Pope John Paul 11 and Pope Benedict XVI Give the Lead on Life

John and Evelyn Billings
Bulletin of the Ovulation Method
and Reference Centre of Australia
Volume 32 Number 2 June 2005
Reproduced with Permission

Professor Michael Schooyans, of the University of Louvain recently distributed an excellent monograph on "Reproductive Health and Demographic Policies" in which there was an analysis of one collection of articles published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2004 entitled Reproductive Health. The definition given by the Cairo Conference to reproductive health was highlighted by WHO, thus: "Reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its function and processes.

Reproductive health therefore implied that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.

Implicit in this last condition are the right of men and women to be informed and have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods offamily planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which is not against the law."

In the text presented in the first part of the communication from WHO, as well as in many others from WHO, references are made to laws or regulations that could hinder the reproductive and sexual health programs.

In this regard, a Mrs M Berer wrote in the WHO Bulletin thus: "Making abortion legal is an essential prerequisite to making it safe.

To make abortions safe, restrictive laws need to be annulled, amended or replaced; traditional and, in some cases, religious laws may also require attention when legal change is being contemplated.

Countries have three main routes to this end: liberalising existing law within penal or criminal codes; partially or fully legalising abortion through positive law or a court ruling; and decriminalising abortion by taking it out of the law altogether. These changes have already occurred in almost all industrialised countries and are happening in a growing number of developing countries as well."

Professor Schooyans praises much of the work of the WHO but is also easily able to bring forward philosophical and religious reflections to many of the activities employed or promoted.

He also points out that in the Encyclical Evangelium Vitoe Pope John Paul II has written, "God entrusts man to man."

A little later on in the Encyclical the Pope wrote, "Not only has God given the Earth to man, but man too is God's gift to man."

A further statement occurs in the Encyclical Centesimus Annus, "today the decisive factor is increasingly man himself, that is, his knowledge, especially his scientific knowledge, his capacity for interrelated and compact organization, as well as his ability to perceive the needs of others and to satisfy them.

In his requiem speech for Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, emphasised that Pope John Paul II wanted peace and love; these aims emphasized the need for the control of Fascism, Communism and Capitalism.

He also mentioned the security engendered by the close friendship between himself and Pope John Paul II, specifying particularly the mystery of that love which will go on to the end.