VATICAN CITY, NOV 13, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul today welcomed 50 members of the Christian Office of the Handicapped, founded in 1963 in France by Marie-Helene Mathieu and several families with handicapped members Noting that their work is inspired by Christian values, he said, "you remind people that the person is not reduced to his aptitudes and place in economic life, but rather is a creature of God, loved by Him for himself, not for what he does."
The Pope said he knows the sacrifices made by families with a handicapped member, but also the joys they experience "and the affection the (handicapped) have for those who care for them. Your action is both a service and a true mission for the promotion of the human person and the defense of their dignity. ... You accomplish in the heart of the Church the remarkable service of charity, tenderness and compassion for the handicapped and their families." He told the group and their foundress that they are "one of the signs of the solidarity of the entire Christian community with regard to those wounded in their body and in their spirit."
"Your presence," stated the Holy Father, "invites me to appeal once again in an urgent manner to all people of good will, especially government leaders and legislators, to have a elevated awareness and humanity so that all human life is protected, especially that of the weakest, the smallest and the poorest, and to stop all actions aimed at eliminating conceived and unborn children, who are defenseless, with man thus making himself the master of life."
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