Sunday, September 09, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI Slams Abortion On Austria Visit

VIENNA (AFP) — Pope Benedict XVI slammed abortion as the "very opposite" of human rights Friday in Vienna, in an address at the start of a three-day visit to Austria.

"The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself," the pope told members of the government and the diplomatic corps at the Hofburg, the seat of the Austrian presidency.

"This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end," he said in German.

"Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right -- it is the very opposite."

The pontiff said he was speaking for "those unborn children who have no voice" and called on governments not to legalise abortion but to create "a climate of joy and confidence in life... in which children are not seen as a burden, but rather as a gift for all."

Benedict XVI also urged social and healthcare reforms to combat euthanasia, arguing that "the proper response to end-of-life suffering is loving care and accompaniment on the journey towards death... and not 'actively assisted death'."

In his address, which followed a meeting with Austrian President Heinz Fischer, the pope also stressed Europe's Christian identity.

"Europe cannot and must not deny her Christian roots. These represent a dynamic component as we move forward into the third millenium," he said.

Rest of the story is here.

Zenit's coverage here.

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