World Day of Peace 1977 Message by Pope Paul VI

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But it is not only war that kills Peace. Every crime against life is a blow to Peace, especially if it strikes at the moral conduct of the people, as often happens today, with horrible and often legal ease, as in the case of the suppression of incipient life, by abortion. Reasons such as the following are brought forward to justify abortion: abortion seeks to slow down the troublesome increase of the population, to eliminate beings condemned to malformation, social dishonour, proletarian misery, and so on; it seems rather to favour Peace than to harm it. But it is not so. The suppression of an incipient life, or one that is already born, violates above all the sacrosanct moral principle to which the concept of human existence must always have reference: human life is sacred from the first moment of its conception and until the last instant of its natural survival in time. It is sacred; what does this mean? It means that life must be exempt from any arbitrary power to suppress it; it must not be touched; it is worthy of all respect, all care, all dutiful sacrifice. For those who believe in God, it is spontaneous and instinctive and indeed a duty through the law of religion. And even for those who do not have this good fortune of admitting the protecting and vindicating hand of God upon all human beings, this same sense of the sacred – that is, the untouchable and inviolable element proper to a living human existence – is and must be something sensed by virtue of human dignity. Those who have had the misfortune, the implacable guilt, the ever renewed remorse at having deliberately suppressed a life know this and feel this. The voice of innocent blood cries out with heartrending insistence in the heart of the person who killed it. Inner Peace is not possible through selfish sophistries! And even if it is, a blow at Peace – that is, at the general system that protects order, safe living in society, in a word, at Peace – has been perpetrated: the individual Life and Peace in general are always linked by an unbreakable relationship. If we wish progressive social order to be based upon intangible principles, let us not offend against it in the heart of its essential system: respect for human life. Even under this aspect Peace and Life are closely bound together at the basis of order and civilization. (“World Day of Peace 1977 Message“, by Pope Paul VI)

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