Just over a quarter of a century ago, Pope Saint John Paul II released his encyclical, Evangelium vitae, in response to the ever-increasing attacks against human life and dignity. Each Friday, we aim to explore a different aspect the prophetic papal document.
Today’s passage drawn from Section 17 of the encyclical where Pope Saint John Paul reflects upon the catastrophic societal fallout from the “culture of death”. He writes:
“Humanity today offers us a truly alarming spectacle, if we consider not only how extensively attacks on life are spreading but also their unheard-of numerical proportion, and the fact that they receive widespread and powerful support from a broad consensus on the part of society, from widespread legal approval and the involvement of certain sectors of health-care personnel,” Pope Saint John Paul II, Evangelium vitae, Section 17.
Reflecting upon this passage today is Jenny Ingles, Director of Fertility and Life Ministries for the Diocese of Lansing. Jenny writes:
“This truly is such an important point in Evangelium vitae. There have been so many lives affected by the “culture of death”. The World Health Organization estimates that between 40 and 50 million abortions occur yearly around the world. And while Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide numbers are hard to track, approximately 5% of all deaths in the Netherlands and 1% in Canada are represented by Euthanasia. These are alarming statistics.”
“Beyond those who actually die is the impact that is left on the family members. There is so much pain and devastation that it truly is an “unheard numerical-proportion.” Recognition of the true impact of the culture of death is important. It touches so many people in our pews and in our communities that we need to remember that our neighbor could be suffering due to it.”
“It is my sincere hope that by shedding light on these numbers we not only seek to end these practices but to reach out to those who are suffering due to them. We are called, in so many ways, to love and walk with these neighbors. Each of us can play a role in helping to bring healing to those affected. We can do that by walking with them directly, supporting our local pro-life organizations and committees and by prayer and fasting. During this Lenten season, ask God how he’s calling you to help.”
Pope Saint John Paul II, pray for us.