Pope John Paul II in his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae (Gospel of Life) used the words 'culture of life' which has become popular in describing the movement for life: values that respects life from conception to natural death.
In the first line of the encyclical the pope writes: "The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus' message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as 'good news' to the people of every age and culture." The second paragraph continues: "Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and the inestimable value of human life even in its temporal phase."
Today in Korea the first Sunday of May we celebrate 'Sunday for Life': Korean Church's way of promoting the culture of life. Both Catholic papers had editorials on the Sunday for Life, and articles on the subject. This year is the 20th year of promulgation of the encyclical.
One of the editorials sadly admits that we have not seen any change in the life of the Catholics from 20 years ago.The teaching of the Church has not influenced the life of Christians. According to surveys made, only half of the Catholics accept completely the teaching of the Church. In the lives of many there is an estrangement between life and the teaching of the Church. What is being taught is for happiness in life and this aspect probably needs to be emphasized. When values of life are disregarded like the tower of Babel, society is destroyed.
The bishop's committee for life has a message for Catholics on this Sunday: mentioned are many things Catholics can do to advance the culture of life and fight the culture of death. The Church has problems when one separates life from the act of love. It is not difficult for us to numerate the many ways we can do this in our scientific sophisticated society.
The bishop stresses with our scientific technology there is the danger birth and death are for us to control and manage; they are simply our possession, and we can choose to do what we please.
Sad is the reality that a great number of Christians do not see this as influencing who we are, determining the way we look upon life, and preparing the society in which we will live.