(CNSNews.com) - In his speech to a joint session of Congress this morning, Pope Francis cited the Golden Rule in telling the lawmakers that they have a responsibility to defend human life at all stages of development.
The remarks received a sustained standing ovation in the chamber.
“Let us remember the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’” the pope said.
“This rule points us in a clear direction: Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated,” he said. “Let’s us seek for others the same possibilities that we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow as we would like to be helped ourselves.
“In a word, if we want security, let us give security,” he said. “If we want life, let us give life. If we want opportunity, let us offer opportunities.
“The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time uses for us,” he said.
“The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development,” said the pope.
At this point, many in the chamber rose to give the pope a standing ovation.
Last week, 177 House members voted against a bill that would have clarified that killing a born baby who survived an abortion was an act of murder.
Earlier this week, Senators filibustered a bill that would have prohibited aborting a baby in or after the 20th week of pregnancy.
Immediately after the standing ovation from Congress, the pope directed his argument on the defense and protection of all human life toward the death penalty.
“This conviction has led me from the beginning of my ministry to advocate at different levels the global abolition of the death penalty,” he said. “I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes.”