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
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
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.
Churchs 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
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
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.
Copyright © 1998 by Inter Mirifica