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 CNS Story:

POPE-LIFE Mar-24-2014 (290 words) xxxi

Beauty, sacredness of human life are seen in its fragility, pope says

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The fragility of human life is part of its beauty and is something people only really learn by being close to, sharing with and caring for those who are suffering, Pope Francis said.

"Even in suffering, no one is ever alone because God -- in his merciful love for humanity and for the world -- embraces even the most inhuman situations in which the image of the Creator present in each person appears blurred or disfigured," the pope told members of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry.

Meeting council members March 24, Pope Francis said Blessed John Paul II, who will be canonized April 27, was a living example of the call to "do good by suffering and do good for those who suffer."

In response to Blessed John Paul's example and teaching, he said, people responded "with much affection and veneration, recognizing that God was with him."

God is always present with those who suffer, the pope said, and that was particularly true during the suffering and passion of Jesus. "In him, every human pain, every anguish, every suffering was assumed out of love, out of the pure desire to be close, to be with us."

Contemplating Christ suffering on the cross is the best education for learning to recognize Christ suffering in all those who are sick or defenseless or hurting, the pope said.

"The experience of fraternal sharing with those who suffer opens us to the true beauty of human life, which includes its fragility," the pope said. "In safeguarding and promoting life -- at every stage and in any condition it is found -- may we recognize the dignity and value of every human being from conception to death."

END


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