Monday, February 15, 2010

Preaching and Promoting the Gospel of Life

Does an embryo have a soul?

Isn't society justified in putting to death a criminal that has committed a capital crime?

Why should taxpayers have to support health care and schooling for undocumented children?

Why didn't Pope John Paul II agree to call President Bush's invasion of Iraq a "just war"?

When did health care become a "right"?

All of these apparently unconnected questions actually involve the same central Catholic moral principle, the consistent ethic of life. This principle is often associated with Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s 1983 proposal of the “seamless garment” analogy, a reference from John 19:23 to the seamless robe of Jesus, to provide a moral compass to help Catholics apply moral principles to life issues present in the public square.

The “consistent ethic of life,” as it is now commonly articulated, states basically that all human life is sacred from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. In his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II taught the principle clearly:
  • “"Human life is sacred and inviolable at every moment of existence” (n. 61).
  • “As far as the right to life is concerned, every innocent human being is absolutely equal to all others” (n. 57).
Read more about this in a great article by By Rev. Richard Benson, C.M. at

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