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Pope Francis says abandoning migrants at sea is an ‘attack on life’

Thousands have already died this year trying to cross to Europe (CNS)

Abortion, abandoning migrants at sea, unsafe working conditions, malnutrition, terrorism and euthanasia are all “attacks on life,” Pope Francis has said.

In an audience with members of the Italian Science & Life Association over the weekend, the Pope said “life is a gift” and urged more reflection on how people are treated throughout all stages of life.

“The degree of progress of a civilisation is measured precisely by its capacity to care for life, especially in its most fragile phases,” he told the association, which had gathered its members in Rome the previous day to mark its tenth anniversary.

“When we speak of humanity, let us never forget the attacks on the sacredness of human life,” he said. “The plague of abortion is an attack on life. Allowing our brothers and sisters to die in boats in the Strait of Sicily is an attack on life. Death at the workplace, because minimum safety conditions are not respected, is an attack on life. Death because of malnutrition is an attack on life. Terrorism, war, violence, euthanasia as well, is an attack on life.”

The pope affirmed the association’s work as important, especially in a society marked by a throwaway mentality, and urged its members to “relaunch a renewed culture of life.”

“To love life is to care always for others, to want their good, to cultivate and respect their transcendent dignity,” he said.

Pope Francis told association members to be “unafraid of undertaking fruitful dialogue with the entire world of science, even with those who do not profess to be believers but who remain open to the mystery of human life.”

Underlining the vital link between science and life, the pope said “it is the miracle of life in its unfathomable depths that gives rise to and accompanies the scientific journey.”

“Christ, who is the light of humankind and of the world, illuminates the path so that science may always be knowledge at the service of life,” he said. “When this light ceases and when knowledge is no longer in touch with life, it becomes sterile.”

He urged scientists to maintain a high regard for the sacredness of human life, “so that science is really at the service of humankind and not humankind at the service of science.”

It is thanks to scientific analysis, he said, that the church reaffirms “a just society recognises the primacy of the right to life, from conception until its natural end.”