Celebration of the papal encyclical “The Gospel of Life” June 15-16 in Rome
FRONT ROYAL, Virginia – As the world prepares for the historic celebration of Saint Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical Evangelium vitae June 15-16 in Rome, Human Life International President Father Shenan J. Boquet is calling on world leaders and citizens in every country to look to the teachings of The Gospel of Life in order to secure true human freedom in a world filled with crises.
“Not only did Saint Pope John Paul II remind the world of the Catholic Church’s moral teachings on the sacredness of life in Evangelium vitae, he addressed real world situations of political governance, economic development, health care, education, family life, etc., and how placing the utmost value on human life, the inviolable right to life, should guide human actions in respecting authentic human rights and establishing true freedom in the world,” said Father Boquet.
“The key to true freedom, according to Saint John Paul, is recognizing its link to universal truth, and that deviation from this foundation leads to ‘a serious distortion of life in society,’” he said. “When truth becomes subjective, those in positions of power, guided only by their own interests, remove safeguards respecting human dignity and the right to life, moving the world towards totalitarianism, and the ‘death’ of freedom.”
Pope John Paul II wrote in Evangelium vitae that when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted in the name of justice, the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the State itself has already begun.
“To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance,” he wrote, “that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom.”
“In order to secure true freedom in the world, our leaders must recognize and protect the right to life of all individuals. And constant vigilance and pressure from the public to defend this most basic human right is needed in every corner of the earth to protect our God-given freedom,” said Father Boquet.
Father Boquet, who will be attending a long-scheduled major pro-life summit with Church leaders in Mexico at the time of the Evangelium vitae celebration, asks for prayers for all those attending.
As part of the Year of Faith events, the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization has designated June 15-16 as days of celebration of Evangelium vitae. The events on Saturday, June 15, for English-speaking pilgrims will include Cardinal Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis and current Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, and Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. The weekend concludes with a Papal Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday morning, June 16.
Human Life International will be represented at the celebration by Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, director of HLI’s Rome office, and HLI Director of International Coordination Joseph Meaney.
About HLI: Human Life International: For the Glory of God and defense of Life, Faith and Family. Founded in 1981, HLI is the world’s largest international grassroots pro-life and pro-family organization, with affiliates and associates in over 80 countries on six continents. www.hli.org