‘Seamless Garment’ Revisited: Pope Insists All Life Deserves Defense


VATICAN CITY (CNS) – When Pope Francis insisted that the lives of the unborn and of the poor are “equally sacred,” he was not trying to shift the focus of Catholics from fighting abortion to fighting poverty, he was trying to show they are part of the same battle, said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The life of the unborn must be “promoted and defended with great determination and given an effective priority,” the archbishop told Catholic News Service April 17.

“At the same time,” he said, “we must keep in mind that the dignity of every human being is equal and inviolable at every stage throughout his or her life.”

In “Rejoice and Be Glad,” his apostolic exhortation on holiness, Pope Francis wrote that living a Christian life involves the defense of both the unborn and the poor, and he criticized what he termed the “harmful ideological error” of thinking one’s own cause is the only important one.

“Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred,” Pope Francis wrote.

“Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection.”