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At the heart of the commitment to safeguard and promote the fundamental good of human life is our faith in Jesus Christ and His Gospel which guides us all on the pilgrimage of our daily living. It is the faith which believes the words of Our Lord in the Beatitudes. It is the faith of the Virgin Mary who trusted that God’s promises to her would be fulfilled.
But the truth regarding the inviolable dignity of every human life is under constant attack in an ever-more secularized world. One only has to read the daily newspaper or turn on the television for the evening news to know that the Christian’s holding to the truth of the moral law is no longer tolerated by many, and that the secularist agenda never ceases in its efforts to overshadow, drown out, and intimidate the witness of faithful Christians. The goal is to silence the Christian witness. But we cannot succumb to such tactics. I urge all who are here this evening to stand firm in your witness, knowing that it is indeed the Lord’s work and that He will never fail to accompany you. Tonight, the Vigil of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, two of the greatest saints who are venerated by all Christians, gives us particular inspiration in our steadfast witness to the inviolable dignity of innocent human life. Tomorrow, we will celebrate their martyrdom in Rome for love of Christ and in faithful witness to His Gospel. We trust in the intercession of the Prince of the Apostles and of the Apostle of the Gentiles, even as we recognize that the persecution which they suffered is not only a reality recorded in books of history but continues in our own time.
Even as we gather to celebrate the work of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, we are conscious that Christian persecution is sadly at a high point throughout the world. We read every day of such persecution, for example, in Syria, Egypt, Eritrea, Nigeria and Indonesia, but we also see examples in our own nations, which have a rich Christian heritage and yet have turned their back on the very foundational truths taught by the Christian faith.