Pro-life movements in Europe. An important initiative

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A request has been presented to the European Union for permission to begin collecting signatures in support of a petition that fair debate be given in European institutions to the recognition of human dignity and the right to life of every human being from the moment of conception. The request was received on 11 May last, and a sufficient number of signatures will have to be collected by 11 May 2013, that is, from at least one million citizens from seven European states.

This is a significant opportunity to send a wake-up call to the people of Europe. The organisers’ objective is to have far more than one million signatures and to involve all twenty-seven European states in what they regard as being far more than a need. It is in fact urgent. They plan to have educational and cultural activities at the same time as they collect signatures in every country of the European Union. These will take place in an atmosphere of unity and collaboration among all Christian associations and movements. This joint effort should be seen to be strong and it should promote the idea of sincere and constructive dialogue among all people.

The European Union cannot change the laws of states connected to the birth of life. However, it can behave in a way that is coherent with the principle of equal dignity of every human being from the moment of conception in every activity that it organises directly (scientific research, development aid, health).

The promoters of the activity have set up an organising committee for the collection of signatures. There are 41 representatives from 21 pro-life movements that come from 21 European nations. They say that it is absolutely necessary to have a “general mobilisation” of all who support life, as requested by John Paul II in the encyclical Evangelium vitae (no. 95). A true civil and moral renewal at a time of crisis, mistrust and resignation can begin to speak out on behalf of those who have no voice.

Within this wide context, the Italian Pro-Life Movement have organised an event in the Paul VI Hall in Vatican City. Groups involved include the Neocatechumenal Way, Communion and Liberation, the Focolare Movement, Catholic Action, the Forum of Family Associations, the Pope John XXIII Community and the Renewal in the Holy Spirit. The event is called “One of us” and will take place on 20 May in the morning from 9:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. The presenter will be Lorena Bianchetti. It will be linked up to Saint Peter’s Square at 12:00 for the Regina Coeli prayer with the Holy Father. The choir “Le verdi note” from the Antoniano in Bologna will take part, and also the Nomadelfia folklore group and the journalist and writer Costanza Miriano. The meeting will be introduced by the Hon. Carlo Casini, and the conclusions will be given by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

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