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Catechism of the Catholic Church
Magna Charta of the Pro-Life Movement

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

The Twentieth century is the most homicidal in the history of the human race. Its principal claim to this tragic title is the widespread legislation of abortion on a scale and with a violence unknown in all the ages of mankind.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the Holy Spirit would provide the means we need to cope with this global crime of genocide. It is the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Human Life Is Sacred

The fundamental reason why abortion is such a crime is because it is blasphemy in action. It refuses to recognize the sanctity of human life which derives from God. In the words of the Catechism, “ Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end.”

Human Life May Not Be Desecrated

Whatever belongs to God is sacred. Such is human life as the property of the Creator. Consequently, as the Catechism makes clear, “No one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.”

Respect For Human Life From Conception

Christianity believes that three actions take place at the same time:

  • The ovum is fertilized

  • God creates an immortal soul

  • He infuses this soul into the fertilized ovum.

These three actions together are what we call human conception. Logically, then, the Catechism teaches that “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person, among which is the indispensable right of every individual being to life.”

Church’s Teaching Since Apostolic Times

We must make sure we know that this sanctity of human life has been constant and the unchangeable teaching of the Catholic Church.

Among the works of the true Church, which attracted whole nations to Christianity, was her unqualified prohibition of abortion, already in apostolic times. In the words of the Catechism, “Since the first century, the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or as a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.”

Right To Life Must Be Protected By Society

Given the sanctity of human life, civil society is obliged to protect and defend this life. State legislation must reflect the rights of God and the consequent rights to life of innocent human beings.

Once we realize how widespread legalized abortion has become, we can only look in horror at the modern scene. Once civilized societies have become uncivilized. Once some nations have become agents of the evil spirit who, Our Lord tells us, is a murdered from the beginning.

According to the Catechism, “The indispensable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation.”

Consequently, “When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined.


“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Author of human life. You, with our God the Father and the Holy Spirit alone have the right to determine who should be conceived and how.

You are also the Destiny of human life. We come into this world to be with you in heaven for all eternity.

We therefore beg you to enlighten so many who are sitting in darkness that they may see the sanctity of human life and frame our civil laws accordingly. We ask you this through the merits of your Mother, the Mother of Eternal Life, of you who with the Father and the Holy Spirit are one God now and forever. Amen.”

Copyright © 1998 by Inter Mirifica

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