Church Teaching on Life Issues

Evangelium Vitae, The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II (1995)

Veritatis Splendor, The Splendor of Truth, Pope John Paul II (1993)


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.”  Gospel of Life n. 57.

Respect for Unborn Human Life: The Church’s Constant Teaching, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2008)

Declaration on Procured Abortion, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1974)

Adverse Prenatal Diagnosis

Moral Principles Concerning Infants with Anencephaly, Committee on Doctrine, National Conference of Catholic Bishops (1996)

Bioethics (Stem Cell Research, Cloning, and Artificial Reproductive Technology)

“[T]he new frontiers reached in bioethics do not require us to choose between science and morality; rather, they oblige us to a moral use of science.”  Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Diplomatic Corps (January 7, 2008)

Instruction Dignitas Personae on Certain Bioethical Questions, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (2008)

Donum Vitae, Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and On the Dignity of Procreation, Replies to Certain Questions of the Day, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1987)

U.S. Bishops’ Statement on Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2009)

Capital Punishment

“. . . the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not to go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity; in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society.  Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” Gospel of Life n. 56.

“If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.” Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 2267.

Statement on the Death Penalty, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (1996)

Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide

“The freedom to kill is not true freedom, but a tyranny that reduces the human being to slavery.” Pope Benedict XVI, Homily at Mass of Possession of the Chair of the Bishop of Rome (May 7, 2005)

To Live Each Day with Dignity: A Statement on Physician-Assisted Suicide, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (June 16, 2011)

Declaration on Euthanasia, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1980)

Commentary on Provision of Nutrition and Hydration to Patients in a “Vegetative State”, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Salvific Dolores, On Salvific Suffering, Apostolic Letter from Pope John Paul II on the Christian meaning of human suffering (1984)

Respect for the Dignity of the Dying, Pontifical Academy for Life (2000)

Respect Life