A Culture of Life

Being in Communion with the Catholic Church on Moral Issues

The position of the Catholic Church in favour of life at all stages is clear and unchanging. A personwho takes a position in contradiction to the teaching of the Catholic Church on the value and dignity of human life from the moment of conception to the moment of a natural death, and persists in this belief, is not in communion with the Church’s values and teaching, which we believe faithfully transmit for today the teachings of Christ.

In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel, no 213), Pope Francis explains the link between protection of the unborn and every other human right:

“Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual ‘’(John Paul II,Christifideles laici, no 461).

One may not dissent from these core teachings on life issues and be considered a Catholic in good standing. This is a very serious matter requiring of each Catholic, prayer, reflection to inform one’s conscience, and openness to embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness.

+Terrence Prendergast, S.J.

Archbishop of Ottawa

May 14, 2014