In the Fires of Decision - Christians Called to Protect Human Life and Dignity
Auxiliary Bishop Leo Schwarz, Trier, on the Trier diocesan pilgrimage to Schoenstatt: "'We Must Not Create Disposable Human Beings!"
(mkf) Embryo-consuming research and the corruption of human life as "supply store", and all bio-technical and medical research that would threaten human life and dignity would be one of the major challenges of Christian responsibility today, Auxiliary Bishop Leo Schwarz, diocesan administrator or the Trier diocese, said in his sermon in the Pilgrim Church in Schoenstatt to the more than 1,000 pilgrims. He called them to side with human life and all those who would work for the dignity and protection of human life from the beginning; it would be time to make a clear decision on the responsibility for each human life.
"Courage for a New Beginning" - the motto of the annual Trier diocesan pilgrimage to Schoenstatt and the gospel of the day were the starting point for Auxiliary Bishop Schwarz's committed sermon in the festive Holy Mass on August 19. Jesus had come to set the world afire, he said, referring to the Gospel; therefore, Christians at all times and in all areas would always be in the fires of decision - be it prosecution in Sudan, North Korea, China, be it prosecution for Christians' work for social and political justice like in Guatemala, or be it the situation in Germany that would urge Christians to speak out in view of "the frightening plans in unknown areas, where biomedical, neuro-biological and genome research were about to drastically and irreversibly change our human life."
Disposable Human Beings?
More than 135,000 abortions each year in Germany, he said, would make for the "most terrible dark spots in our country." In view of stem cell research - a salient issue in the public discourse in Germany since months, as legal deregulations are pushed and that has called the Ecclesial Movements in Germany (initiated by Bread of Life, Focolare Movement, and Schoenstatt Movement) to act -, Auxiliary Bishop Schwarz said, that hardly ever in history "human dignity had been trampled down in such a way". Human life, Leo Schwarz said, "is created to be killed, because one wants to use it." Human beings would become a "supply store, a disposable good". A human-made eternal life would be promised that would cost the life of many. The idea to clone human beings, he added, "is the most dishonoring humiliation of humankind that can be imagined."
Protecting and Defending Human Life
Auxiliary Bishop Schwarz urged the pilgrims to not escape from their responsibility. Jesus, he said, came to set the world afire; in this fire, each one would be called to act - that the fire of the evangelization would continue to light the dark of our times.
Not only Gisela Wagner from Dillingen in this moment thanked the initiators of the Action for the Protection of Human Embryos, and all those who since June have joined in to work for a legislation that protects human life from the moment of conception, without time limits, selection or prerequisites. Gisela Wagner had brought her work to this pilgrimage - 17 complete lists with signatures; signatures given by over 300 persons who side with those who love and protect human life from its beginning, who stand for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Testimony of God's Presence in the World
The Niederwerth parish choir provided the music and songs for the festive Mass. Father Tilmann Beller, moderator of the Schoenstatt pilgrimage pastoral, and Movement leader, and Fr. Johann Weber, chairperson of the Schoenstatt Movement in Trier, concelebrated with the Auxiliary Bishop. Mass servers from Neunkirchen, and the Schoenstatt Girls' Youth, contributed to the festivitiy of the Holy Mass. For the final blessing, Auxiliary Bishop Schwarz asked all children and young people to come to the altar stage - as a sign of a new beginning in faith.
During the break after lunch, a multifaceted program was offered; specially the open air sing-along was cherished. The Marian devotion in the afternoon encouraged all for a testimony of God's presence in the world. The pilgrimage closed with a prayer service by the Original Shrine.
The concern for the protection and dignity of human life that urged the Ecclesial Movements in Germany to initiate the action for the protection of human embryos will be a central issue in the Pilgrims' Mass and Marian devotion on August 26, pilgrimage day of the Cologne Archdiocese, and on September 18 after the Covenant renewal in Schoenstatt. More than 5,000 signatures have been collected by members of the Schoenstatt Movement; the total number of signatures was 23,525 in mid August.
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