CHURCH MAKES PRO-LIFE APPEAL AT WORLD FAMILY MEET

Manila, Jan. 27, 2003 - The Catholic Church took one final pro-life appeal yesterday at the conclusion of the 4th International World Meeting of Families (WMF).

Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, the papal legate who officiated in the conference's final morning mass, asked "Catholics to reject all laws that violate the rights of the family and life."

"Reject those who see children as intruders, a burden, a threat to development, and who think ... that abortion is a right," Trujillo said in his homily to around 100,000 WMF participants at the Quirino Grandstand.

The next world meeting of families will be held in Valencia, Spain, in 2006.

Trujillo's sermon not only took on the government's population program, which gives couples the choice to practice the natural, resort to artificial means, or use new measures on controlling the size of their families.

He urged Catholics to reject government moves that go against the sanctity of family and life.

"There is no better investment for the government, for legislators, than to favor the families, strengthen their unity, support them, not obstruct the mission and rights of spouses," he said.

Trujillo added: "It is a grave irresponsibility against human integrity and existence for politicians and legislators to give in to the culture of death."

Last Saturday, the Pope, through a message telecast through satellite, urged Catholics all over the world to remain committed to their marriages and keep intact their families, describing them as the "good news of the third millennium."

Yesterday, Trujillo repeated the resolution signed during the International Theological and Pastoral Congress (ITPC), which reaffirmed the Catholic Church's strong opposition to artificial means of population control.

The ITPC, one of the most important segments of the WMF, declared that population programs promoting contraception, de-sterilization, and abortion have not helped diminish poverty and are in fact anti-poor.

"Do not convert mothers' wombs, which are (the) fountains of life, into tombs. Laws all over the world should respect the gift of life and not conspire at death, in the cruelty and shame of procured abortion," Trujillo said.

"Whoever destroys innocent life in the family ruins his or her own life through irresponsible violence."

Most of those who attended yesterday morning's mass also participated in the overnight vigil at the Rizal Park. (Malaya)


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