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Reflections: Catholic Life Section (Life/Life Is.)

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Abortion

Abortion / Euthanasia

Artificial Fertilization

Artificial Reproduction [includes in vitro fertilization (IVF)]

Attacks Against Life

Baptism of Aborted Fetuses

Birth Control / Contraception

Defense of Life

Euthanasia

Life

Necessity of Providing Food & Water to the Sick

Prenatal Diagnosis / Testing

Right to Life

Sterilization (Sin & Vice)

Suicide 

Taking of (Innocent) Life is Forbidden

Unborn in Holy Scripture

Misc.

Also See...

Category
Quotation

Abortion

Also See: Abortion (Topic Page)

"The woman who destroys voluntarily a fetus incurs the pain of murder." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]his horrible crime [of abortion]...will eventually draw down divine punishment on our nation." (Catholic Bishops of Iowa)

"Can. 1398 A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable." (Pope John Paul II)

"Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care, while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes." (Second Vatican Council)

"Those who give drugs causing abortions are murderers themselves, as well as those who receive the poison which kills the fetus." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church, c. 369 A.D.)

"But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth." (Pope John Paul II)

"Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception. Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? where there are many efforts at abortion? where there is murder before the birth? for even the harlot thou dost not let continue a mere harlot, but makest her a murderess also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevent its being born. Why then dost thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter?" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined. In no way could this human being ever be considered an aggressor, much less an unjust aggressor! He or she is weak, defenseless, even to the point of lacking that minimal form of defense consisting in the poignant power of a newborn baby's cries and tears. The unborn child is totally entrusted to the protection and care of the woman carrying him or her in the womb. And yet sometimes it is precisely the mother herself who makes the decision and asks for the child to be eliminated, and who then goes about having it done." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"The Church's canonical discipline, from the earliest centuries, has inflicted penal sanctions on those guilty of abortion. This practice, with more or less severe penalties, has been confirmed in various periods of history. The 1917 Code of Canon Law punished abortion with excommunication. The revised canonical legislation continues this tradition when it decrees that 'a person who actually procures an abortion incurs automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication'. The excommunication affects all those who commit this crime with knowledge of the penalty attached, and thus includes those accomplices without whose help the crime would not have been committed. By this reiterated sanction, the Church makes clear that abortion is a most serious and dangerous crime, thereby encouraging those who commit it to seek without delay the path of conversion." (Pope John Paul II)

"Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops - who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine - I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church." (Pope John Paul II)

"Christian Tradition - as the Declaration issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith points out so well - is clear and unanimous, from the beginning up to our own day, in describing abortion as a particularly grave moral disorder. From its first contacts with the Greco-Roman world, where abortion and infanticide were widely practiced, the first Christian community, by its teaching and practice, radically opposed the customs rampant in that society, as is clearly shown by the Didache...Among the Greek ecclesiastical writers, Athenagoras records that Christians consider as murderesses women who have recourse to abortifacient medicines, because children, even if they are still in their mother's womb, 'are already under the protection of Divine Providence'. Among the Latin authors, Tertullian affirms: 'It is anticipated murder to prevent someone from being born; it makes little difference whether one kills a soul already born or puts it to death at birth. He who will one day be a man is a man already'. Throughout Christianity's two thousand year history, this same doctrine has been constantly taught by the Fathers of the Church and by her Pastors and Doctors. Even scientific and philosophical discussions about the precise moment of the infusion of the spiritual soul have never given rise to any hesitation about the moral condemnation of abortion." (Pope John Paul II)

"Some people try to justify abortion by claiming that the result of conception, at least up to a certain number of days, cannot yet be considered a personal human life. But in fact, 'from the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already. This has always been clear, and... modern genetic science offers clear confirmation. It has demonstrated that from the first instant there is established the programme of what this living being will be: a person, this individual person with his characteristic aspects already well determined. Right from fertilization the adventure of a human life begins, and each of its capacities requires time - a rather lengthy time - to find its place and to be in a position to act'. Even if the presence of a spiritual soul cannot be ascertained by empirical data, the results themselves of scientific research on the human embryo provide 'a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of the first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person?'. Furthermore, what is at stake is so important that, from the standpoint of moral obligation, the mere probability that a human person is involved would suffice to justify an absolutely clear prohibition of any intervention aimed at killing a human embryo. Precisely for this reason, over and above all scientific debates and those philosophical affirmations to which the Magisterium has not expressly committed itself, the Church has always taught and continues to teach that the result of human procreation, from the first moment of its existence, must be guaranteed that unconditional respect which is morally due to the human being in his or her totality and unity as body and spirit: 'The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life'." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"[E]very human being, even the child in the womb, has the right to life directly from God and not from his parents, not from any society or human authority. Therefore, there is no man, no human authority, no science, no 'indication' at all - whether it be medical, eugenic, social, economic, or moral - that may offer or give a valid judicial title for a direct deliberate disposal of an innocent human life, that is, a disposal which aims at its destruction, whether as an end in itself or as a means to achieve the end, perhaps in no way at all illicit. Thus, for example, to save the life of the mother is a very noble act; but the direct killing of the child as a means to such an end is illicit. The direct destruction of so-called 'useless lives,' already born or still in the womb, practiced extensively a few years ago, can in no wise be justified. Therefore, when this practice was initiated, the Church expressly declared that it was against the natural law and the divine positive law, and consequently that it was unlawful to kill, even by order of the public authorities, those who were innocent, even if on account of some physical or mental defect, they were useless to the State and a burden upon it. The life of an innocent person is sacrosanct, and any direct attempt or aggression against it is a violation of one of the fundamental laws without which secure human society is impossible. We have no need to teach you in detail the meaning and the gravity, in your profession, of this fundamental law. But never forget this: there rises above every human law and above every 'indication' the faultless law of God." (Pope Pius XII, Address to Midwives)

"Another very grave crime is also to be noted, by which the life of the offspring hidden in the mother's womb is attempted. Moreover, some wish this to be permitted according to the pleasure of the mother or father; others, however, call it illicit unless very grave reasons attend, which they call by the name of medical, social, eugenic 'indication.' Since this pertains to the penal laws of the state, according to which the destruction of the offspring begotten but not yet born is prohibited, all of these demand that the 'indication,' which they defend individually in one way or another, be recognized even by the public laws, and be declared free of all punishment. Nay rather, there are not lacking those who demand that public magistrates lend a helping hand to these death-dealing operations, something which unfortunately we all know is taking place very frequently in some places. Now as for the medical and therapeutic 'indication,' to use their words, We have already said, Venerable Brethren, how sorry We are for the mother, whose health and even life are threatened by grave dangers resulting from nature's duty; but what reason can ever be strong enough to excuse in any way the direct murder of the innocent? For this is the case in point here. Whether this is brought upon the mother or the offspring, it is contrary to God's precept and the voice of nature: 'Thou shalt not kill!' [Exod. 20:13]. The life of each person is an equally sacred thing, and no one can ever have the power, not even public authority to destroy it. Consequently, it is most unjust to invoke the 'right of the sword' against the innocent since this is valid against the guilty alone; nor is there any right in this case of a bloody defense against an unjust aggressor (for who will call an innocent child an unjust aggressor?); nor is there present any 'right of extreme necessity,' as it is called, which can extend even to the direct killing of the innocent. Therefore, honorable and experienced physicians praiseworthily endeavor to protect and to save the lives of both the mother and the offspring; on the other hand, most unworthy of the noble name of physician and of commendation would they prove themselves, as many as plan for the death of one or the other under the appearance of practicing medicine or through motives of false pity... [T]o seek to procure the death of the innocent is improper and contrary to the divine precept promulgated by the words of the Apostle: 'Evil is not to be done that good may come of it' [Rom. 3:8]. Finally, those who hold high office among nations and pass laws may not forget that it belongs to public authority by appropriate laws and penalties to defend the lives of the innocent, and the more so as those whose lives are endangered and are attacked are less able to defend themselves, among whom surely infants in their mothers' wombs hold first place. But if public magistrates not only do not protect those little ones, but by their laws and ordinances permit this, and thus give them over to the hands of physicians and others to be killed, let them remember that God is the judge and the avenger of innocent 'blood which cries from earth to heaven' [Gen. 4:10]." (Pope Pius XI)

Also See: Abortion / Euthanasia | Baptism of Aborted Fetuses | Attacks Against Life | Right to Life | Taking of (Innocent) Life is Forbidden | The Unborn in Holy Scripture | Threats to Life: Abortion | Is Abortion Really a 'Right' or a 'Choice'? | Calling Abortion By Its True Name | Abortion Kills | The Unborn Baby | Abortion is a Grave Sin

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

Top | Reflectns.: A-Z | Catg. | Scripture: A-Z | Catg. | Help

Abortion / Euthanasia

Also See: Pro-Life (Topic Page)

"Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize." (Pope John Paul II)

"The killing of the innocent is no less sinful an act or less destructive because it is done in a legal and scientific manner." (Pope John Paul II)

"Do not let into your homes that permissive culture which allows everything, even the suppression of life before it blossoms or before it declines and comes to an end naturally." (Pope John Paul II, 1993)

"The legal toleration of abortion or of euthanasia can in no way claim to be based on respect for the conscience of others, precisely because society has the right and the duty to protect itself against the abuses which can occur in the name of conscience and under the pretext of freedom." (Pope John Paul II)

"To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: 'Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin' (Jn 8:34). " (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"The rejection of life, confirmed and ratified by legal abortion as a culture of death, is gaining ground in today's society, with the intention of legalizing euthanasia also. Life, which has always been welcomed and desired as a great good for humanity as well as being the fundamental and primary value for every individual, must be reaffirmed, assimilated and recovered today from a culture which otherwise risks closing in on and destroying itself, or reducing life to a consumer product for an affluent society." (Pope John Paul II, 1996)

"Here though we shall concentrate particular attention on another category of attacks, affecting life in its earliest and in its final stages, attacks which present new characteristics with respect to the past and which raise questions of extraordinary seriousness. It is not only that in generalized opinion these attacks tend no longer to be considered as 'crimes'; paradoxically they assume the nature of 'rights', to the point that the State is called upon to give them legal recognition and to make them available through the free services of health-care personnel. Such attacks strike human life at the time of its greatest frailty, when it lacks any means of self-defense. Even more serious is the fact that, most often, those attacks are carried out in the very heart of and with the complicity of the family - the family which by its nature is called to be the 'sanctuary of life'.... [T]he value of life can today undergo a kind of 'eclipse', even though conscience does not cease to point to it as a sacred and inviolable value, as is evident in the tendency to disguise certain crimes against life in its early or final stages by using innocuous medical terms which distract attention from the fact that what is involved is the right to life of an actual human person." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"Consequently, laws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent human beings through abortion or euthanasia are in complete opposition to the inviolable right to life proper to every individual; they thus deny the equality of everyone before the law. It might be objected that such is not the case in euthanasia, when it is requested with full awareness by the person involved. But any State which made such a request legitimate and authorized it to be carried out would be legalizing a case of suicide-murder, contrary to the fundamental principles of absolute respect for life and of the protection of every innocent life. In this way the State contributes to lessening respect for life and opens the door to ways of acting which are destructive of trust in relations between people. Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are therefore radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common good; as such they are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity. Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good. Consequently, a civil law authorizing abortion or euthanasia ceases by that very fact to be a true, morally binding civil law. Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. From the very beginnings of the Church, the apostolic preaching reminded Christians of their duty to obey legitimately constituted public authorities (cf. Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pt. 2:13-14), but at the same time it firmly warned that 'we must obey God rather than men' (Acts 5:29). In the Old Testament, precisely in regard to threats against life, we find a significant example of resistance to the unjust command of those in authority. After Pharaoh ordered the killing of all newborn males, the Hebrew midwives refused. 'They did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live' (Ex. 1:17). But the ultimate reason for their action should be noted: 'the midwives feared God' (ibid.). It is precisely from obedience to God - to whom alone is due that fear which is acknowledgment of his absolute sovereignty - that the strength and the courage to resist unjust human laws are born. It is the strength and the courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned or put to the sword, in the certainty that this is what makes for 'the endurance and faith of the saints' (Rv. 13:10). In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it'.... Christians, like all people of good will, are called upon under grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God's law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. Such cooperation occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it. This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it. Each individual in fact has moral responsibility for the acts which he personally performs; no one can be exempted from this responsibility, and on the basis of it everyone will be judged by God himself (cf. Rom. 2:6; 14:12). To refuse to take part in committing an injustice is not only a moral duty; it is also a basic human right... Those who have recourse to conscientious objection must be protected not only from legal penalties but also from any negative effects on the legal, disciplinary, financial and professional plane." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

Also See: Abortion | Euthanasia | Right to Life | Taking of (Innocent) Life is Forbidden | Threat to Life: Abortion | Threat to Life: Euthanasia 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

Top | Reflectns.: A-Z | Catg. | Scripture: A-Z | Catg. | Help

Artificial Fertilization

"1. The practice of artificial fertilization, insofar as it concerns man, cannot be judged exclusively, or even principally, according to the norms of biology and medicine, neglecting moral and juridical norms. 2. Artificial fertilization outside of marriage is to be condemned purely and simply as immoral. In fact, natural law and positive divine law demand that procreated new life be the fruit of marriage alone. Only marriage guards the dignity of spouses (especially of the wife, as far as this question is concerned), and their personal good. Only marriage of itself provides for the good and education of the child. Therefore, it follows that there can be no divergence of opinion among Catholics in condemning artificial fertilization outside the conjugal union. Offspring conceived in such a manner would be by the very fact illegitimate. 3. Artificial fertilization, which is effected within marriage but by an active element of a third party, is in the same way immoral, and as such is to be condemned absolutely. Only spouses have a reciprocal right over the body to procreate new life, which right is exclusive and inalienable. The child also demands this. For upon him, who communicates new life to the child, nature itself by the force of this relationship imposes the obligation both of protecting and raising this offspring. Indeed, between the legitimate husband and the child procreated by the active element of the third party (even if the husband should consent) no bond of origin, nor any moral and juridical bond of matrimonial procreation exists. 4. As for the morality of artificial fertilization within marriage, let it suffice for the present for Us to call to mind the principles of the natural law; the mere fact that the end which is intended is actually achieved in this way does not make the use of this means lawful... Let it not be forgotten: only the procreation of new life, which takes place according to the will and order of the Creator, obtains to a truly perfect degree the ends intended by it. Such procreation corresponds at once to the corporal and spiritual nature and the dignity of the spouses and to the normal and happy development of the infant." (Pope Pius XII, Address to Catholic Physicians, September 29, 1949 A.D.)

Also See: Artificial Reproduction

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Artificial Reproduction

Note: The term 'artificial reproduction' includes in vitro fertilization (IVF) - a  gravely sinful  practice. This unnatural, despicable method of conceiving ('manufacturing') children results in the death of most embryos and may also result in health problems for the children who live. The sinful procedure also generally fails to address the underlying cause of infertility. Further, it may be expensive as well as ineffective. Finally, it may display selfishness, a lack of humility, and contempt for (or disregard for) the Church's teachings.

"The various techniques of artificial reproduction, which would seem to be at the service of life and which are frequently used with this intention, actually open the door to new threats against life. Apart from the fact that they are morally unacceptable, since they separate procreation from the fully human context of the conjugal act, these techniques have a high rate of failure: not just failure in relation to fertilization but with regard to the subsequent development of the embryo, which is exposed to the risk of death, generally within a very short space of time. Furthermore, the number of embryos produced is often greater than that needed for implantation in the woman's womb, and these so-called 'spare embryos' are then destroyed or used for research which, under the pretext of scientific or medical progress, in fact reduces human life to the level of simple 'biological material' to be freely disposed of." (Pope John Paul II)

Also See: Artificial Fertilization

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

Top | Reflectns.: A-Z | Catg. | Scripture: A-Z | Catg. | Help

Attacks Against Life

Also See: Pro-Life (Topic Page)

"At the very time that science and medicine are increasingly able to safeguard health and life, threats against life are becoming more insidious." (Pope John Paul II)

"[W]e are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the 'culture of death' and the 'culture of life'. We find ourselves not only 'faced with' but necessarily 'in the midst of' this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"Humanity today offers us a truly alarming spectacle, if we consider not only how extensively attacks on life are spreading but also their unheard-of numerical proportion, and the fact that they receive widespread and powerful support from a broad consensus on the part of society, from widespread legal approval and the involvement of certain sectors of health-care personnel." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"Finally, one cannot overlook the network of complicity which reaches out to include international institutions, foundations and associations which systematically campaign for the legalization and spread of abortion in the world. In this sense abortion goes beyond the responsibility of individuals and beyond the harm done to them, and takes on a distinctly social dimension. It is a most serious wound inflicted on society and its culture by the very people who ought to be society's promoters and defenders. As I wrote in my Letter to Families, 'we are facing an immense threat to life: not only to the life of individuals but also to that of civilization itself'. We are facing what can be called a 'structure of sin' which opposes human life not yet born." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"'The twentieth century will have been an era of massive attacks on life, an endless series of wars and a continual taking of innocent human life. False prophets and false teachers have had the greatest success'. Aside from intentions, which can be varied and perhaps can seem convincing at times, especially if presented in the name of solidarity, we are in fact faced by an objective 'conspiracy against life', involving even international institutions, engaged in encouraging and carrying out actual campaigns to make contraception, sterilization and abortion widely available. Nor can it be denied that the mass media are often implicated in this conspiracy, by lending credit to that culture which presents recourse to contraception, sterilization, abortion and even euthanasia as a mark of progress and a victory of freedom, while depicting as enemies of freedom and progress those positions which are unreservedly pro-life...It is a problem which exists at the cultural, social and political level, where it reveals its more sinister and disturbing aspect in the tendency, ever more widely shared, to interpret the above crimes against life as legitimate expressions of individual freedom, to be acknowledged and protected as actual rights." (Pope John Paul II)

"[W]e are confronted by an even larger reality, which can be described as a veritable structure of sin. This reality is characterized by the emergence of a culture which denies solidarity and in many cases takes the form of a veritable 'culture of death'. This culture is actively fostered by powerful cultural, economic and political currents which encourage an idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency. Looking at the situation from this point of view, it is possible to speak in a certain sense of a war of the powerful against the weak: a life which would require greater acceptance, love and care is considered useless, or held to be an intolerable burden, and is therefore rejected in one way or another. A person who, because of illness, handicap or, more simply, just by existing, compromises the well-being or life-style of those who are more favored tends to be looked upon as an enemy to be resisted or eliminated. In this way a kind of 'conspiracy against life' is unleashed. This conspiracy involves not only individuals in their personal, family or group relationships, but goes far beyond, to the point of damaging and distorting, at the international level, relations between peoples and States." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"One of the specific characteristics of present-day attacks on human life - as has already been said several times - consists in the trend to demand a legal justification for them, as if they were rights which the State, at least under certain conditions, must acknowledge as belonging to citizens. Consequently, there is a tendency to claim that it should be possible to exercise these rights with the safe and free assistance of doctors and medical personnel. It is often claimed that the life of an unborn child or a seriously disabled person is only a relative good: according to a proportionalist approach, or one of sheer calculation, this good should be compared with and balanced against other goods. It is even maintained that only someone present and personally involved in a concrete situation can correctly judge the goods at stake: consequently, only that person would be able to decide on the morality of his choice. The State therefore, in the interest of civil coexistence and social harmony, should respect this choice, even to the point of permitting abortion and euthanasia. At other times, it is claimed that civil law cannot demand that all citizens should live according to moral standards higher than what all citizens themselves acknowledge and share. Hence the law should always express the opinion and will of the majority of citizens and recognize that they have, at least in certain extreme cases, the right even to abortion and euthanasia. Moreover the prohibition and the punishment of abortion and euthanasia in these cases would inevitably lead - so it is said - to an increase of illegal practices: and these would not be subject to necessary control by society and would be carried out in a medically unsafe way. The question is also raised whether supporting a law which in practice cannot be enforced would not ultimately undermine the authority of all laws. Finally, the more radical views go so far as to maintain that in a modern and pluralistic society people should be allowed complete freedom to dispose of their own lives as well as of the lives of the unborn: it is asserted that it is not the task of the law to choose between different moral opinions, and still less can the law claim to impose one particular opinion to the detriment of others. In any case, in the democratic culture of our time it is commonly held that the legal system of any society should limit itself to taking account of and accepting the convictions of the majority. It should therefore be based solely upon what the majority itself considers moral and actually practices. Furthermore, if it is believed that an objective truth shared by all is de facto unattainable, then respect for the freedom of the citizens - who in a democratic system are considered the true rulers - would require that on the legislative level the autonomy of individual consciences be acknowledged. Consequently, when establishing those norms which are absolutely necessary for social coexistence, the only determining factor should be the will of the majority, whatever this may be. Hence every politician, in his or her activity, should clearly separate the realm of private conscience from that of public conduct. As a result we have what appear to be two diametrically opposed tendencies. On the one hand, individuals claim for themselves in the moral sphere the most complete freedom of choice and demand that the State should not adopt or impose any ethical position but limit itself to guaranteeing maximum space for the freedom of each individual, with the sole limitation of not infringing on the freedom and rights of any other citizen. On the other hand, it is held that, in the exercise of public and professional duties, respect for other people's freedom of choice requires that each one should set aside his or her own convictions in order to satisfy every demand of the citizens which is recognized and guaranteed by law; in carrying out one's duties the only moral criterion should be what is laid down by the law itself. Individual responsibility is thus turned over to the civil law, with a renouncing of personal conscience, at least in the public sphere. At the basis of all these tendencies lies the ethical relativism which characterizes much of present-day culture. There are those who consider such relativism an essential condition of democracy, inasmuch as it alone is held to guarantee tolerance, mutual respect between people and acceptance of the decisions of the majority, whereas moral norms considered to be objective and binding are held to lead to authoritarianism and intolerance. But it is precisely the issue of respect for life which shows what misunderstandings and contradictions, accompanied by terrible practical consequences, are concealed in this position. It is true that history has known cases where crimes have been committed in the name of 'truth'. But equally grave crimes and radical denials of freedom have also been committed and are still being committed in the name of 'ethical relativism'. When a parliamentary or social majority decrees that it is legal, at least under certain conditions, to kill unborn human life, is it not really making a 'tyrannical' decision with regard to the weakest and most defenseless of human beings? Everyone's conscience rightly rejects those crimes against humanity of which our century has had such sad experience. But would these crimes cease to be crimes if, instead of being committed by unscrupulous tyrants, they were legitimated by popular consensus? Democracy cannot be idolized to the point of making it a substitute for morality or a panacea for immorality. Fundamentally, democracy is a 'system' and as such is a means and not an end. Its 'moral' value is not automatic, but depends on conformity to the moral law to which it, like every other form of human behavior, must be subject: in other words, its morality depends on the morality of the ends which it pursues and of the means which it employs... But the value of democracy stands or falls with the values which it embodies and promotes...The basis of these values cannot be provisional and changeable 'majority' opinions, but only the acknowledgment of an objective moral law which, as the 'natural law' written in the human heart, is the obligatory point of reference for civil law itself." (Pope John Paul II)

"Precisely in an age when the inviolable rights of the person are solemnly proclaimed and the value of life is publicly affirmed, the very right to life is being denied or trampled upon, especially at the more significant moments of existence: the moment of birth and the moment of death. On the one hand, the various declarations of human rights and the many initiatives inspired by these declarations show that at the global level there is a growing moral sensitivity, more alert to acknowledging the value and dignity of every individual as a human being, without any distinction of race, nationality, religion, political opinion or social class. On the other hand, these noble proclamations are unfortunately contradicted by a tragic repudiation of them in practice. This denial is still more distressing, indeed more scandalous, precisely because it is occurring in a society which makes the affirmation and protection of human rights its primary objective and its boast. How can these repeated affirmations of principle be reconciled with the continual increase and widespread justification of attacks on human life? How can we reconcile these declarations with the refusal to accept those who are weak and needy, or elderly, or those who have just been conceived? These attacks go directly against respect for life and they represent a direct threat to the entire culture of human rights. It is a threat capable, in the end, of jeopardizing the very meaning of democratic coexistence: rather than societies of 'people living together', our cities risk becoming societies of people who are rejected, marginalized, uprooted and oppressed. If we then look at the wider worldwide perspective, how can we fail to think that the very affirmation of the rights of individuals and peoples made in distinguished international assemblies is a merely futile exercise of rhetoric, if we fail to unmask the selfishness of the rich countries which exclude poorer countries from access to development or make such access dependent on arbitrary prohibitions against procreation, setting up an opposition between development and man himself? Should we not question the very economic models often adopted by States which, also as a result of international pressures and forms of conditioning, cause and aggravate situations of injustice and violence in which the life of whole peoples is degraded and trampled upon? ...At another level, the roots of the contradiction between the solemn affirmation of human rights and their tragic denial in practice lies in a notion of freedom which exalts the isolated individual in an absolute way, and gives no place to solidarity, to openness to others and service of them. While it is true that the taking of life not yet born or in its final stages is sometimes marked by a mistaken sense of altruism and human compassion, it cannot be denied that such a culture of death, taken as a whole, betrays a completely individualistic concept of freedom, which ends up by becoming the freedom of 'the strong' against the weak who have no choice but to submit." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

Also See: Right to Life | Threats to Life | Taking of (Innocent) Life is Forbidden | Defense of Life | Abortion | Threat to Life: Abortion | Abortion / Euthanasia | Birth Control / Contraception | Threat to Life: Contraception | Euthanasia | Threat to Life: Euthanasia | Suicide | Life | Flier: "Organ Donation: Act of Charity or License to Kill?"

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Baptism of Aborted Fetuses

Also See: Baptism (Topic Page) | Abortion (Topic Page)

"Can. 747 Care should be taken that aborted fetuses, at whatever time they are born, if they are certainly alive, be baptized absolutely; if there is doubt, under condition after (being born)." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

Also See: Abortion | Threats to Life: Abortion | The Unborn Baby | Abortion is a Grave Sin | Sacraments Section

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Birth Control / Contracep

-tion

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Defense of Life

Also See: Pro-Life (Topic Page)

"It is therefore a service of love which we are all committed to ensure to our neighbor, that his or her life may be always defended and promoted, especially when it is weak or threatened." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"Stand up for the life of the aged and the handicapped, against attempts to promote assisted suicide and euthanasia! Stand up for marriage and family life! Stand up for purity!" (Pope John Paul II)

"[W]e are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the 'culture of death' and the 'culture of life'. We find ourselves not only 'faced with' but necessarily 'in the midst of' this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life." (Pope John Paul II, 1995) 

Also See: Taking of (Innocent) Life is Forbidden | Life | Right to Life | Attacks Against Life | Threats to Life | Threat to Life: Abortion | Abortion | Euthanasia | Suicide

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Euthanasia

Also See: Pro-Life (Topic Page)

"Thou shalt not kill" (Ex. 20:13)

"Regardless of intentions and circumstances, euthanasia is always an intrinsically evil act, a violation of God's law and an offence against the dignity of the human person." (Pope John Paul II)

"The elderly must be protected from situations or pressures which could drive them to suicide; in particular they must be helped nowadays to resist the temptation of assisted suicide and euthanasia." (Pope John Paul II)

"Causing death can never be considered a form of medical treatment, even when the intention is solely to comply with the patient's request. Rather, it runs completely counter to the health-care profession, which is meant to be an impassioned and unflinching affirmation of life." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"[S]entimentality blinds the mind and leads it to hold monstrous theories and to extol immoral and fatal practices. Is it not such false pity which claims to justify euthanasia and to remove from man purifying and meritorious suffering, not by a charitable and praiseworthy help but by death" (Pope Pius XII)

"Taking into account these distinctions, in harmony with the Magisterium of my Predecessors and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"For a correct moral judgment on euthanasia, in the first place a clear definition is required. Euthanasia in the strict sense is understood to be an action or omission which of itself and by intention causes death, with the purpose of eliminating all suffering. 'Euthanasia's terms of reference, therefore, are to be found in the intention of the will and in the methods used'. Euthanasia must be distinguished from the decision to forego so-called 'aggressive medical treatment', in other words, medical procedures which no longer correspond to the real situation of the patient, either because they are by now disproportionate to any expected results or because they impose an excessive burden on the patient and his family. In such situations, when death is clearly imminent and inevitable, one can in conscience 'refuse forms of treatment that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation of life, so long as the normal care due to the sick person in similar cases is not interrupted'. Certainly there is a moral obligation to care for oneself and to allow oneself to be cared for, but this duty must take account of concrete circumstances. It needs to be determined whether the means of treatment available are objectively proportionate to the prospects for improvement. To forego extraordinary or disproportionate means is not the equivalent of suicide or euthanasia; it rather expresses acceptance of the human condition in the face of death." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"In modern medicine, increased attention is being given to what are called 'methods of palliative care', which seek to make suffering more bearable in the final stages of illness and to ensure that the patient is supported and accompanied in his or her ordeal. Among the questions which arise in this context is that of the licitness of using various types of painkillers and sedatives for relieving the patient's pain when this involves the risk of shortening life. While praise may be due to the person who voluntarily accepts suffering by forgoing treatment with pain-killers in order to remain fully lucid and, if a believer, to share consciously in the Lord's Passion, such 'heroic' behavior cannot be considered the duty of everyone. Pius XII affirmed that it is licit to relieve pain by narcotics, even when the result is decreased consciousness and a shortening of life, 'if no other means exist, and if, in the given circumstances, this does not prevent the carrying out of other religious and moral duties'. In such a case, death is not willed or sought, even though for reasonable motives one runs the risk of it: there is simply a desire to ease pain effectively by using the analgesics which medicine provides. All the same, 'it is not right to deprive the dying person of consciousness without a serious reason': as they approach death people ought to be able to satisfy their moral and family duties, and above all they ought to be able to prepare in a fully conscious way for their definitive meeting with God." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"When the prevailing tendency is to value life only to the extent that it brings pleasure and well-being, suffering seems like an unbearable setback, something from which one must be freed at all costs. Death is considered 'senseless' if it suddenly interrupts a life still open to a future of new and interesting experiences. But it becomes a 'rightful liberation' once life is held to be no longer meaningful because it is filled with pain and inexorably doomed to even greater suffering. Furthermore, when he denies or neglects his fundamental relationship to God, man thinks he is his own rule and measure, with the right to demand that society should guarantee him the ways and means of deciding what to do with his life in full and complete autonomy. It is especially people in the developed countries who act in this way: they feel encouraged to do so also by the constant progress of medicine and its ever more advanced techniques. By using highly sophisticated systems and equipment, science and medical practice today are able not only to attend to cases formerly considered untreatable and to reduce or eliminate pain, but also to sustain and prolong life even in situations of extreme frailty, to resuscitate artificially patients whose basic biological functions have undergone sudden collapse, and to use special procedures to make organs available for transplanting. In this context the temptation grows to have recourse to euthanasia, that is, to take control of death and bring it about before its time, 'gently' ending one's own life or the life of others. In reality, what might seem logical and humane, when looked at more closely is seen to be senseless and inhumane. Here we are faced with one of the more alarming symptoms of the 'culture of death', which is advancing above all in prosperous societies, marked by an attitude of excessive preoccupation with efficiency and which sees the growing number of elderly and disabled people as intolerable and too burdensome. These people are very often isolated by their families and by society, which are organized almost exclusively on the basis of criteria of productive efficiency, according to which a hopelessly impaired life no longer has any value." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"Even when not motivated by a selfish refusal to be burdened with the life of someone who is suffering, euthanasia must be called a false mercy, and indeed a disturbing 'perversion' of mercy. True 'compassion' leads to sharing another's pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear. Moreover, the act of euthanasia appears all the more perverse if it is carried out by those, like relatives, who are supposed to treat a family member with patience and love, or by those, such as doctors, who by virtue of their specific profession are supposed to care for the sick person even in the most painful terminal stages. The choice of euthanasia becomes more serious when it takes the form of a murder committed by others on a person who has in no way requested it and who has never consented to it. The height of arbitrariness and injustice is reached when certain people, such as physicians or legislators, arrogate to themselves the power to decide who ought to live and who ought to die. Once again we find ourselves before the temptation of Eden: to become like God who 'knows good and evil' (cf. Gen. 3:5). God alone has the power over life and death: 'It is I who bring both death and life' (Deut. 32:39; cf. 2 Kg. 5:7; 1 Sam. 2:6). But he only exercises this power in accordance with a plan of wisdom and love. When man usurps this power, being enslaved by a foolish and selfish way of thinking, he inevitably uses it for injustice and death. Thus the life of the person who is weak is put into the hands of the one who is strong; in society the sense of justice is lost, and mutual trust, the basis of every authentic interpersonal relationship, is undermined at its root. Quite different from this is the way of love and true mercy, which our common humanity calls for, and upon which faith in Christ the Redeemer, who died and rose again, sheds ever new light. The request which arises from the human heart in the supreme confrontation with suffering and death, especially when faced with the temptation to give up in utter desperation, is above all a request for companionship, sympathy and support in the time of trial. It is a plea for help to keep on hoping when all human hopes fail." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"In a social and cultural context which makes it more difficult to face and accept suffering, the temptation becomes all the greater to resolve the problem of suffering by eliminating it at the root, by hastening death so that it occurs at the moment considered most suitable. Various considerations usually contribute to such a decision, all of which converge in the same terrible outcome. In the sick person the sense of anguish, of severe discomfort, and even of desperation brought on by intense and prolonged suffering can be a decisive factor. Such a situation can threaten the already fragile equilibrium of an individual's personal and family life, with the result that, on the one hand, the sick person, despite the help of increasingly effective medical and social assistance, risks feeling overwhelmed by his or her own frailty; and on the other hand, those close to the sick person can be moved by an understandable even if misplaced compassion. All this is aggravated by a cultural climate which fails to perceive any meaning or value in suffering, but rather considers suffering the epitome of evil, to be eliminated at all costs. This is especially the case in the absence of a religious outlook which could help to provide a positive understanding of the mystery of suffering. On a more general level, there exists in contemporary culture a certain Promethean attitude which leads people to think that they can control life and death by taking the decisions about them into their own hands. What really happens in this case is that the individual is overcome and crushed by a death deprived of any prospect of meaning or hope. We see a tragic expression of all this in the spread of euthanasia - disguised and surreptitious, or practiced openly and even legally. As well as for reasons of a misguided pity at the sight of the patient's suffering, euthanasia is sometimes justified by the utilitarian motive of avoiding costs which bring no return and which weigh heavily on society. Thus it is proposed to eliminate malformed babies, the severely handicapped, the disabled, the elderly, especially when they are not self-sufficient, and the terminally ill. Nor can we remain silent in the face of other more furtive, but no less serious and real, forms of euthanasia. These could occur for example when, in order to increase the availability of organs for transplants, organs are removed without respecting objective and adequate criteria which verify the death of the donor." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"The killing of the innocent is no less sinful an act or less destructive because it is done in a legal and scientific manner." (Pope John Paul II)

Also See: Abortion / Euthanasia | Attacks Against Life | Taking of (Innocent) Life is Forbidden | Right to Life | Threat to Life: Euthanasia | Necessity of Providing Food & Water to the Sick | Suicide | Suffering & Death | Death & Dying [Pg.] | Suffering & Death Reflections [Pg.] | Catholic Seniors Section

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Life

Also See: Pro-Life (Topic Page)

"[T]he LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being." (Gen. 2:7)

"Life is entrusted to man as a treasure which must not be squandered, as a talent which must be used well. Man must render an account of it to his Master (cf. Mt. 25:14-30; Lk. 19:12-27)." (Pope John Paul II)

"In every child which is born and in every person who lives or dies we see the image of God's glory. We celebrate this glory in every human being, a sign of the living God, an icon of Jesus Christ." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"Every human person, no matter how vulnerable or helpless, no matter how young or how old, no matter how healthy, handicapped or sick, no matter how useful or productive for society, is a being of inestimable worth, created in the image and likeness of God." (Pope John Paul II)

"Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves 'the creative action of God', and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being." (Pope John Paul II)

"Human life and death are thus in the hands of God, in his power: 'In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind', exclaims Job (12:10). 'The Lord brings to death and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up' (1 Sam. 2:6). He alone can say: 'It is I who bring both death and life' (Deut. 32:39). But God does not exercise this power in an arbitrary and threatening way, but rather as part of his care and loving concern for his creatures. If it is true that human life is in the hands of God, it is no less true that these are loving hands, like those of a mother who accepts, nurtures and takes care of her child" (Pope John Paul II) 

"Human life is sacred and inviolable at every moment of existence, including the initial phase which precedes birth. All human beings, from their mothers' womb, belong to God who searches them and knows them, who forms them and knits them together with his own hands, who gazes on them when they are tiny shapeless embryos and already sees in them the adults of tomorrow whose days are numbered and whose vocation is even now written in the 'book of life' (cf. Ps. 139: 1, 13-16). There too, when they are still in their mothers' womb - as many passages of the Bible bear witness - they are the personal objects of God's loving and fatherly providence." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"Life is indelibly marked by a truth of its own. By accepting God's gift, man is obliged to maintain life in this truth which is essential to it. To detach oneself from this truth is to condemn oneself to meaninglessness and unhappiness, and possibly to become a threat to the existence of others, since the barriers guaranteeing respect for life and the defense of life, in every circumstance, have been broken down. The truth of life is revealed by God's commandment. The word of the Lord shows concretely the course which life must follow if it is to respect its own truth and to preserve its own dignity. The protection of life is not only ensured by the specific commandment 'You shall not kill' (Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17); the entire Law of the Lord serves to protect life, because it reveals that truth in which life finds its full meaning." (Pope John Paul II)

Also See: The Gift of Life: Life is a Gift From God | Right to Life | Attacks Against Life | Defense of Life | Taking of (Innocent) Life is Forbidden | Threats to Life 

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Necessity of Providing Food & Water to the Sick

"[T]he administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which [may simply consist in] providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering." (Pope John Paul II, 2004).

Also See: Euthanasia (Reflections) | Threats to Life: Euthanasia | Suffering & Death [Pg.] | Death & Dying [Pg.] | Attacks Against Life

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Prenatal Diagnosis / Testing

"Prenatal diagnosis, which presents no moral objections if carried out in order to identify the medical treatment which may be needed by the child in the womb, all too often becomes an opportunity for proposing and procuring an abortion. This is eugenic abortion, justified in public opinion on the basis of a mentality - mistakenly held to be consistent with the demands of 'therapeutic interventions' - which accepts life only under certain conditions and rejects it when it is affected by any limitation, handicap or illness. Following this same logic, the point has been reached where the most basic care, even nourishment, is denied to babies born with serious handicaps or illnesses. The contemporary scene, moreover, is becoming even more alarming by reason of the proposals, advanced here and there, to justify even infanticide, following the same arguments used to justify the right to abortion. In this way, we revert to a state of barbarism which one hoped had been left behind forever." (Pope John Paul II)

"Special attention must be given to evaluating the morality of prenatal diagnostic techniques which enable the early detection of possible anomalies in the unborn child. In view of the complexity of these techniques, an accurate and systematic moral judgment is necessary. When they do not involve disproportionate risks for the child and the mother, and are meant to make possible early therapy or even to favor a serene and informed acceptance of the child not yet born, these techniques are morally licit. But since the possibilities of prenatal therapy are today still limited, it not infrequently happens that these techniques are used with a eugenic intention which accepts selective abortion in order to prevent the birth of children affected by various types of anomalies. Such an attitude is shameful and utterly reprehensible, since it presumes to measure the value of a human life only within the parameters of 'normality' and physical well-being, thus opening the way to legitimizing infanticide and euthanasia as well. And yet the courage and the serenity with which so many of our brothers and sisters suffering from serious disabilities lead their lives when they are shown acceptance and love bears eloquent witness to what gives authentic value to life, and makes it, even in difficult conditions, something precious for them and for others. The Church is close to those married couples who, with great anguish and suffering, willingly accept gravely handicapped children. She is also grateful to all those families which, through adoption, welcome children abandoned by their parents because of disabilities or illnesses." (Pope John Paul II)

Also See: The Unborn Baby

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Right to Life

Also See: Pro-Life (Topic Page)

"[A] law which violates an innocent person's natural right to life is unjust and, as such, is not valid as a law." (Pope John Paul II)

"As far as the right to life is concerned, every innocent human being is absolutely equal to all others...Before the moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of the life of an innocent human being 'there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the 'poorest of the poor' on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal'." (Pope John Paul II)

"Even in the midst of difficulties and uncertainties, every person sincerely open to truth and goodness can, by the light of reason and the hidden action of grace, come to recognize in the natural law written in the heart (cf. Rom. 2:14-15) the sacred value of human life from its very beginning until its end, and can affirm the right of every human being to have this primary good respected to the highest degree." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

Also See: Life | Defense of Life | Taking of (Innocent) Life is Forbidden | Attacks Against Life | Threats to Life | Abortion / Euthanasia

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Sterilization (Sin & Vice Reflections)

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Suicide

Also See: Pro-Life (Topic Page)

"Suicide is always as morally objectionable as murder." (Pope John Paul II)

"Life, one's own and that of others, cannot be disposed of at will: it belongs to the Author of life." (Pope John Paul II)

"[S]uicide is a detestable and damnable wickedness" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"The elderly must be protected from situations or pressures which could drive them to suicide; in particular they must be helped nowadays to resist the temptation of assisted suicide and euthanasia." (Pope John Paul II)

"In its deepest reality, suicide represents a rejection of God's absolute sovereignty over life and death, as proclaimed in the prayer of the ancient sage of Israel: 'You have power over life and death; you lead men down to the gates of Hades and back again' (Wis 16:13; cf. Tob 13:2)." (Pope John Paul II)

"And if anyone should be disturbed or become angry at God or at [his] brothers, or if by chance he persistently asks for medicines with a great desire to free the flesh which is soon to die and is the enemy of the soul [should remember:] All this comes from the evil one. [Such a brother] is totally caught up with the flesh and he does not seem to be one of the brothers, since he loves his body more than his soul." (St. Francis of Assisi)

"It is not without significance, that in no passage of the holy canonical books there can be found either divine precept or permission to take away our own life, whether for the sake of entering on the enjoyment of immortality, or of shunning, or ridding ourselves of anything whatever. Nay, the law, rightly interpreted, even prohibits suicide, where it says, 'Thou shalt not kill.' This is proved especially by the omission of the words 'thy neighbor,' which are inserted when false witness is forbidden: 'Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.'... [H]ow much greater reason have we to understand that a man may not kill himself, since in the commandment,' Thou shalt not kill,' there is no limitation added nor any exception made in favor of any one, and least of all in favor of him on whom the command is laid!" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"But this we affirm, this we maintain, this we every way pronounce to be right, that no man ought to inflict on himself voluntary death, for this is to escape the ills of time by plunging into those of eternity; that no man ought to do so on account of another man's sins, for this were to escape a guilt which could not pollute him, by incurring great guilt of his own; that no man ought to do so on account of his own past sins, for he has all the more need of this life that these sins may be healed by repentance; that no man should put an end to this life to obtain that better life we look for after death, for those who die by their own hand have no better life after death." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"To concur with the intention of another person to commit suicide and to help in carrying it out through so-called 'assisted suicide' means to cooperate in, and at times to be the actual perpetrator of, an injustice which can never be excused, even if it is requested. In a remarkably relevant passage Saint Augustine writes that 'it is never licit to kill another: even if he should wish it, indeed if he request it because, hanging between life and death, he begs for help in freeing the soul struggling against the bonds of the body and longing to be released; nor is it licit even when a sick person is no longer able to live'." (Pope John Paul II)

"It is altogether unlawful to kill oneself, for three reasons. First, because everything naturally loves itself, the result being that everything naturally keeps itself in being, and resists corruptions so far as it can. Wherefore suicide is contrary to the inclination of nature, and to charity whereby every man should love himself. Hence suicide is always a mortal sin, as being contrary to the natural law and to charity. Secondly, because every part, as such, belongs to the whole. Now every man is part of the community, and so, as such, he belongs to the community. Hence by killing himself he injures the community, as the Philosopher declares (Ethica Nicomachea v,11). Thirdly, because life is God's gift to man, and is subject to His power, Who kills and makes to live. Hence whoever takes his own life, sins against God... For it belongs to God alone to pronounce sentence of death and life, according to Deuteronomy 32:39, 'I will kill and I will make to live.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Suicide (Sin & Vice) | Euthanasia | Taking of (Innocent) Life is Forbidden | Suffering & Death Reflections [Pg.]

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Taking of (Innocent) Life is Forbidden

Also See: Pro-Life (Topic Page)

"Thou shalt not kill" (Ex. 20:13)

"The innocent and just person thou shalt not put to death" (Ex. 23:7)

"Life, one's own and that of others, cannot be disposed of at will: it belongs to the Author of life." (Pope John Paul II)

"[T]o kill a human being, in whom the image of God is present, is a particularly serious sin. Only God is the master of life!" (Pope John Paul II)

"The killing of innocent human creatures, even if carried out to help others, constitutes an absolutely unacceptable act." (Pope John Paul II)

"Nay, as it is forbidden in Genesis to take human life, because God created man to his own image and likeness, he who makes away with God's image offers great injury to God, and almost seems to lay violent hands on God Himself!" (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom. 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. 'Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action'." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

Also See: Right to Life | Defense of Life | Attacks Against Life | Threats to Life | Abortion / Euthanasia | Abortion is a Grave Sin | Euthanasia | Suicide

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Unborn in Holy Scripture 

"Isaac entreated the LORD on behalf of his wife, since she was sterile. The LORD heard his entreaty, and Rebekah became pregnant. But the children in her womb jostled each other so much that she exclaimed, 'If this is to be so, what good will it do me!' She went to consult the LORD, and he answered her: 'Two nations are in your womb, two peoples are quarreling while still within you; But one shall surpass the other, and the older shall serve the younger.' When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb." (Gen. 25:21-24)

"For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, That Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength!" (Isa. 49:5)

"There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren and had borne no children. An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, 'Though you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son. Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink and to eat nothing unclean. As for the son you will conceive and bear, no razor shall touch his head, for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb. It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel from the power of the Philistines.'" (Judg. 13:2-5)

"The beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD, which is formed with the faithful in the womb." (Sirach 1:12)

"And now, bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth; Who fosters men's growth from their mother's womb, and fashions them according to his will!" (Sirach 50:22)

"You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be." (Ps. 139:13-16)

"Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him. But the angel said to him, 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of (the) Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.'" (Lk. 1:12-17)

"During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, 'Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.'" (Lk. 1:39-45)

"With John leaping with joy within her body, Elizabeth spoke for him and addressed Mary as the 'Mother of God'. Two unborn children established a relationship before either was born." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

Also See: The Unborn Baby

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Misc.

"God does not create by accident!"

"It may be said that a society shows itself just to the extent that it meets the needs of all its members, and the quality of its civilization is determined by the way in which it protects its weakest members." (Pope John Paul II, 2002)

"Human life finds itself most vulnerable when it enters the world and when it leaves the realm of time to embark upon eternity. The word of God frequently repeats the call to show care and respect, above all where life is undermined by sickness and old age." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"Every individual is a living expression of unity, and the human body is not just an instrument or item of property but shares in the individual's value as a human being.. It follows, therefore, that the body cannot be treated as something to be disposed of at will." (Pope John Paul II)

"[T]he use of human embryos or fetuses as an object of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings who have a right to the same respect owed to a child once born, just as to every person." (Pope John Paul II)

"Biomedical research too, a field which promises great benefits for humanity, must always reject experimentation, research or applications which disregard the inviolable dignity of the human being, and thus cease to be at the service of people and become instead means which, under the guise of helping people, actually harm them." (Pope John Paul II)

"...those who hold high office among nations and pass laws may not forget that it belongs to public authority by appropriate laws and penalties to defend the lives of the innocent, and the more so as those whose lives are endangered and are attacked are less able to defend themselves, among whom surely infants in their mothers' wombs hold first place. But if public magistrates not only do not protect those little ones, but by their laws and ordinances permit this, and thus give them over to the hands of physicians and others to be killed, let them remember that God is the judge and the avenger of innocent 'blood which cries from earth to heaven' [Gen. 4:10]." (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930 A.D.)

"At the root of every act of violence against one's neighbor there is a concession to the 'thinking' of the evil one, the one who 'was a murderer from the beginning' (Jn 8:44). As the Apostle John reminds us: 'For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, and not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother' (1 Jn. 3:11-12). Cain's killing of his brother at the very dawn of history is thus a sad witness of how evil spreads with amazing speed: man's revolt against God in the earthly paradise is followed by the deadly combat of man against man." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"[I]t is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. Such cooperation occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it. This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it. Each individual in fact has moral responsibility for the acts which he personally performs; no one can be exempted from this responsibility, and on the basis of it everyone will be judged by God himself (cf. Rom. 2:6; 14:12). To refuse to take part in committing an injustice is not only a moral duty; it is also a basic human right." (Pope John Paul II)

"Consequently, when the sense of God is lost, the sense of man is also threatened and poisoned... He no longer considers life as a splendid gift of God, something 'sacred' entrusted to his responsibility and thus also to his loving care and 'veneration'. Life itself becomes a mere 'thing', which man claims as his exclusive property, completely subject to his control and manipulation. Thus, in relation to life at birth or at death, man is no longer capable of posing the question of the truest meaning of his own existence, nor can he assimilate with genuine freedom these crucial moments of his own history. He is concerned only with 'doing', and, using all kinds of technology, he busies himself with programming, controlling and dominating birth and death. Birth and death, instead of being primary experiences demanding to be 'lived', become things to be merely 'possessed' or 'rejected'. Moreover, once all reference to God has been removed, it is not surprising that the meaning of everything else becomes profoundly distorted." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"The fact that legislation in many countries, perhaps even departing from basic principles of their Constitutions, has determined not to punish these practices against life, and even to make them altogether legal, is both a disturbing symptom and a significant cause of grave moral decline. Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable. Even certain sectors of the medical profession, which by its calling is directed to the defense and care of human life, are increasingly willing to carry out these acts against the person. In this way the very nature of the medical profession is distorted and contradicted, and the dignity of those who practice it is degraded...The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"A particular problem of conscience can arise in cases where a legislative vote would be decisive for the passage of a more restrictive law, aimed at limiting the number of authorized abortions, in place of a more permissive law already passed or ready to be voted on. Such cases are not infrequent. It is a fact that while in some parts of the world there continue to be campaigns to introduce laws favoring abortion, often supported by powerful international organizations, in other nations - particularly those which have already experienced the bitter fruits of such permissive legislation - there are growing signs of a rethinking in this matter. In a case like the one just mentioned, when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

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