VATICAN CITY, July 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Pope John Paul II, the beloved friend of the pro-life movement, is to be raised to sainthood according to announcement today from Pope Francis.

Pope John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyła on May 18, 1920, in Wodowice Poland, and lived through Nazism and Communism only to confront the new death-dealing ideology of modern times, which he termed the “culture of death.” Elected as Pope in 1978 at the age of 58, he reigned 26 years showing the world the value of life even with severe disability in his declining years.

In those last years the pontiff intervened to save the life of Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged United States woman who was denied food and fluids on the order of her husband and the complicity of the hospital who regarded a feeding tube as ‘treatment’ rather than ordinary care. John Paul would die only two days after Terri, remembering her on his death bed.

Earlier this month the Vatican celebrated the remembrance of Pope John Paul II’s signature encyclical the “Gospel of Life.”

Not only did the encyclical definitively declare abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia always and everywhere indefensible, but he called all people of good will to defend life.

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He was prophetic and emphatic in his warnings about the current day and the future, dispelling the falsehood that with the fall of Hitler and Stalin the world had come to relative peace.

“With time, the threats against life have not grown weaker,” he said in Evangelium Vitae. “They are taking on vast proportions…we are in fact faced by an objective ‘conspiracy against life,’ involving even international Institutions, engaged in encouraging and carrying out actual campaigns to make contraception, sterilization, and abortion widely available.”

He added: “Nor can it be denied that the mass media are often implicated in this conspiracy, by lending credit to that culture which presents recourse to contraception, sterilization, abortion, and even euthanasia as a mark of progress and a victory of freedom, while depicting as enemies of freedom and progress those positions which are unreservedly pro-life.”

Both in his writings and his speeches, Pope John Paul II fought population control, comparing it to Pharoah’s slaughter of the Hebrew children:

The Pharaoh of old, haunted by the presence and increase of the children of Israel, submitted them to every kind of oppression and ordered that every male child born of the Hebrew women was to be killed (cf. Ex 1:7-22). Today not a few of the powerful of the earth act in the same way. They too are haunted by the current demographic growth, and fear that the most prolific and poorest peoples represent a threat for the well-being and peace of their own countries. Consequently, rather than wishing to face and solve these serious problems with respect for the dignity of individuals and families and for every person's inviolable right to life, they prefer to promote and impose by whatever means a massive program of birth control. Even the economic help which they would be ready to give is unjustly made conditional on the acceptance of an anti-birth policy.

The pope decried as “totalitarianism” governments pushing of abortion and euthanasia, pointing to the vast hypocrisy of the West. “Precisely in an age when the inviolable rights of the person are solemnly proclaimed and the value of life is publicly affirmed, the very right to life is being denied or trampled upon, especially at the more significant moments of existence: the moment of birth and the moment of death,” he said.

Also today, Pope Francis announced that Pope John XXIII would also be named a saint. While thought of by many as a liberal, Pope John approved publication of the 1961 Vatican instruction banning homosexuals from the priesthood and religious life. “Advantage  to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers,” it said.