75,000 Signatures Sent to German Parliament in Defense of Human Embryo

Initiative of Movements, Including Schoenstatt and Focolares

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BERLIN, JAN. 25, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The German Parliament received 75,000 citizens´ signatures calling for the defense of human life, including at the embryonic stage.



When he received the campaign´s organizers on Wednesday, Friedrich Merz, president of the CDU/CSU party in Parliament, said, "We are grateful for this most powerful sign, which the collection of signatures signifies."

Fourteen spiritual communities, federations and organizations joined forces to organize the initiative throughout Germany.

"To Be Human from the Beginning" is the motto and basic principle that inspired the organizers: the Schoenstatt Movement, the Bread and Life Community, and the Focolares.

"There is no great scheme behind the plan," Peter Fischer of the Schoenstatt Movement explained. "We have united because we are conscious of our responsibility, especially before our children. We want to be sure that human life is protected from its beginning. How can we not but prepare a future for our children directed toward the dignity of the person?"

The signatures were handed in one week before the Chamber of Deputies decides on the possibility of importing stem cells for research, which entails the death of human embryos.

"Behind every signature there is a person who has been challenged by this issue," said Ursula Dorpinghaus, of the Focolare Movement. "There has been much discussion with people who are especially sensitized to the protection of human life from its beginning."

Focolare member Wilhelm Knoche added: "We have intentionally written a text that expresses our position clearly, but with which many non-Catholics and non-Christians can also identify."

Maria Bohmer, representative of the CDU/CSU Alliance, requested the campaign´s organizers to keep alive the debate on the protection of life in all its stages, prior to a Jan. 30 parliamentary decision on the issue.

"For a long time there has been no talk on the meaning of life in Germany, and this discussion should not end on Jan. 30," Bohmer said.