of ours, which is the age of universal human rights; on the contrary, we are faced with new threats and new slavery, and legislation does not always protect the weakest and most vulnerable human life.

The message of the encyclical Evangelium Vitae is therefore more relevant than ever. Beyond emergencies, such as the one we are experiencing, it is a question of acting on the cultural and educational level to convey to future generations the attitude of solidarity, care, welcoming, knowing full well that the culture of life is not the exclusive heritage of Christians, but belongs to all those who, working for the construction of fraternal relationships, recognize the value of every person, even those who are fragile and suffering.
Dear brothers and sisters, every human life, unique and unrepeatable, has value in itself, it is invaluable. This must always be proclaimed again, with the courage of the word and the courage of actions. This calls for solidarity and fraternal love for the great human family and for each of its members.

Therefore, with St. John Paul II, who made this encyclical, with him I reiterate with renewed conviction the appeal that he made to everyone twenty-five years ago: "Respect, protect, love and serve life, every life, every human life! Only in this way will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness!" (Enc. Evangelium Vitae, 5).