(The following is an excerpt from the Pope's address to President Bush at Castel Gandolfo, Italy, July 23, 2001. This final part of the pope's speech addresses embryonic stem-cell research.)
Another area in which political and moral choices have the gravest consequences for the future of civilization concerns the most fundamental of human rights, the right to life itself. Experience is already showing how a tragic coarsening of consciences accompanies the assault on innocent human life in the womb, leading to accommodation and acquiescence in the face of other related evils such as euthanasia, infanticide and, most recently, proposals for the creation for research purposes of human embryos, destined to destruction in the process.
A free and virtuous society, which America aspires to be, must reject practices that devalue and violate human life at any stage from conception until natural death. In defending the right to life, in law and through a vibrant culture of life, America can show the world the path to a truly humane future in which man remains the master, not the product, of his technology.
Mr. President, as you carry out the tasks of the high office which the
American people have entrusted to you, I assure you of a remembrance in
my prayers. I am confident that under your leadership your nation will
continue to draw on its heritage and resources to help build a world in
which each member of the human family can flourish and live in a manner
worthy of his or her innate dignity. With these sentiments I cordially
invoke upon you and the beloved American people God's blessings of wisdom,
strength and peace.