Reaffirming the "greatness and inestimable value of human life," Pope John Paul II discusses in this encyclical letter the present-day legal, ethical, and moral threats to life.
In view of today's climate of practical materialism, he addresses, among other issues:
- artificial reproduction techniques
- death penalty
- legitimate defense
The Holy Father encourages the faithful to promote and develop the Christian message concerning life, based on the goodness and dignity of life and on the human responsibility to share in the fullness and truth of God's love. In order to build a new culture of human life through prayer and action, he welcomes evangelization efforts and stresses the role of the family in bringing this to fruition. Noting the unique role of women in promoting a "new feminism" that overcomes discrimination, violence, and exploitation, the pope recognizes the witness of love through motherhood and also adds a special word to women who have had an abortion.
The letter concludes by looking to Jesus, in order that all may contemplate the life that was made manifest, and to the example and solace of Mary, who is the mother of life.