National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

The Gospel Of Life

BY Jim Cosgrove

March 12-18, 2000 Issue | Posted 3/12/00 at 1:00 PM


In his Angelus message on Dec. 19, 1993, Pope John Paul II called society to respect life from conception and not to simply regard embryonic life as “a mere biological fact” that can be used for research, as the basis for the medical treatment of another or as something that can simply be disposed of.

Science demonstrates that in the fruit of conception from the first instant there is established the program of what this living being will be: a man, this individual man with his characteristic aspects already well determined. From this embryonic existence to full physical and spiritual maturity, there is a continuous organic development.

This evident orientation of the embryo towards its future makes it impossible for it to be treated as mere biological matter, since, in God's plan for man, the precise biological “individuality” received in the maternal womb is also welcomed by the omnipotent love of God who intervenes to endow it with an immortal soul. Indeed, this soul, as the principle of the person, is immediately created by God.

As a result, surrounded by the warmth of his mother's womb and by God's creative love, the human being, although extremely fragile, should be paid the respect due to every human person. (No. 2)