To complete the homework please read the lesson, and answer the questions at the bottom of this page. Thank you!
1. It is important to realize that the Catholic Church and only a few other Christian Churches with the Catholic Church, is one of the only institutions to stand up for life 100% of the time. Our culture has cheapened life, and so we need to fight that with courage and strength the way Jesus did in His day. As Catholics, we have lost sight of the enormous responsibility of being pro-life because so many of the life issues are hidden from us. We cannot afford to be quiet on these matters just because they are not visible to us: We must be ready to take a stand.
2. Jesus is our example in this regard. Remember how Jesus always stood for life when He walked the earth. He was against the death penalty (see the woman caught in adultery), He lived for the poor, He healed the sick, He forgave the other thief when He was on the Cross, He forgave those who murdered Him, He supported women (which was a counter-cultural move on His part), and He even said that He was 'The Life'. What more can Jesus do to show us the importance of life? Standing up for life, and respecting the quality of life, was at the very core of Jesus’ identity and message. Because we are His followers, it needs to be at the center of our identity.
3. What life issues are on the line today (and in the years to come)?
a. Murder: While this seems like a no-brainer, we want to be very clear that it is never appropriate to take an innocent life. All life is sacred, it is a gift from God: He is the Creator, we are the creatures. Therefore, we do not have the right to directly and intentionally take a life.
b. Abortion: Every unborn life is sacred and must be given the opportunity to live. No one, for any reason, has the right to directly deprive the child of this life. This is the Church's teaching in a nutshell. We must remember that to be pro-life means that we not only want the unborn child to live, but we also want the mother to live without the guilt of taking the life of her child. Being pro-life also means that we help heal mothers and fathers who have suffered abortion. A pro-life response means we pray and fast for an end to abortion, and that we never ever help anyone to get an abortion, or even say that it is 'ok' to have one (Jeremiah 1:5; Job 10:8-12; Psalm 22:10-11).
c. Euthanasia: Euthanasia is the termination of a human life that is sick, handicapped, dying, or generally not able to live to a full physical capacity. The Church says very clearly that this 'putting out of commission' is murder because it is directly trying to end one's suffering through death. Death is used as the means for solving the problem of suffering. In the case where burdensome medical procedures are required to keep one alive, one can remove them, even if a secondary outcome is that the patient dies. Here, the death of the patient is not willed.
d. Capital Punishment: The Church says that given today's means of imprisonment, there is no adequate justification for taking the life of a criminal. Even the taking of another life in cold blood, while in itself a very serious sin, does not allow the state to take the life of the murderer. Even after sinning seriously, the murderer has not lost his/her basic dignity as a human being, nor have they lost the right to live.
e. Suicide: At no time is any individual allowed to take their own life, because all life, especially our own, is a precious gift from God. Suicide happens for a number of reasons, most of them because of psychological problems, and God takes all of these problems into account when He judges the person. He is a loving God who has mercy on all of us: He wants to bring us to heaven, and will do anything to make that happen short of forcing His will on us.
f. Other issues: There are many other issues our society faces that are not directly life/death issues, but rather touch on quality of life and the respect for the individual. This includes health issues, scientific research, poverty issues, reproduction issues (especially cloning), employment issues, war/peace issues, etc. As Catholics, we must stand with Jesus and be committed to defending life.
We make no judgment on the eternal state of someone who commits these sins. That will be done by God alone. These have always been the teachings of the Church on life. They will not change, nor are they open to a vote: They come from Christ Himself, and part of our submission to Christ means following these teachings completely.