Pope says remembering God is key to respect for life

The more people set aside belief in God the creator, the greater the danger that they will lose respect for the value and dignity of human life, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Catholic News Service reports that while celebrating Mass on Sunday in the Vatican's parish church, the Church of St Anne, and marking Italy's pro-life day, Pope Benedict said that when people stop thinking of human life as a creation of God they begin to think they have complete control over it.

In a mostly ad-libbed homily at the morning Mass, Pope Benedict said Jesus came to earth as a human being in order to heal people of the "fevers" of ideologies and idolatry and of forgetting God.

"The Lord gives us his hand, he helps us up and heals us," the pope said.

Referring to the Gospel story of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law, the pope said it is important to notice that as soon as she was healed she got up and began serving others.

"Right away she began to work, to be at the disposition of others and, in that way, she represents the many good women -- mothers, grandmothers, women in different professions -- who are available, who get up and serve and are the soul of the family and of the parish," he said.

Pope Benedict used the parish visit to thank the women involved in the life of St Anne Parish, but also those around the world who teach their children the faith and those "who always help us to know the word of God not only with our intellects, but with the heart."

Jesus' life and ministry, the pope said, was grounded in his personal relationship with God the Father.

Too often, especially in wealthy societies, "life is exalted as long as it is pleasurable, but there is a tendency not to respect it any longer when it becomes ill or disabled," Pope Benedict said.

When every human life is loved because it is created by God, then efforts to defend life -- whether the life of a newborn, the infirm or the dying -- become effective, the pope said.

To respect life, people must remember God created it, pope says (Catholic News Service 6/2/06)

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8 Feb 2006