It is an irony that as science and technology become more advanced, people are reduced to mere “numbers.” There is no difference if one is missing or dead because you will still have other ten million users or consumers. In this “number game,” the individual choice is often subdued by the majority preference even if it is against his or her conscience. This happens in the so-called culture of death.
When the “person” is reduced to mere “number,” then life becomes a socio-economic product where euthanasia or abortion can be performed without ethical or moral consideration. In the name of progress, life can be engineered. Religious principles and values are set aside. Consequently, the family institution is the one that is heavily under attack and the concept of marriage distorted. And when this happens, society becomes dysfunctional. We see this phenomenon around us today.
This is a worrying trend that the Church is trying to arrest. I believe this is also the fight that Human Life International and other pro-life movements are engaging in.
The theme of this congress, “Created in the image and likeness of God” is an urgent call to return to the core of our being, to our true identity as human. Thus, if the trends in society are undermining the innate dignity and rights of the human being, then our baptismal vocation demands that we stand up and stop the currents. It is my prayer and hope that the sessions in this congress will wake us up to respond.
I wish to congratulate and thank all those who have organised this forum for us to further deliberate and reflect on the pro-life issue. May the Spirit inspire us to be courageous and loving in our desire to counter the culture of death.
Most Rev John Wong Soo Kau
Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu