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 John-Henry Westen /

“To play with life is a sin against the Creator,” and doctors must make the “brave choice,” even up to the point of civil disobedience, never to commit abortion or euthanasia, Pope Francis said in an address on Saturday. “There is no human life more sacred than another: all human life is sacred!” the pope said.

The “conventional wisdom,” he said, suggests a “false compassion” in promoting abortion, or calling euthanasia “an act of dignity” or in considering a child a “product” and “a right,” rather than accepting the child “as a gift.”  

The pope also referred to the use of embryos in medical research, which, he said, allows scientists to “use human lives as guinea pigs, presumably to save others.”

“Fidelity to the Gospel of life and respect for it as a gift from God, sometimes takes a brave choice that, in particular circumstances, may come to conscientious objection,” Pope Francis said, adding that there are “many social consequences that entails this loyalty.” 

Scientists, he said, in this “time of experimentation” with human life, are “making children rather than accepting them as a gift,” they are “playing with life.”

“Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator, against God the Creator.”

The pope was speaking to a conference in Rome of the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors, and warned that in many cases, the discussion around abortion and euthanasia has been centered on the notion of “quality of life” based on materialistic or “economic” concerns. But this calculation has to take into account the “more profound dimensions – interpersonal, spiritual and religious – of existence.” 

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“In fact, the light of faith and right reason, human life is always sacred and always ‘quality,’” he said.

Rejecting the demand of the secular medical establishment that the Church have no say in medical ethics, Pope Francis said, “Attention to human life, especially that in greatest difficulty, that is, the sick, the elderly, the children, deeply involves the mission of the Church.”

The work of Catholic doctors, he said, “is to witness by word and by example that human life is always sacred, valuable and inviolable, and as such must be loved, defended and treated.” 

“Your professionalism, enriched with the spirit of faith, is one more reason to work with those – even from different religious perspectives or thought – who recognize the dignity of the human person as a criterion of their business.”