Deepening the Understanding of the Sanctity of Human Life

One of the first steps in establishing a culture of life in our region is to educate ourselves about the issues. As the Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities exhorts us, education is needed “to deepen understanding of the sanctity of human life and the humanity of unborn children, the moral evil of intentionally killing innocent human beings—whether at the beginning of life or at its end—and the mission of the Church to witness to and serve all human life.”  We do this by learning about the merits of the pro-life cause from a variety of perspectives – scientific, moral, theological, and biblical.

Several resources are open to us for this effort.  Please find a selection of them below, including national, state, and local resources.

To help parishes, diocesan offices, and other groups educate the Catholic faithful and the general public about life issues, we have qualified speakers listed for Respect Life topics on  the Diocesan Speakers Bureau page.  This group consists of people from both inside and outside of the diocesan structure who are willing and able to speak on topics related to respect life, including:  abortion, assisted suicide, the death penalty, and end-of-life issues.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has an entire secretariat dedicated to pro-life activities, full of resources for any individual, pro-life group, parish, or priest. 

See:

  • The Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities.
  • Respect Life Program, including FAQ, digital resources, and leaders’ toolkits.
  • Seven different subscriptions for regular communications on pro-life issues like liturgical resources, action alerts, the latest news, prayers, and others.
  • Word of Life, a monthly resource for parishes and dioceses that is available in both English and Spanish.
  • 9 Days for Life is a multi-faceted novena for the respect and protection of every human life. Each day, a different intention is accompanied by a short reflection, suggested actions, and related information.

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation is a statewide grassroots right-to-life organization, as well as the Pennsylvania affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee. The Federation is committed to promoting the dignity and value of human life through education, legislation, and political action, and proclaims the truth about abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. Several of their members are on the Respect Life Speakers Bureau, and more resources for education and advocacy can be found on their website.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) conducts research and provides consultation, publishing and education to promote human dignity in health care and the life sciences. It derives its message directly from the teachings of the Catholic Church. Often on the cutting edge of bioethical questions, the NCBC offers sophisticated, ahead-of-the-curve analysis on scientific, moral, and political dilemmas that are emerging today. They also offer advice to individuals and groups on public policy, advocacy, and end-of-life issues. 

As the former Director of the Respect Life Office and a national advocate for pro-life issues, Father Paul Schenck has enriched the diocese with his wisdom and experience drawn from many decades of advocating for life. Copies of his previous talks – covering abortion, just war, IVF, and more – can be found here:

Scheneck Pro-Life Commentaries

Finally, anyone looking for the most recent statistics on abortion in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can find them here: