The Christian conscience in support of the right to life

Source: FSSPX News


The Pontifical Academy for Life organized an international congress on the theme: “The Christian conscience in support of the right to life” on February 23 and 24, on the occasion of its 13th General Assembly.


Archbishop Elio Sgreccia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life spoke on February 20, during a press conference. “Chemical abortion, research on stem cells which implies the death of embryos and other forms of violation of life” are cases in which Catholics must oppose their conscientious objection, as also against homosexual marriage and adoption of children by such couples. “We are convinced that there is not only a legitimate place for Christian conscience in a pluralist society, but that it is useful to the whole society, because the Christian conscience can express itself and offer its contribution.” To this end, we must “form Christian conscience in the face of these questions, by explaining its references, its nature, and its duty in the light of the faith in a useful dialogue with the various cultural currents.” Because, conscientious objection “accompanied by love for truth and respect for others, is not a flight from responsibilities but a constructive testimony. In the domain of life and health, there are nowadays new cases in which physicians and medical staff must put conscientious objection into practice.”

Benedict XVI received the participants at the Congress on February 24. “The Christian conscience, in fact, has an internal need to nourish and strengthen itself with the multiple and profound motivations that work in favor of the right to life. It is a right that must be sustained by all, because it is the first fundamental right of all human rights.” And “The Christian is continually called to be ever alert in order to face the multiple attacks to which the right to life is exposed. In this he knows that he can count on motives that are deeply rooted in the natural law and that can therefore be shared by every person of upright conscience.” The Sovereign Pontiff denounced “the attacks on the right to life throughout the world [which] have broadened and multiplied,” with “the pressures to legalize abortion increasing in Latin American countries and in developing countries, also with the recourse to the liberalization of new forms of chemical abortion under the pretext of safeguarding reproductive health.” “At the same time, the interest in more refined biotechnological research is growing in the more developed countries in order to establish subtle and extensive eugenic methods, even to obsessive research for the ‘perfect child’,” continued the pope. It is “a new wave of discriminatory eugenics in the name of the presumed well-being of the individual, with the legalization of euthanasia, and the multiplication of efforts “to legalize cohabitation as an alternative to matrimony and closed to natural procreation.”

“In these situations the conscience, sometimes overwhelmed by the powerful collective media, is insufficiently vigilant concerning the gravity of the problem at stake, and the power of the strongest weakens and seems to paralyze even people of good will. For this reason it is necessary to appeal to the conscience, and in particular, to the Christian conscience.” “The formation of a true conscience,” added the pope, “because it is founded on the truth, and upright, because it is determined to follow its dictates without contradictions, without betrayal and without compromises, is a difficult and delicate undertaking today, but indispensable.” So called post-modern secularization “is marked by disputable forms of tolerance, not only is the rejection of Christian tradition growing, but distrust for the capacity of reason to perceive the truth also distances us from the taste for reflection. According to some, for individual conscience to be unbiased it must free itself both from references to tradition and those based on human reason. Hence, the conscience, which as an act of reason aims at the truth of things, ceases to be light and becomes a simple screen upon which the society of the media projects the most contradictory images and impulses.”

“It is certainly necessary to speak about the moral criteria that regard these themes with professionals, doctors and lawyers, to engage them to elaborate a competent judgment of conscience, and if need be, also a courageous objection of conscience, but an equal need rises from the basic level for families and parish communities in the process of the formation of youth and adults.”

“In a society at times chaotic and violent, with your cultural qualifications, by teaching and by example, you can contribute to awakening in many hearts the eloquent and clear voice of conscience.”

On March 16, the final declaration of the 13th Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life was published. The text recalled the exercise of conscientious objection “in the medical domain when it is a question of protecting a human life which is jeopardized by legal dispositions.” And it specified: “the mobilization of all those who take human life to heart is more opportune than ever, and must extend to the political circles. It is a question of an absolute exigency of justice and of the respect for equality, which demand the safeguard of the right of each individual and especially of the weakest.”