Pope says outreach must encourage culture of life
Making an address to Catholic Italians on Pro-Life Day, Pope John Paul II has encouraged pro-life advocates to help mothers who find themselves in crisis pregnancy situations.
The Pope said pro-life efforts to protect unborn children must be done "not against the mothers, but together with the mothers."
The Pope said social indicators and social outreach programs must do a better job in encouraging a culture of life.
"The cultural and social context very often does not favor the family and the mission of parents," the Pope said.
He also called on government and faith-based programs to do more to help foster a society where unborn children are not viewed as a burden.
"Moreover, not a few spouses would like to have more children, but are almost constrained not to do so because of financial difficulties," the Pope said.
"The assistance of public institutions, though appreciable, is often insufficient. There is a need for a more organic policy in favor of the family.
The Pontiff also requested prayers for families "so that, trusting in divine help, they will be committed to carry out with joy and dedication their wonderful mission to give humanity a future rich in hope."
Meanwhile, Italian bishops decried the problematic population decline currently occurring in Italy. They linked the nation's demographic drop to egotism, a weakening sense of social commitments, and economic pressures - as well as abortion.
"Without children there is no future," the bishops said in a statement. "If there are few children, in a society of adults and elderly, the future vanishes. To whom do we pass on what we are, what in turn our parents gave us? The contrary is also true: Without a future there are no children. When the horizon becomes uncertain or risky, one perceives the diminished desire to give life, the courage to have children."