Pope Urges Bush to Reject Research on Embryos
- CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 23, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Here is the text
of the statement by John Paul II to U.S. President George W. Bush, as
carried by CNN:
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you on your first visit since
you assumed the office of President of the United States.
I warmly greet the distinguished first lady and the members of your
I express heartfelt good wishes that your presidency will strengthen
your country in its commitment to the principles which inspired
American democracy from the beginning, and sustained the nation in
its remarkable growth.
These principles remain as valid as ever, as you face the challenges
of the new century opening up before us.
Your nation's founders, conscious of the immense natural and human
resources with which your land had been blessed by the Creator, were
guided by a profound sense of responsibility towards the common good,
to be pursued in respect for the God-given dignity and inalienable
rights of all.
America continues to measure herself by the nobility of her founding
vision in building a society of liberty, equality and justice under
In the century which has just ended, these same ideals inspired the
American people to resist two totalitarian systems based on an
atheistic vision of man and society.
At the beginning of this new century, which also marks the beginning
of the third millennium of Christianity, the world continues to look
to America with hope.
Yet it does so with an acute awareness of the crisis of values being
experienced in Western society, ever more insecure in the face of the
ethical decisions indispensable for humanity's future course.
In recent days, the world's attention has been focused on the process
of globalisation which has so greatly accelerated in the past decade,
and which you and other leaders of the industrialised nations have
discussed in Genoa.
While appreciating the opportunities for economic growth and material
prosperity which this process offers, the Church cannot but express
profound concern that our world continues to be divided, no longer by
the former political and military blocs, but by a tragic fault line
between those who can benefit from these opportunities and those who
seem cut off from them.
The revolution of freedom of which I spoke at the United Nations in
1995 must now be completed by a revolution of opportunity, in which
all the world's peoples actively contribute to economic prosperity
and share in its fruits.
This requires leadership by those nations whose religious and
cultural traditions should make them most attentive to the moral
dimension of the issues involved.
Respect for human dignity and belief in the equal dignity of all the
members of the human family demand policies aimed at enabling all
peoples to have access to the means required to improve their lives,
including the technological means and skills needed for development.
Respect for nature by everyone, a policy of openness to immigrants,
the cancellation or significant reduction of the debt of poorer
nations, the promotion of peace through dialogue and negotiation, the
primacy of the rule of law: these are the priorities which the
leaders of the developed nations cannot disregard.
A global world is essentially a world of solidarity! From this point
of view, America, because of her many resources, cultural traditions
and religious values, has a special responsibility.
Respect for human dignity finds one of its highest expressions in
religious freedom. This right is the first listed in your nation's
Bill of Rights, and it is significant that the promotion of religious
freedom continues to be an important goal of American policy in the
I gladly express the appreciation of the whole Catholic Church for
America's commitment in this regard.
Another area in which political and moral choices have the gravest
consequences for the future of civilisation concerns the most
fundamental of human rights, the right to life itself.
Experience is already showing how a tragic coarsening of consciences
accompanies the assault on innocent human life in the womb, leading
to accommodation and acquiescence in the face of other related evils
such as euthanasia, infanticide and, most recently, proposals for the
creation for research purposes of human embryos, destined to
destruction in the process. A free and virtuous society, which
America aspires to be, must reject practices that devalue and violate
human life at any stage from conception until natural death.
In defending the right to life, in law and through a vibrant culture
of life, America can show the world the path to a truly humane
future, in which man remains the master, not the product, of his
technology. Mr. President, as you carry out the tasks of the high
office which the American people have entrusted to you, I assure you
of a remembrance in my prayers.
I am confident that under your leadership your nation will continue
to draw on its heritage and resources to help build a world in which
each member of the human family can flourish and live in a manner
worthy of his or her innate dignity.
With these sentiments I cordially invoke upon you and the beloved
American people Gods blessings of wisdom, strength and peace.