June 17, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Hundreds of thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square and down the main Roman street that leads to the Vatican Sunday to join Pope Francis in celebrating a Mass commemorating Pope John Paul II’s 1995 famous encyclical, the ‘Gospel of Life.’

Known by it’s Latin name ‘Evangelium Vitae’, the encyclical clearly enunciated the evil of abortion, with Pope John Paul II solemnly declaring: “Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, … I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.”

Preceded by a full day of events including Catechesis on life, prayer and adoration, pilgrimage to the tomb of Peter and a candle light vigil Saturday, Sunday’s Mass concluded the Evangelium Vitae day.

“All too often, as we know from experience, people do not choose life, they do not accept the ‘Gospel of Life’ but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life,” said Pope Francis.

Evangelium Vitae also spoke of ‘ideologies’ trying to “justify and disguise the most atrocious crimes against human beings.”

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Such ideologies, said Pope Frances Sunday,  “are dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power and pleasure, and not by love, by concern for the good of others.”

Pope Francis added: “It is the eternal dream of wanting to build the city of man without God, without God’s life and love – a new Tower of Babel. It is the idea that rejecting God, the message of Christ, the Gospel of Life, will somehow lead to freedom, to complete human fulfilment. As a result, the Living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death.

At the conclusion of Mass, Pope Francis thanked the pro-life movements of the world saying, “I offer my sincere thanks to all of you who have come from Rome and from many other places in Italy and the world, particularly families and those who work directly for the promotion and protection of life.”

View Pope Francis' whole homily here.