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 April 21: Lithuanian Bishops’ Letter on Day for Life 2005

“This year we commemorate the Day for Life with the recent experience of the last weeks of earthly life of Pope John Paul II marked with significant dignity and infinite confidence in the Lord”, write Lithuanian Bishops in their annual message on the Day for Life, celebrated on April 23. Pope John Paul II perfectly realized the words of his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, (67): “Dying to the Lord means experiencing one's death as the supreme act of obedience to the Father (cf. Phil 2:8), being ready to meet death at the "hour" willed and chosen by him (cf. Jn 13:1), which can only mean when one's earthly pilgrimage is completed”. This lesson of dignity of old age was given in confused times, when the fundamental principle of life is being threatened, when life and death are considered as things, that can be either “possessed” or “rejected”, write the Bishops.

Lithuanian Bishops remind the recent polemics in United States over the case of Terry Schiavo, and praised the efforts of President Bush to defend “a presumption in favor of life”. This provides ill-starred confidence for politicians and administrators of European Union, seeking to legalize euthanasia in all united Europe, warn Lithuanian Bishops. They quote urging words of “Evangelium Vitae”, 73: “Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection.” Lithuanian Bishops emphasize that “the brave voice of all of us” would be help Lithuanian representatives in European parliament to reject the allegedly “humanistic” norms, contrary to Christian faith, Lithuanian traditions and natural law.

The Bishops are also concerned about the cases of neglectful attitude towards elderly persons, that often relates with abuse and violence towards the children. The Letter encourages integrating elderly and sick persons into the life of parish community: “The prayers and suffering of the sick persons can renew Lithuania and the world”. The Bishops emphasize the enriching experience of generational communication especially that of grandparents with their grandchildren.

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