Father Lombardi: Advent the Time to Value Life

Reflects on Pope's Vigil for Unborn

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 5, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Advent is the proper time to recognize the dignity of life from the moment of conception, says a Vatican spokesman.



This was the observation made by Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, in the most recent episode of the weekly Vatican Television program "Octava Dies."

Referring to the vigil for unborn life, which Benedict XVI presided over Nov. 27, Father Lombardi noted that the Pope himself invited the faithful to "pray and work on behalf of nascent life" on the eve of the first Sunday of Advent.

Advent, the spokesman noted, is "a time of expectation and conversion to prepare ourselves to celebrate once again the disconcerting and extraordinary event of the birth of the Son of God among us -- God, who becomes flesh, God in the womb of a mother, God the child, God who is near."

Father Lombardi asked, "How can it be said with greater force that our dignity it so great? That we must be loved and respected and protected from the moment that we begin to be knit together in our mother's womb?"

"We were never merely 'a lump of biological material,'" the Vatican spokesman said. "We have always been from the very beginning a concrete project that developed toward intelligence, freedom and love, open to the true, the beautiful, the good, the infinite. A project that cannot but be born from a mysteriously great source, capable of being our origin and to call us to a concrete relationship of love."

"The smile of children, from the moment they are born, allows us to intuit this," he added. "It is a contagious smile, which invites us to love and to thank, in the wonder over a gift that is greater than us."

Father Lombardi noted that Benedict XVI lamented the fact that "even after birth, the lives of children continue to be exposed to abandonment, to hunger, to misery, to sickness, to abuses, to violence, to exploitation," and this is why the Pope calls on us to recognized our responsibility: "Respect, defend, love and serve life, every human life!"