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Defending life from the moment of conception

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SPUC hails John Paul II's legacy of the Gospel of Life

2 April 2005

SPUC hails John Paul II's legacy of the Gospel of Life London, 2 April 2005 - The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), Europe's largest pro-life group, has expressed its profound sadness at the death of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, describing him as having been "the living embodiment of the Gospel of Life, especially through the physical witness he gave to the intrinsic dignity of the sick and elderly in his final years." John Smeaton, SPUC national director, commented: "We treasure John Paul II's legacy to the world, which is his insistence that "The Gospel of God's love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel."." (Evangelium Vitae, 2) We call on all people of good will to honour his memory by responding to his urgent call for "a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life"." (Evangelium Vitae 95) "His death, the death of Terri Schiavo and next Tuesday's debate on the Mental Capacity Bill brings his teaching on euthanasia into even sharper focus." Notes: John Paul II on euthanasia: "Euthanasia in the strict sense is understood to be an action or omission which of itself and by intention causes death, with the purpose of eliminating all suffering [....I]n harmony with the Magisterium of my Predecessors and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. Depending on the circumstances, this practice involves the malice proper to suicide or murder." (Evangelium Vitae, 65). "[T]he administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering". (address to physicians, March 2004)

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