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Dignity of all life must be regained

MANILA (Mabuhay) : Luis Cardinal Tagle described abortion as being an attack on human dignity, which he said is one of the important values in terms of respect for creation, at a Mass celebrated in Manila Cathedral on September 1 to mark the first World Day of Prayer of the Care of Creation.

The archbishop of Manila said, “If you are not useful anymore, you are dropped. It is not a contemplation of human dignity.”

CBCP News reported him as saying, “Even people are measured by profitability that is why children being conceived in the womb can be aborted.”

He linked abortion with what he called a throw-away culture, which he pointed out tends to devalue both people and nature, saying, “That is why children are considered as liabilities and elderly people are not cared for.”

He highlighted the recent encyclical of Pope Francis on the environment, Praise be: Care for our common home, as containing several strong pro-life passages, which denounce abortion, population control and embryonic experimentation.

The encyclical specifically says, “Concern for the protection of nature is incompatible with the justification of abortion.”

He quoted Pope Francis as saying in his encyclical, “At times we see an obsession with denying any pre-eminence to the human person; more zeal is shown in protecting other species than in defending the dignity which all human beings share in equal measure.”

The charismatic archbishop emphasised the importance of the See, Judge, Act principle, to first discern where the roots of destruction in society are planted and then to act to address the issue.

In this context, he spoke of the importance of education in spirituality, as care for the environment can be expressed through small gestures, even slight alterations in lifestyle.

“Since God is the creator, he is the owner of everything. We are humble creatures. We are not the owners,” he said.

“We are stewards. We are supposed to take care of God’s creation,” the cardinal explained.

A Mass is celebrated each year on September 1 at the cathedral to mark the beginning of the Season of Creation, an annual event in the archdiocese of Manila that was given fresh impetus two years ago.

A series of activities promoting environmental causes in parishes, communities and schools around the capital city of The Philippines is being organised to mark the month-long celebration.

This year will feature ecological exhibitions, performances by children on themes from the encyclical of Pope Francis, ecology quiz bees in schools and story-telling on the care for creation.

Priests, religious, students and volunteers from Archdiocesan Ecology Ministry attended the opening Mass at the cathedral.

Cardinal Tagle also stressed the importance of contemplation, caring and conversion in preserving and protecting the environment.

“Let us go back to contemplation, to that spirituality of being able to look, not because we want to manipulate, but to look because God might reveal something to us,” Cardinal Tagle said.

“Let us recover caring. Caring does not mean we are spies. Caring is attentiveness and concern that allows something or someone to grow and not to destroy,” he continued.

“This also requires a spiritual conversion to a new vision. It requires human conversion, a review of our priorities and lifestyle,” he added.

He called on people to ask God for forgiveness during this Season of Creation “for the many atrocities we have done and by harming his beautiful creation.”