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From its very title, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope John Paul II showed that he wished to give the protection of life, from conception to its natural end, a highly positive character and great new spiritual thrust.
While realistically countering new and unprecedented threats to life and the rapid spread of a “culture of death", the primary intention of this document is to proclaim the good news of the value and dignity of each human life, of its grandeur and worth, also in its temporal phase. The cause of life is in fact at the same time the cause of the Gospel and the cause of man, the cause entrusted to the church.
This encyclical was published following consultation with an extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals in 1991 and subsequently with all the bishops of the world. It is “a precise and vigorous reaffirmation of the value of human life and its inviolability," containing “a pressing appeal addressed to each and every person in the name of God: Respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this direction will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness."