In recent months Pope Benedict XVI has placed
a great emphasis on respect for life of the unborn, noting that it is a cornerstone of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. However the emphasis is surprising to some who have in the past seen social justice only as pertaining to concerns around poverty, development, peace, and the environment.
In the 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate Pope Benedict XVI insisted that “openness to life is at the centre of true development.” In December, the Pope issued a formal legislative document, or Motu Proprio, called, “On the service of Charity” which went so far as to insist that bishops strip the name ‘Catholic’ from charitable agencies which are not being carried out in conformity with Church teaching.
Stressing the point again last week the Pope said, “We must exercise a critical vigilance and at times refuse funding and collaborations that, directly or indirectly, favour actions or projects that are at odds with Christian anthropology.”