One never tires of listening to what Pope Benedict XVI says on various subjects, but particularly with regard to the respect that must be accorded to human life. Recently, I came across the following piece which is taken from the ‘Common Declaration’ made and signed by Pope Benedict and H.B. Christolodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, in December 2006:
'We wish to pay tribute to the impressive progress achieved in all areas of science, especially with regard to the human being. However, we invite governments and scientists to respect the sacredness of the human person and his dignity, because his life is a divine gift. We are concerned to see that some branches of science are experimenting on the human being, without respect for either the dignity or the integrity of the person in all the stages of his life, from conception to his natural end.
‘Furthermore, we ask for greater sensitivity in order to protect more effectively in our countries, in Europe and internationally, the fundamental human rights that are based on the dignity of the human being created in God’s image.
‘We look forward to a fruitful collaboration to enable our contemporaries to rediscover the Christian roots of the European Continent which forged the different nations and contributed to developing increasingly harmonious links between them. This will help them live and promote the fundamental human and spiritual values for all people, as well as the development of their own societies.’
This accord is particularly significant in today world when there are ever more and more attacks on the human embryo. It is to be hoped for example that this invitation to protect the sacredness of the human person and his dignity, will be adopted by the Irish Government in proposed legislation. Following the recent Supreme Court case regarding the fate of three frozen embryos the Irish Health Minister before Christmas announced that her Department would draft legislation on the issue for discussion in the Dail (The Irish Parliament). It is to be hoped that this legislation will recognise that human life is sacred, that it must be protected from conception and that natural methods of dealing with infertility are recognised instead of the current anomolous position which stores human embryos in a frozen limbo.
(Picture shows Archbishop Christolodoulos former head of the Greek Orthodox Church who sadly, died in 2008)