General Audience


Library of the Apostolic Palace
Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters: Twenty-five years ago today, on the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Saint John Paul II issued his Encyclical Evangelium Vitae on the value and inviolability of human life. The Gospel of life lies at the heart of Christ’s message, and resonates in a particular way in the current context of a pandemic that threatens the human family. With gratitude I call to mind the quiet witness of the many people who today are doing all they can to help the sick, elderly, poor and lonely. They are putting the Gospel of life into practice, like Mary who accepted the angel’s message and then went to visit her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth. The life we are asked to promote and protect is no abstract idea, but becomes real flesh and blood in the unborn child, the terminally ill, the refugee and the outcast. The Church feels in the depths of her heart every threat to human life, for each person is unique and unrepeatable, in need of solidarity and fraternal love. Today, I renew the appeal made by Saint John Paul II, to “respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this way will you find justice, development, freedom, peace and happiness!” (Evangelium Vitae, 5).


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