Five Essential Lessons from JPII
By CLSP Team
In this century, there has been no stronger voice for the dignity of the human person than that of Saint John Paul II. As pope, he understood his role in proclaiming the gospel to the whole world and in teaching us to do the same. Here are five things we can learn about living the culture of life from this great saint:
1. “It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded.”
If we want to combat problems in our society—like war, famine, unemployment, and persecution—we have to start by defending the life of every person. People often criticize pro-life citizens for being one-issue voters, but if upholding the dignity of the human person isn’t our first concern, we cannot fix society’s other problems. The right to life comes before all other rights.
2. “America can show the world the path to a truly humane future in which man remains the master, not the product, of his technology.”
America is a land of inventors and scientists. With our access to technology, we have the opportunity to show the rest of the world how to make moral choices when it comes to protecting every human being’s life. We have a special duty as Americans to show others the way to use technology to improve human being’s lives—not end them.
3. “The dignity of human life must never be taken away.”
This is one of the most important lessons from the Holy Father. Once the dignity of a human being’s life is taken away, the justice and mercy in a society disappear. Saint John Paul II saw this firsthand, first through the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews and then through the brutality of the Soviet rule.
Even though we are not physically harmed in our country for our beliefs, we take away the dignity of others through gossip, selfishness, and pride. If we want to end the culture of death, we must start by making small changes in our lives.
4. “Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.”
Access to abortion is not a human right. Neither are war and murder. True social justice for women facing an unplanned pregnancy means helping them when they need help—not forcing them to murder their child. The violence of abortion will haunt a woman for the rest of her life.
Some women feel that abortion frees them from the responsibility of parenthood. In reality, abortion kills a woman’s freedom by saddling her with feelings of guilt, sadness, and depression as well as a host of other mental and physical health issues.
5. “Give us the grace to stand up and proclaim that no one ever has the authority to destroy unborn life.”
This is every pro-life person’s prayer. We cannot build a culture of life on our own. We need to ask God for the courage to stand up and do the right thing. Sometimes we might feel tempted to think that our efforts are wasted or that we won’t be able to end abortion. But that’s where we’re wrong. Every time we read a story and explain how to live the culture of life to our children or students, we take one more step toward ending abortion and other threats against the life of a person. Education gives us hope for a brilliant future.
That’s why the Culture of Life Studies Program works to provide teachers and parents with the resources they need to teach the culture of life in their own homes and classrooms. Together, we can raise the next generation of pro-life leaders and not only abolish abortion, but also ensure that all threats against human dignity are eradicated from society.
The Culture of Life Studies Program stresses the culture of life as an integral part of every academic discipline. CLSP is dedicated to helping students become effective communicators of the pro-life message. Sign up for our e-mail newsletter to see how we can help you foster a culture of life at home and in school.
This article has been reprinted with permission and can be found at cultureoflifestudies.com/blog/five-essential-lessons-from-jpii.