ROME – Speaking to members of the Vatican’s pro-life think-tank, Pope Francis condemned the “spiritual virus” of thinking only of oneself and called for the promotion of an integral ecology that considers life in a globalized world, without forgetting our differences including that between man and woman.
“By excluding the other from our horizon, life folds onto itself and becomes a consumer good,” the pope said Monday. “It spreads a spiritual virus that is very contagious, condemning us to be man-mirrors and woman-mirrors that only see themselves and nothing else.”
Francis made these remarks at the Apostolic Palace before attendees of the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which this year focuses on the theme “Equal beginnings. But then? A global responsibility,” taking place at the Vatican June 25-27.
The paradigm for the pope’s “human ecology” considers “the ethical and spiritual quality of life in all of its phases,” stemming from Francis’s 2013 encyclical on the care of the environment Laudato Si.
“These bioethics won’t start from sickness and death to establish the meaning of life and define the value of the person,” Francis said. “Rather it will stem from the conviction of the irrevocable dignity of the human person, just as God loves it, the dignity of every person, in every phase and condition of its existence, in search for the forms of love and care and must be revolved around his vulnerability and fragility.”
Francis offered that the assembly reflect on an all-encompassing view of the human person that takes into account the connections, but also differences, that concern humanity including those that have to do with the human body.
“It’s necessary to make an accurate discernment of the complex fundamental differences of human life: from man to woman, from paternity to maternity, from having children to fraternity, of sociability and also all the different ages of life,” Pope Francis said.
The pope’s 360-degree approach to life also includes the challenges that each one faces daily, which require “special ethical wisdom and brave moral resistance,” addressing sexuality and procreation, disability, old age, social exclusion and war.
“Global bioethics call is to the wisdom of a profound and objective discernment of personal and community life, which must be protected and promoted even in the most difficult situations,” the pope said.
The key aspect of this approach is “responsible human proximity,” capable of guaranteeing context and conditions without getting lost in the “merely juridical regulation.”
“Man’s life, enchantingly beautiful and mortally fragile, draws beyond itself,” Francis said, specifying that beyond an integral ecology that encompasses life from the womb to the environment to immigrants, there is a need to focus on the ultimate destination beyond life itself.
“Christian wisdom must reopen, with passion and audacity, the reflection on the destination of human beings toward the life of God, who promised to open to the love of life, beyond death, the infinite horizon of loving beings of light, with no more tears,” Francis said.