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 CNS Story:

POPE-FAMILY Dec-5-2005 (360 words) xxxi

Abortion is crime against society, says Pope Benedict

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Abortion is a crime of aggression not only against the unborn, but also against society, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"Children have the right to be born and to grow in the midst of a family founded on matrimony, where the parents are the first educators of children in the faith and where they can grow to full human and spiritual maturity," the pope said Dec. 3.

Meeting with the presidents of Latin American bishops' committees for the family and for life, the pope urged them to work together, sharing the programs and approaches that are most successful in their countries.

"Children are the major richness and the most precious good of a family," he said.

"For this reason, it is necessary to help all people to be aware that the intrinsic evil of the crime of abortion, which attacks human life at its beginning, is also an aggression against society itself," the pope said.

Legalized abortion has laid the groundwork for acceptance of the destruction of embryos in scientific research, he said.

The result is that human life is reduced "to an object or a mere instrument. When it reaches this level, society itself suffers and its foundations shake, with all classes at risk," he said.

The key to addressing the situation, he said, is to strengthen and defend the traditional family, which is the first place in society where human life is welcomed and treasured.

"Your task as pastors is to present with all its richness the extraordinary value of matrimony which, as a natural institution, is the patrimony of humanity," he said.

The pope said the entire church must focus on efforts to "safeguard the fundamental values of marriage and the family, which are threatened by the current phenomenon of secularization, which prevents the social conscience from discovering the identity and mission of the institution of the family."

The family must be defended from "the pressure of unjust laws" that do not recognize the rights and needs of the family and "disfigure it with false understandings of marriage and the family that do not respect the original plan of God," he said.

END


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