No one defends the dignity of human life more persistently than Pope John Paul II.  Wherever he goes- and he has now been to almost one hundred different countries – he repeats the basic teachings of the Gospel about human life.  This constant repetition in ever different words is a great consolation to the pro-life movement.

Why must we defend human life against violence?  Why is abortion such a radical assault upon mankind and upon God?  Why do we speak about the dignity of each human life?

Needless to say, the Pope goes to the root of human life, to its spiritual character.  In a homily delivered in Malta on May 26 this year, he once again touched upon the theme, speaking about families.  His remarks may be summarized by its three most trenchant observations:

  • “Our faith teaches us that each human life, beginning at the moment of conception, is a gift from the Creator, and endowed with an infinite value in His eyes.”
  • “Our faith reminds us that all human beings have been created in God’s own image and likeness and given a vocation and destiny that will find their ultimate fulfillment beyond this earthly existence, in communion of life and love with the Blessed Trinity.”
  • “Faith also teaches us that we are united with all other members of the human race in a deep moral solidarity, that our actions and choices have consequences not only for ourselves but for others, and that we shall be judged by the measure of our love and concern for the lest of our brothers and sisters.”

The Pope added that these truths are primarily learned and defended in the family – which may be why the family has so many enemies today.  He acknowledged the difficulties many families have in keeping these teachings in the forefront of their lives.

What are the means to counteract the temptation to deny or ignore these truths?  Pope John Paul II stated simply, with St. Paul: “Pray always.”  And he added, pray “especially within your families, in humble thanksgiving for everything that God in His goodness has done for you.  Ask Him every day to help you to remain faithful to your vocation which He has given you in Christ.”


In a letter dated August 27, 1990, Bishop Rene Gracida of Corpus Christi declared that police officers who remove pro-life protestors from blocking an abortuary, “indirectly participate in the killing” of unborn children.

“The Church reminds all public officials that they must be able to stand before God with a clear conscience, able to say that they defended the rights of every member of the human family,” the bishop said.

In Canada, Toronto Constable David Packer refused in 1987 to guard the Morgentaler abortuary on the grounds of conscience, a step denounced by a number of Metro police officials, including Police Chief John McCormack, a Roman Catholic himself.

Constable Packer was prosecuted and demoted over a three-year period until he left the force in February of this year.