Pope Defends Latin American Peoples

Voices Support for Pro-Life Campaign in Brazil

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 7, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says he hopes civil society will respect the will of the people in rejecting anything that does not respect human life from its beginning to its natural end.

The Pope affirmed this in a message sent to the president of the Brazilian episcopal conference, Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha of Mariana. The papal message marked the beginning of the Fraternity Campaign traditionally promoted by the Church in Brazil during Lent. This year the campaign is dedicated to the theme: "Fraternity and defense of life" and its motto, "Choose, Then, Life," comes from the Old Testament.

The Holy Father affirmed that "all threats to life must certainly be resisted," and in this context he referred to his "inaugural address at the 5th General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean," in which "I recalled how the paths being followed by a culture without God and without his commandments, or even against God, lead to 'a culture against human beings and against the good of the Latin American people.'"

The Pontiff also mentioned the final document of the Aparecida conference which, he wrote, "shows us how meeting Christ is the starting point from which to oppose these paths of death, and to choose life. Just as it is also the starting point for a full recognition of the sacredness of life and the dignity of human beings."

"In inaugurating this year's Fraternity Campaign," the Pope added, "I again express the hope that the various institutions of civil society will show their solidarity with the popular will which, in its majority, rejects everything that runs counter to the ethical requirements of justice and of respect for human life, from its beginning to its natural end."

Benedict XVI concluded by invoking the protection of the Lord, "that his charitable hand may reach over all Brazil, and that new life in Christ may reach all human beings in their personal, family, social and cultural dimensions, spreading its gifts of peace and prosperity, and reawakening in all hearts feeling of fraternity and cooperation."