VATICAN CITY (CNS) — With so many direct attacks on human life, from abortion to war, Pope Francis said he is worried that so few people are involved in pro-life activities.
Reciting the Angelus prayer at the Vatican Feb. 4, Pope Francis marked Italy’s Pro-Life Sunday and also called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace Feb. 23, with special prayers for Congo and South Sudan.
(See a related video.)
Some 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus. Many of them carried the pro-life movement’s green balloons with the message, “Yes to life.”
Thanking all the “different church realities that promote and support life in many ways,” Pope Francis said he was surprised there were not more people involved.
“This worries me,” the pope said. “There aren’t many who fight on behalf of life in a world where, every day, more weapons are made; where, every day, more laws against life are passed; where, every day, this throwaway culture expands, throwing away what isn’t useful, what is bothersome” to too many people.
Pope Francis asked for prayers that more people would become aware of the need to defend human life “in this moment of destruction and of throwing away humanity.”
With conflict continuing in many parts of the world, the pope said it was time for a special day of prayer and fasting for peace and that it was appropriate for the observance to take place Feb. 23, a Friday in Lent.
“Let us offer it particularly for the populations of the Democratic Republic of Congo and of South Sudan,” he said.
Fighting between government troops and rebel forces and between militias continue in Congo, especially in the East, but tensions also have erupted as protests grow against President Joseph Kabila, whose term of office ended in 2016. New elections have yet to be scheduled.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011 after decades of war. But, just two years after independence, political tensions erupted into violence.
Pope Francis asked “our non-Catholic and non-Christian brothers and sisters to join this initiative in the way they believe is most opportune.”
And he prayed that “our heavenly Father would always listen to his children who cry to him in pain and anguish.”
But individuals also must hear those cries, he said, and ask themselves, “‘What can I do for peace?’ Certainly we can pray, but not only. Each person can say ‘no’ to violence” in their daily lives and interactions. “Victories obtained with violence are false victories, while working for peace is good for everyone.”
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103