A number of pro-life groups are paying tribute to Pope John Paul II, who spent his nearly 26 years as the leader of the Catholic Church defending and promoting the sanctity of life and human rights. 

"His passion brought leadership on many cultural issues, including traditional marriage and the protection of unborn children. He also took a strong stance against embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning,” said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council.

The Pope, he continued, “must be recognized for his prolific writings … and his outspoken affirmation of life that we enjoy from our Creator, from conception to natural death.”

 “With the loss of this amazing figure the world is missing one of the greatest men of our time,” Perkins stated in his press release. "I only have admiration for this godly man who championed freedom and peace, human life, and prayer. He will be missed.”

Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, referred to Pope John Paul as the “Pope of Life.”

In a statement, he said the teachings of the late Pope on the sanctity of life, and especially on the unborn, “will continue to stir our consciences to build a culture of life" and guide the Church for centuries.

Christian Coalition of America described the Pope as “a great champion of the unborn and the disabled.” It noted that just last month, Pope John Paul II urged Catholics around the world to defend the sanctity of human life after declaring a pro-life day in Italy.

The coalition also noted that the Pope and the Catholic Church supported efforts to save the life of Terri Schiavo, the 41-year-old disabled and brain-damaged woman in Florida who died 13 days after her feeding tube was removed. The Church had called the efforts to kill her by removing her feeding tube ‘euthanasia by omission.’” 

Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando, in a reflection on Schiavo’s death last week, cited Pope John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae, saying: “The words of our Pope, who knows how to suffer, gives us much food for thought.”

More in US

“We pray for Terri's soul; but, we also must pray for our own souls as we confront how we accept the mystery of death, our own and that of our loved ones,” the bishop stated.