Common Grounds

The Evangelical Pope | The Gospel of Life is for Everyone

December 18, 2023

Living Words from John Paul II

Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen


Published Sunday, December 17, 2023

The Evangelical Pope | The Gospel of Life is for Everyone

Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love.


               "We are writing this that our joy may be complete." 

               __ 1 John 1:4 (New International Version)


The Vatican, Saint Peter’s Basilica, 25 March 1995 | Our joy would not be complete if we failed to share this Gospel with others but kept it only for ourselves.


The Gospel of life is not for believers alone. It is for everyone. The issue of life and its defense and promotion is not a concern of Christians alone. Although faith provides special light and strength, this question arises in every human conscience who seeks the truth and cares about humanity's future.


Life certainly has a sacred and religious value, but in no way is that value a concern only of believers. The value at stake is one that every human being can grasp by the light of reason; thus, it necessarily concerns everyone.


Consequently, all we do as the "people of life and for life" should be interpreted correctly and welcomed favorably. When the Church declares that unconditional respect for the right to life of every innocent person conception to natural death is one of the pillars on which every civil society stands, she "wants simply to promote a human State. A State which recognizes the defense of the fundamental rights of the human person, especially of the weakest, as its primary duty".136


The Gospel of Life is for the whole of human society. To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society by promoting the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop.


A society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice, and peace but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized. Only respect for life can be the foundation and guarantee of society's most precious and essential goods, such as democracy and peace.


There can be no true democracy without recognizing every person's dignity and respecting their rights.


Nor can there be true peace unless life is defended and promoted. As Paul VI pointed out:


                "Every crime against life is an attack on peace, especially if it strikes at the moral conduct of people... But where human rights are indeed professed and publicly recognized and defended, peace becomes the joyful and operative climate of life in society".137


The "people of life" rejoice in sharing its commitment with so many others. Thus, may the "people for life" constantly grow in number, and may a new culture of love and solidarity develop for the true good of human society.


Excerpted from:





To the Bishops
Priests and Deacons
Men's and Women's Religious
lay Faithful
and all People of Goodwill
on the Value and Inviolability
of Human Life


Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 25 March, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, in 1995, the seventeenth of my Pontificate.


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