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Pope leads worldwide prayer vigil for life

Catholic World News - November 29, 2010

On the eve of the First Sunday of Advent, Pope Benedict led a worldwide “prayer vigil for unborn life.”

Presiding at Vespers in the Vatican basilica, the Holy Father thanked all those who were participating in diocesan services on the same date. “Human beings have the right not to be treated as objected to be possessed or things to be manipulated at will,” he said in his homily. That message is particularly essential today, he added, because of “cultural tendencies which seek to anesthetize people’s consciences.”

The dignity of human life must be defended in all circumstances, the Pope said. But the Church concentrates especially on life in the womb, because it is “the most fragile, the most threatened by the selfishness of adults and the clouding of conscience.”

With the beginning of the Advent season, as the Christian world prepares to celebration the birth of Jesus, the time is ripe for a new focus on the dignity of life, the Pope argued. He explained: “The Incarnation reveals to us-- with intense light and in a surprising way-- that each human life has exalted and incomparable dignity.”

Pope Benedict used the prayer vigil as the occasion to unveil a Prayer for Life that he has composed. The prayer read, in part:

Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of the maternal womb the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child that comes into life.

Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
render fruitful their love.

Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognize and respect
the sacred nature of life, of ever human life.

Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,
and no one endures suppression or injustice.

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