Encourages Natural Law as the Basis for Discussion with Non-Believers

VATICAN, February 28, 2002 ( – Pope John Paul II warned Wednesday that the “grave danger that the false interpretation of human rights” which would permit abortion, “can drive democratic regimes to transform themselves into totalitarian regimes.” The Pope made his remarks in an address to the Pontifical Academy for Life.

“The church affirms the right to life to every innocent human being at the moment of its existence,” he told the participants. The Pope blasted the “distinction sometimes made in certain official documents between a human being and a human person” which would “apply the right to life and physical integrity only to people who are already born,” as “an artificial distinction without scientific or philosophical foundation.” He continued: “Every human being, from his conception to his natural death, has the inviolable right to life and deserves all respect due to the human person.”

The Pope noted that “natural law” is the “only possible basis for a true dialogue and an authentic collaboration between believers and non-believers.” Through natural law, “a truth common to all human beings”, human reason is able to eliminate “the presumed conflict between the freedom and the nature,” said the Pope. “Freedom belongs to the rational nature of man, and with reason it can must be guided.”

See the full text of the Pope’s address (In Italian):  2002/february/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20020227_pont-acad-life_it.html