How to Build a Culture of Life
By James Tregonning, Chairperson of PPC
Evangelium Vitae (Gospel of Life) written by St. John Paul II in 1995 is proving to be one of the most influential encyclicals. It is at the heart of Jesus’ message as expressed by St. John Paul II.
Christ wants nothing more than the fullness of life for everyone. Human life is “ … a sacred reality entrusted to us, to be preserved with a sense of responsibility and brought to perfection in love and in the gift of ourselves to God and to our brothers and sisters” (EV 2) St. John Paul II issues “… a pressing appeal addressed to each and every person, in the name of God: Respect, Protect, Love and Serve Life, Every Human Life! Only in this direction will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness!” (EV 5).
Every Human Life!
Building a Culture of Life isn’t just about Pro-Life (Begining of Life) or a political position on medical assisted suicide (End of Life). Building a Culture of Life is also everything in between. According to the Church’s teachings, building a culture of life is everything from the womb to the tomb.
St. John Paul II taught that every Christian has an obligation to be at the service of life by word, prayer, example, service, care, concern and political action. He affirms “the inseparable connection between the person, their lives and their bodiliness” (EV 81).
In recent events, some philosophers have spoken of “wrongful life”, meaning that some lives are not worth living or that some people are better off dead. This is fundamentally confusing as life is always good, even if life brings with it evils (such as suffering or ill health).
Christ will judge us in terms of the respect or disrespect we show toward those in need:
“As disciples of Jesus, we are called to become neighbors to everyone and to show special favor to those who are the poorest, most alone, and most in need. In helping the hungry, the thirsty, the foreigner, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned – as well as the child in the womb and the old person who is suffering or near death – we have the opportunity to serve Jesus. He Himself said: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40).” (EV87)
Practice What We Preach
The Second Vatican Council taught that “by his Incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every person” (Gaudium et Spes 22). Consequently, St. John Paul II writes, “Christ continues to reveal himself and to enter into fellowship with us so that rejection of human life, in whatever form that rejection takes, is really a rejection of Christ” (EV 104). Care for others, care for Christ, should be manifest in every field of human endeavor—education, health care, politics, social life, volunteer work, public liturgy, and private prayer. St. John Paul II wrote that “the role of the family in building a culture of life is decisive and irreplaceable. It is above all in raising children that the family fulfils its mission to proclaim the gospel of life” (EV 92).
For believers of all ages and stages of life, missionary fields exist not only in far-off lands but at the grocery store, in recreational activities, in the neighborhood, and in the care of vulnerable persons. In proclaiming by word and deed the gospel of life, everyone has a role to play in enlightening consciences, solving social problems, and living together in justice, peace, and support of life.
Evangelium Vitae calls all of us to work for human dignity for all human beings as part of our human responsibility.
Every month, a new page will be posted regarding how we can build a culture of life. There are many organizations that are doing outstanding work in our community to help the marginalized and those suffering. These pages are intended to raise awareness about the efforts being made in the Greater City of Sudbury. These pages will also provide our parochial community with information on how to help or get involved with the larger community to help build a Culture of Life.