ProLifeEthiopia.net
                     A Voice for the Voiceless Unborn Babies in Ethiopia          

44TH MARCH FOR LIFE HELD ON JANUARY 27, 2017 IN WASHINGTON, DC, USA


Abba Tesfamariam Baraki


Create Your Badge

=========================


Exposing the Greatest Evil:

Defend the Rights of Unborn Babies in Ethiopia!


U.S. Foreign Assistance for Women and Girls' Reproductive Health in Ethiopia (video):




Ipas preaches to the peoples of the Third World Countries, saying: "Safe Abortion saves women's lives" while totally ignoring and disregarding the fundamental principle and ordinanance of God's commandment that says, "THOU SHALL NOT KILL" (Exodus 20:13)... Can Ipas guarantee or warrant us that there is NO any divine punishment to the consequence for the evil act of Abortion committed against the innocent, voiceless, and defenseless unborn babies in the wombs? Or Ipas is just misguiding the innocent believers, such as Ethiopians who always cherished their traditional religious and moral values regarding the dignity and sacredness of all human lives (born and unborn alike) that are created in the image and likesness of God through the act of sexual union of male and female/man and woman? Or Ipas' disciples and others like them are trying to persuade us by imposing upon us their secular standandards and opinions and philosophies that undermine or reject the Supreme Divine Laws of the Creator? Because according to the secularists' position or view, there is NO God who is Creator and Sustainer of all lives...besides humans like them who seem to claim possessing a kind of divine authority that enables them to manipulate women in the name of "Safe Abortion" and "Reproductive Health" without any hesitation to  destroy and terminate carelessly and irresponsibly the already conceived human lives... Do they have any human conscience to perform abortions on preborn lives without any ethical consideration or moral concern for the natural inalienable rights to life of those conceived human beings that are alreadey in the process of development (the nature's way or the Creator's way) until their natural birth and live natural life here on earth until their natural death like the rest of all other human beings living on this planet earth? 

Ipas and other similar pro-choice organizations - instead of engaging in such morally controversial abortifacient birthcontrol issues among the less educated and poorer peoples of the Third World countries, like Ethiopia and many other African, Asian, South American countries, etc.,  and spreading abortion as an optional birth control method - why do they fail to promote  those traditionally accepted values, such as the virtues of abstinence and chastity before marriage, during, and after marriage? What is wrong doing that?

Again, why Ipas and those secular organizations shy away from preaching and promoting those less controversial traditional values instead of becoming militant just to spread their secular values by brain washing mostly the poorer and most vulnerable women around the world, especially in the poverty stricken nations of the the Third World...?


A Pro life Defense of the Unborn


Abortion’s Devastating Impact on Women

"Does Abortion Affect Women?" Panel Discussion:

Abortion Hurts Women's Health Panel:


Abortion Breast Cancer Link:

The Pill Causes Breast Cancer and Ella the new Abortion Drug:

Life After Abortion

Former Abortionists

Stop Culture of Death in Ethiopia!  


Will Not The Contrversial Depopulation Agenda Of The NWO, Which Is Being Imported By The Eugenic Movement And Implemented In Ethiopia And The Rest Of Africa, Affect Negatively The Country And The Continent? Ethiopians And All Other Africans Have Full Right To Be Informed! You Must Watch The Following Very Revealing And Controversial Video Documentary Made In The United States:

"Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God" (Psalm 68:31). Ethiopia should never stretch her hands to Eugenicists who are trying depopulate the black Africa in the name of family planning or reproductive women's health... Ethiopia should always remain faithful to her God and stick to her traditional values of respecting the sanctity of all human lives - unborn and born alike! 

Ethiopia Must Save And Protect All Children Born and Unborn ... And Stop Destroying Preborn Babies In The Name Of Reproductive/Maternal Health And Family Planning! Both The Mother and Her Unborn Child Are Human Lives That Deserve Equal Protection And Care!


Leaving Planned Parenthood:

These Sample  Video Clips Show How Planned Parenthood Organization Spreads Abortion in Ethiopia And The Rest Of Africa Under The Guise Of "Reproductive Health" And "Safe Abortion":


Listen to the following educational videos and learn from those converted former abortionist medical doctors about the truth and tragedies of abortion: A great lesson to Ethiopian doctors interested in being enlightened and converted like them!

African Antiabortion Coalition


 

Abortion Debate in America:

Watch the Following Video and Make Your Mind on Abortion!

Defining and Defending Human Dignity in Our Time

 

 

 

Visit Jewish.TV for more Jewish videos.

 

 

 
 1
Josef Spindelböck 
The Catholic Church and the Sanctity of Human Life 
Introduction 
Dear Madams and Sirs, 
It is both an honour and a pleasure for me to give a lecture on the theme of 
“The Catholic Church and the sanctity of Human Life”. I was invited by 
professor D. Erkki Koskenniemi in the name of the „Lutheran Evangelical 
Association“ in Finland to take part with this lecture in a symposium on the 
general theme of “justice and injustice” in Karkku from August 15th
 to 17th
2010. 
As a Roman Catholic priest and moral theologian I friendly and gratefully accept 
this invitation, and I do this with high respect for your spiritual and theological 
attitude as Evangelical-Lutheran Christians. At the same time I will be frank and 
open in regard of my own confessional membership and my Catholic view: „Be 
ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the 
hope that is in you with meekness and fear “ (1 Pet 3:15). 
For us Christians the protection of life as such, i.e. in the first place of human 
persons, but also of the life of animals and plants, is an important concern. The 
following considerations will be directed towards the right of life for human 
persons. 
A first question to be answered and clarified is: What does „sanctity“ mean in 
the context of human life? We might think here of the non-availability, 
intangibility and inviolability of human life; of the respect which is expressed in 
the Finish title of this lecture.1
 In which sense this is true, we will have to 
explain in more detail, on the fundament of Biblical doctrine. There is a basic 
human experience for everyone of us: Whoever violates my physical existence, 
i.e. my body, puts in question me as a person and denies the fundamental 
respect to me! But if we respect the “sanctity” or inviolability and integrity of 
the body, then this respect is given to the concrete human person! 
 
1
 The Finnish title of this lecture is: „Mitä katolinen kirkko opettaa elämän kunnioittamisesta?“ („What does the 
Catholic Church teach concerning the respect for life?“)  
 2
In ourselves we can make a clear distinction between our body and our inner 
life. But if we look at fellow people, they are known to us and are experienced 
even in their interiority only by the medium of their bodies. From this any 
objectivation and instrumentalization of the body of the other person is 
forbidden. The respect and the reverence for the body of our fellow man cannot 
be separated from the respect for this or that concrete person.
2
 
In the body the immortal soul finds its expression. Man as a person is a being in 
the unity of body and soul. 
The following considerations will be in this way: Firstly I wish to show the 
foundations of the argument of the Catholic Church, regarding method and 
content. Secondly I will refer to the fundamental appreciation of human life in 
Holy Scripture and Church doctrine. Thirdly it will be the goal to show the 
inalienable dignity of the human person. In this context I will present and 
demonstrate the unexceptionally valid moral norm of the prohibition to kill an 
innocent person. Fifthly we will deal with the principle of self-defense in its 
validity and foundation. Special questions of the protection of life will not be 
dealt with, due to the limits of this lecture. 
1. The foundations of the argument of the Catholic Church, 
regarding method and content 
When the Catholic Church formulates its position in matters of faith and reason 
(„de rebus fidei et morum“3
), this is done on the basis of God’s revelation. 
Divine Revelation means God’s self communication or self manifestation. God 
makes himself known to us; he shows us who he is and what he works in 
salvation in order to make us participants in his divine life by his sanctifying 
grace. 
 
2
 „Der Gedanke, dass freie Menschen sich in ihrem sittlichen Subjektsein nur achten, wenn sie einander solche 
Achtung zuallererst in der Weise des Respektes vor der Unverletzlichkeit ihres körperlichen Daseins 
entgegenbringen, ist in der Geschichte der Philosophie seit der europäischen Aufklärung immer stärker 
hervorgetreten.“ – Eberhard Schockenhoff, Ethik des Lebens. Ein theologischer Grundriss, 19982
, 97; cf. id., Die 
Achtung der Menschenwürde in der technisch-wissenschaftlichen Zivilisation, in: Anton Rauscher (Hg.), 
Handbuch der katholischen Soziallehre, Berlin 2008, 61-76, here 66. 
3
 Cf. the title of the famous collection of Magisterial documents: Enchiridion symbolorum definitionum et 
declarationum de rebus fidei et morum : Griechisch/Lateinisch - Deutsch = Kompendium der 
Glaubensbekenntnisse und kirchlichen Lehrentscheidungen / Heinrich Denzinger. Verb., erw., ins Deutsche 
übertragen und unter Mitarb. von Helmut Hoping hg. von Peter Hünermann, Freiburg 1999
38
. The expression 
„in rebus fidei et morum“ was already used by the Council of Trent in order to demonstrate the frame of 
content for the Magisterial speaking of the Church: cf. DzH 1507. See for analysis: Alfons Riedl, Die kirchliche 
Lehrautorität in Fragen der Moral nach den Aussagen des Ersten Vatikanischen Konzils, Freiburg 1979, 112-122.  
 3
It can be helpful to distinguish between God’s „work revelation“ and his „word 
revelation“. Work revelation is present in the order of creation, whereas word 
revelation has to do with the history of salvation which is testified in the Old 
and the New Testament. 
According to work revelation man can know by reason the existence of God and 
the principles of the moral order; but in both cases there is the danger of error 
due to the consequences of original sin. St Paul the apostle has conceded the 
possibility of a natural knowledge of God and of a knowledge of the moral law 
in conscience for the “pagans”. So we read in Rom 1:19-20 about the 
knowledge of God for pagans from the order of creation: “Because that which 
may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, 
being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and 
Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”4
 
And in regard of the moral law which is inscribed into the heart of man by God 
St Paul confirms: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature 
the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto 
themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their 
conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or 
else excusing one another; in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men 
by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” (Rom 2:14-16)
5
 
In word revelation God since the creation of man addressed himself to some 
elected persons in order to make them subjects or bearers of the divine 
promises and benefits of salvation. Beginning with the forefathers who are 
mentioned in the book of Genesis, the line of divine election finds its 
continuation through the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. By the 
intermediation of Moses the people of God was given the law of covenant; and 
here the ten commandments (“Decalogue”) form its essential moral content. 
The prophets interiorized and radicalized by their message and example of life 
 
4
 In a similar way we can read in Wis 13:3-6: „Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods, let 
them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these; for the original source of beauty fashioned them. Or 
if they were struck by their might and energy, let them from these things realize how much more powerful is 
he who made them. For from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, 
is seen. But yet, for these the blame is less; For they indeed have gone astray perhaps, though they seek God 
and wish to find him.” 
5
 Cf. Josef Spindelböck, Die Freiheit in Christus und die Bedeutung des natürlichen Sittengesetzes. Eine 
Reminiszenz zum Paulusjahr, in: Theologisches 25 (2009) 355-366.  
 4
the ethos of the people of God, until the one came to whom the promises of 
the Old Covenant had pointed and who would fulfil them in the New and 
Eternal Covenant: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has become flesh, and he is the 
Lord and Saviour of all human beings who believe in his name. Him the 
prophets had promised, and the apostles should preach. “The Christian 
dispensation, therefore, as the new and definitive covenant, will never pass 
away and we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious 
manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Tim 6:14 and Tit 2:13).”6
 
Christian Tradition which is in its substance traceable to the apostles forms 
together with Holy Scripture “one sacred deposit of the word of God, 
committed to the Church.”
 7
 
The Dogmatic Constitution „Dei Verbum“ of Vatican Council II tells us about 
their mutual coherence, participation and interpenetration: “Hence there exists 
a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred 
Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a 
certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred 
Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the 
inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God 
entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on 
to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth 
they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and 
make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone 
that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. 
Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and 
venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence.”8
 
We can say: God has communicated himself, i.e. he has revealed himself. In the 
Church as the community of the faithful God’s Holy Spirit guarantees the 
presence of the divine revelation which was given once and for all. So the word 
of God is faithfully preserved, purely proclaimed and believed. For this purpose 
Jesus Christ instituted the Magisterium of the Church, doing its work by the 
assistance of the Holy Spirit and exercised by the pope and the bishops in union 
with him. Vatican Council II declares: “But the task of authentically interpreting 
the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted 
 
6
 Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation “Dei Verbum“ (= DV), no. 4. 
7
 DV 10. 
8
 DV 9.  
 5
exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is 
exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word 
of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it 
devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a 
divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one 
deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.9
 
The Catholic Church is even convinced to be “by the will of Christ, the teacher 
of the truth. It is her duty to give utterance to, and authoritatively to teach, 
that truth which is Christ Himself, and also to declare and confirm by her 
authority those principles of the moral order which have their origins in human 
nature itself.“10
 Explicitly the competence of the Church and its Magisterium is 
affirmed also for the authoritative explanation of those principles of the moral 
order which are already knowable in their substantial content by reason. 
According to Catholic belief it is important for our faith to bring fruit in love. So 
faith has a necessary consequence in the moral life of human persons.11
 
All the members of the Church by the anointment of the Spirit of truth 
participate in their own way in the trifold office of Christ the pastor, priest and 
prophet. Through the sense of faith (“sensus fidei”) which is aroused by the 
Holy Spirit “the people of God adheres unwaveringly to the faith given once 
and for all to the saints (cf. Jude 3), penetrates it more deeply with right 
thinking, and applies it more fully in its life.” This sense of faith “is exercised 
under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority, in faithful and respectful 
obedience to which the people of God accepts that which is not just the word 
of men but truly the word of God (cf. 1 Thess 2:13).”
12
 
If the pope and the bishops give their view “in rebus fidei et morum”, they do 
this not from their own authorization but on the basis of their mission by Jesus 
Christ and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Of course, there are different 
grades and modes of magisterial statement and of the moral obligation to 
adhere to these declarations.
13
 Even a pope could not add something new in 
content to the divinely revealed Word of God. Any doctrine of faith which is 
possibly explicated by a formal dogma must be present at least implicitly in the 
 
9
 DV 10. 
10
 Vatican Council II, Declaration on Religious Freedom “Dignitatis humanae“, no. 14. 
11
 Cf. Josef Spindelböck, Der Praxisbezug des christlichen Glaubens und der Anspruch sittlicher Rationalität, in: 
Forum Katholische Theologie 25 (2009) 241-251, http://stjosef.at/artikel/praxisbezug_moraltheologie.htm . 
12
 Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church „Lumen gentium“ (= LG), no. 12. 
13
 For a detailed explanation cf. LG 25.  
 6
“depositum fidei”, i.e. in the treasury of the revealed word of God. In the field 
of moral guidance and normativity there must be some intrinsic relationship 
with divine revelation. Natural moral law is therefore not clinically separated 
from God’s revealed law in the Old and New Testament but in the concrete 
order of salvation it forms a living unity with the law of freedom and love 
preached by Christ.
14
 
Under these premises the Catholic Church enters into ecumenical dialogue with 
non-Catholic Christians and into interreligious dialogue with non-Christians. 
Such a dialogue must be performed in mutual respect, but without a 
renunciation of divinely revealed truth, which is given to us to be preserved in 
gratitude and to be shared with other persons. The exchange of arguments 
among Christians will be on the basis of Holy Scripture and relating to Divine 
Revelation; in the dialogue with non-Christians and non-believing persons the 
so called natural law arguments are of importance. In this case God’s creation 
is seen as filled with a meaning given to it in its various aspects by God himself. 
This meaning within created reality has normative relevance also for human 
actions, and the content of these norms can be known at least partly and 
imperfectly already with natural reason which is itself a gift from God.
15
 
2. The fundamental appreciation of human life in Holy 
Scripture and Church doctrine 
In Holy Scripture and the doctrinal tradition of the Church which is intrinsically 
based on God’s revelation life as such is seen as a gift from God, as something 
holy and not disposable.16
 
Already in the Old Testament God is announced as the „source of life“.
17
 The 
fundamental insight of the living God (Jahwe)18
 is first experienced in creation, 
 
14
 Some proponents of a so called autonomous morality in the Christian context (cf. Alfons Auer, Autonome 
Moral und christlicher Glaube, Düsseldorf 1971; Franz Böckle, Fundamentalmoral, München 1977) “have 
introduced a sharp distinction, contrary to Catholic doctrine, between an ethical order, which would be human 
in origin and of value for this world alone, and an order of salvation, for which only certain intentions and 
interior attitudes regarding God and neighbour would be significant.” This separation of Heilsethos and 
Weltethos was disapproved by John Paul II in his encyclical “Veritatis splendor“ (no. 37) as “incompatible with 
Catholic teaching”. 
15
 Cf. Benedict XVI., Encyclical “Caritas in veritate“ (June 29th
, 2009), no. 59; id., Address to the members of the 
International Theological Commission (Oktober 5
th
, 2007), in: Insegnamenti III, 2 (2007) 418–421; Address to 
the participants in the international congress organized by the Papal Lateran University about “natural moral 
law” (February 12th, 2007), in: Insegnamenti III, 1 (2007) 209–212. 
16
 Cf. André-Alphonse Viard / Jacques Guillet, Leben, in: Xavier León-Dufour, Wörterbuch zur biblischen 
Botschaft, Freiburg 19812
, 407-411; Michael Ernst, Leben, in: Franz Kogler (Hg.), Herders Neues Bibellexikon, 
Freiburg 2008, 339 f.  
 7
history of salvation and personal guidance, and then reflected theoretically. All 
living creatures indebt their existence to the Spirit (“ruach”) of God.19
 In a 
unique way man has received his life directly from God, in the way that God – 
figuratively expressed – blew the man whom he had formed from earth the 
Odem of life into his nostrils.20
 In paradise man could eat from the “tree of life” 
as long as he did not touch the “tree of knowledge”.21
 
Above all the human life deserves unconditional protection from its very 
beginning. Who acts against this commandment, will be punished by God and is 
exposed to the revenge and retribution of other people.22
 The prohibition to kill 
a human person is expressed in many places of Holy Scripture23; first of all in 
the fifth commandment of the Decalogue where we read in a clear and 
pregnant way: “Thou shalt not kill!”24
 
In the immediate context it means the prohibition to strike dead a human 
person who is in a defenceless situation. This is expressed with the Hebrew 
word ??? ?? . The prohibition of the Decalogue protects innocent people. It does 
not forbid the slaughtering of animals which is done in the way of taking care 
for the nutrition of man. Man is allowed to use plants and animals for his food 
intake. But even to non-human life some respect and reverence is owed.25
 
Of course, there were in Old Testament some limitations or exceptions of this 
prohibition to kill another person: Killing in a justified war was allowed, and 
also the killing for the reason of self defence and (in an early period of 
revelation history) even vendetta. Furthermore there was the death penalty, 
which had to be applied in cases of apostasy and grave crimes. 
 
17
 Ps 36:10. 
18
 Ps 18:47. 
19
 Cf. Ps 104:30; Jes 42:5. 
20
 Cf. Gen 2:7. 
21
 Cf. Gen 2:9. 
22
 God after the assassination of Abel by his brother Cain explicitly imposes a sanction not only against Cain 
who will be restless on earth (cf. Gen 4:12), but also against everyone who dares to kill Cain and his family: 
„herefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon 
Cain, lest any finding him should kill him“ (Gen 4:15). In the song of Lamech this sounds even more radically: „If 
Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold“ (Gen 4:24). 
23
 E.g. Gen 4:8-15; Deut 27:25. 
24
 ?????????????? ????? - Ex 20:13; Deut 5 :17. 
25
 Cf. Gen 1:28f. „Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you 
all things“ (Gen 9:3). In the view of Old Testament man is not allowed to take the blood of an animal as a form 
of nutrition, for the blood is seen as the dwelling place of the soul (cf. Lev 17:11).  
 8
In any case provisions should be made „that innocent blood be not shed in thy 
land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be 
upon thee.“
26
 
The core of the biblical prohibition to kill is therefore never to attack the life of 
an innocent human person. In this attack there is an extraordinary gravity in the 
moral aspect; it is a sin and also a crime before God and other human persons. 
God demands an account for every innocent human person who has been 
killed, since he has created man according to his image.27
 
But life in the biblical sense has more dimensions than just the physical side: 
God doesn’t give up man who has fallen into death after original sin but he 
guides him on a path of salvation. Salvation is understood in the first times 
rather in earthly and collective categories: For the people of God piece, delight, 
fortune, fecundity of the whole land and the birth of many healthy children are 
an expression of the blessings of life coming directly from God. “Life” in the 
fullness of its biblical meaning includes the possession of the promised land. 
This is bound to the keeping of the divine commandments.28
 In the later times 
of the Old Testament the individual hope for eternal life in the transcendence 
of God becomes clearer than before and is shared by many of the pious 
Israelites. God will destroy death for ever; the resurrection from death is 
promised also to the human “flesh”.29
 “Life” is in this perspective identical with 
the salvation which is a gift from God alone. 
In the New Testament the main theme is the coming of the Kingdom of God in 
Christ Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God. John, the evangelist, gives explicit 
emphasis to divine life: Jesus Christ is life and brings life in his divine person.30
 
Our Saviour says from himself: “I am come that they might have life, and that 
they might have it more abundantly.”
31
 Jesus himself is the “bread of life” that 
came down out of heaven.32
 Whoever believes in him has life; he will never 
die.33
 The gift of divine life must prove its value in the exercise of love to God 
and to our neighbour. To him who believes in Christ is promised the 
 
26
 Deut 19:10. 
27
 Cf. Gen 9:6. 
28
 Cf. Deut 4:1.40; 5:30; 6:18; 8:1; 11:8f; 30:15-20; 32:46f; Ps 37:9. 
29
 Cf. Is 25:8; 26:19ff; Dan 12:2; 2 Mac 7:9-36; 12:43ff; 14:46. 
30
 „I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6; cf. 11:25). 
31
 Jn 10:10. 
32
 Jn 6:35-48.51. 
33
 Cf. Jn 5:24; 1 Jn 3:14.  
 9
resurrection of life and the eternal vision of God.34
 St Paul speaks about the life 
of the faithful with Christ.35
 This is given to them by the participation in the 
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in baptism in which the justification of 
faith takes place effectively. 36
 
Regarding the protection of innocent human life Jesus Christ as the “new 
Moses” in his Sermon on the Mount radicalizes and interiorizes the moral 
commandments of the Old Covenant.37
 In the New Testament the prohibition 
to kill from Old Testament is repeatedly quoted and understood more 
radically.38
 A murderer will not participate in the Kingdom of God unless he 
converts. A disciple of Christ should not repay evil with evil. Jesus broadens the 
understanding and practice of love to the neighbour to a love towards 
foreigners and even towards our enemies.
39
 
We might sum up: Biological human life on earth is the vital fundament for 
every manifestation of intellectual and spiritual life. But physical life should be 
subordinated to the life of friendship with God, i.e. an extreme case the 
sacrifice of the own life could become necessary for the Kingdom of God, as the 
example of Christ Jesus and of the martyrs as witnesses of faith shows. In 
special circumstances there may exist a duty to actively dedicate one’s own life 
in the service of rescuing other people.40
 Physical life and the health of the 
body are therefore not to be seen as the highest values, but they should be put 
in the service of God and our fellow people.41
 
 
34
 Cf. Jn 5:29. 
35
 Cf. Col 3:4; Gal 2:20. 
36
 Cf. Rom 6:3f; 2 Cor 6:9; Col 2:12. 
37
 „Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in 
danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be 
in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but 
whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Mt 5:21). 
38
 Cf. 1 Cor 9; Jas 2:11; 1 Jn 3:15; Rev 21:8; 22:15. 
39
 „Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto 
you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which 
despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he 
maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mt 5:43-
45). 
40
 „Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). 
41
 „For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live 
therefore, or die, we are the Lord's” (Rom 14:8).  
 10
3. The inalienable dignity of the human person 
On the fundament of Holy Scripture, which tells us of the divine image in man 
(cf. Gen 1:27), and in unity and conformity with Apostolic tradition the Catholic 
Church formulates its belief of the “the inviolable dignity of the human 
person”.42
 
What is exactly meant with the concept of the “dignity of man”? What are the 
fundaments of this dignity, where is it derived from and which consequences 
arise from the affirmation of this dignity? 
„Dignity“ means something non-quantifiable, which is not subject to any form 
of calculation, but has directly to do with man due to his being human.43
 
One could possible violate the inherent demand for respect – either a person 
doesn’t show this respect to his own humanity or it is denied by other persons. 
But all this, sad it may be, will not annul this dignity which is inherent to being a 
human person. 
It follows from this that the recognition of human dignity is not bound to 
special qualities or characteristics of man or would depend on them. The basic 
condition for the concrete acknowledgement of human dignity is nothing else 
but the belonging of a living being to the human species.44
 
Therefore we can say: Man on earth is in possession of this dignity from the 
very beginning of his life (i.e. from conception or fertilization45) to his natural 
 
42
 Cf. Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Vatican 2004, 
no. 107. 
43
 Immanuel Kant has pointed out the difference exactly: „Im Reiche der Zwecke, hat alles entweder einen 
Preis, oder eine Würde. Was einen Preis hat, an dessen Stelle kann auch etwas anderes, als Aequivalent, 
gesetzt werden; was dagegen über allen Preis erhaben ist, mithin kein Aequivalent verstattet, das hat eine 
Würde.“ – Immanuel Kant, Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten, in: Sämtliche Werke, Leipzig 1867, 282 f. 
44
 Cf. Robert Spaemann, Menschenwürde und menschliche Natur, in: Communio 39 (2010) 134-139. The 
Australian ethicist Peter Singer who is a representative of a so called preference Utilitarianism (Animal 
Liberation, London 1995) would criticize this view as „speciesism“. 
45
 See the comprehensive presentation of those biological facts which are relevant for the determination of the 
beginning of human life in: Maureen L. Condic, When Does Human Life Begin? A Scientific Perspective. In: The 
National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 9 (2009) 127-208, 
http://ncbcenter.metapress.com/link.asp?id=t5mx043170124534 . In the abstract of the article we can read: 
“Based on universally accepted scientific criteria, a new cell, the human zygote, comes into existence at the 
moment of sperm-egg fusion, an event that occurs in less than a second. Upon formation, the zygote 
immediately initiates a complex sequence of events that establish the molecular conditions required for 
continued embryonic development. The behaviour of the zygote is radically unlike that of either sperm or egg 
separately and is characteristic of a human organism. Thus, the scientific evidence supports the conclusion that 
a zygote is a human organism and that the life of a new human being commences at a scientifically well defined 
‘moment of conception.’ This conclusion is objective, consistent with the factual evidence, and independent of 
any specific ethical, moral, political, or religious view of human life or of human embryos.”  
 11
death. It does not depend on a positivistic ascription or attribution; nor does it 
depend on its external approval. 
We could make a distinction but not a separation between the natural and the 
supernatural perspective of man’s dignity and vocation. Concretely man exists 
not only in his natural disposition, but from his very beginning as a person he is 
called by God himself trough the incarnation and redemption in Christ into a 
personal community of love with the triune God. 
In this way Vatican Council II affirms: “The truth is that only in the mystery of 
the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. For Adam, the first 
man, was a figure of Him Who was to come, namely Christ the Lord. Christ, the 
final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully 
reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear. It is not 
surprising, then, that in Him all the aforementioned truths find their root and 
attain their crown. He Who is ‘the image of the invisible God’ (Col 1:15), is 
Himself the perfect man. To the sons of Adam He restores the divine likeness 
which had been disfigured from the first sin onward. Since human nature as He 
assumed it was not annulled, by that very fact it has been raised up to a divine 
dignity in our respect too. For by His incarnation the Son of God has united 
Himself in some fashion with every man.”
46
 
According to the view of theology man’s dignity grounds in his being created as 
an image and likeness of God, and also in the vocation made known through 
the redemption in Jesus Christ to become a child of God and to participate in 
the divine vision in heaven. 
From the side of philosophy reference can be made to the spiritual and 
immortal soul of man, seen in a substantial personal union with her body.47
 The 
dignity of man is truly given even then when a human person cannot actually 
exercise his mental faculties (e.g. the child already conceived but not born, a 
sleeping person, a mentally disabled person, a comatose person or a person in 
the persistent vegetative state or in a locked-in syndrome). 
What are the moral obligations and duties that directly follow from the 
recognition of human dignity? 
 
46
 Vatican Council II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World “Gaudium et spes”, no. 22. 
47
 Cf. Tadeusz Guz, Zum Lebensrecht aus philosophischer Sicht, in: Manfred Balkenohl / Roland Rösler (ed.), 
Handbuch für Lebensschutz und Lebensrecht, Paderborn 2010, 65-75.  
 12
- At first every man should be aware of his own dignity and correspond to 
it in his acts and omissions. This is realized when man obeys his rightly 
formed conscience and acts in conformity with the moral law, which is 
the same as to act in conformity with the will of God. 
- In the same way human dignity in other persons should be recognized 
without any limitations. Every man is to be respected for his own sake; 
i.e. he must not be instrumentalized.48
 The human person is not a thing, 
but a “who”. He cannot and must no be subject to the disposal of other 
persons in the way of a thing. From this insight other conclusions are to 
be drawn: 
o In a special way the moral freedom of our neighbours should be 
respected, including the natural, i.e. bodily fundament. And this 
implies the prohibition to kill and violate an innocent person, but 
also the demand for respect of the psychic integrity of the other 
person. 
o Such a respect has some limit where the fellow person directs 
himself in his freedom against the life of other persons or violates 
another person’s human rights. Then self defence and the defence 
of the helpless may become morally legitimate. 
o It is a moral duty to engage in an improvement of the social 
conditions so that they become more humane. This has to do with 
the structural dimension of social reform which must go hand in 
hand with the conversion of hearts. 
Christian faith highlights the personal and social vocation to participate in God’s 
eternal life. This doesn’t mean a devaluation of earthly life, as John Paul II in his 
encyclical “Evangelium vitae” on the on the value and inviolability of human life 
fifteen years ago affirmed: 
„Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his 
earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The 
loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and the 
inestimable value of human life even in its temporal phase. Life in time, in fact, 
is the fundamental condition, the initial stage and an integral part of the entire 
unified process of human existence. It is a process which, unexpectedly and 
 
48
 „Handle so, dass du die Menschheit – sowohl in deiner Person als auch in der Person eines jeden anderen – 
jederzeit zugleich als Zweck, niemals bloß als Mittel gebrauchst!“ – Immanuel Kant, Grundlegung zur 
Metaphysik der Sitten, B 66 f.  
 13
undeservedly, is enlightened by the promise and renewed by the gift of divine 
life, which will reach its full realization in eternity (cf. 1 Jn 3:1-2).”49
 
Human life is therefore to be regarded from its biological facticity and condition 
a basic value, but not as the highest value for man. The development and 
maturation of human personality is realized through a life of love to God and to 
our neighbours, under the assistance of God’s grace. The ultimate perfection of 
his vocation is promised to man in the eschatological participation in God’s 
beatitude in the Kingdom of heavens. 
Blessed Pope John XXIII expressed this very clearly in his encyclical “Mater et 
Magistra”: “Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact. From its 
very inception it reveals the creating hand of God. Those who violate His laws 
not only offend the divine majesty and degrade themselves and humanity, they 
also sap the vitality of the political community of which they are members.”
50
 
4. The unexceptional validity of the moral prohibition to 
kill an innocent human person 
The Magisterium of the Church, on the basis of Holy Scripture and Apostolic 
tradition, has given clear statements and prohibits without any exception the 
direct and intentional killing of an innocent human person: 
“Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves ‘the creative action 
of God’ and it remains forever in a special relationship with she Creator, who is 
its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one 
can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an 
innocent human being.”51
 
For John Paul II, the great Pope in service of the protection of life, this truth 
was a central moment in his doctrinal statements. He proved himself a speaker 
not only of the Catholic Church but of whole Christianity when he affirmed in a 
very solemn way in his encyclical “Evangelium vitae”: 
 
49
 John Paul II, Encyclical „Evangelium vitae“ (May 25th
, 1995) (= EV), no. 2. 
50
 John XXIII, Encyclical „Mater et Magistra“ (May 15th
, 1961), no. 194. 
51
 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction “Donum vitae” on Respect for Human Life in its Origin 
and on the Dignity of Procreation. Replies to Certain Questions of the Day (February 22nd, 1987), Introduction, 
no. 5; Catechism of the Catholic Church (= CCC), no. 2258; EV 53; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 
Instruction „Dignitas personae“ (December 8th
, 2008), no. 4.  
 14
“Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his 
Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I 
confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is 
always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which 
man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is 
reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and 
taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.”
52
 
In a similar way the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church 
declares: “It is not lawful for anyone directly to destroy an innocent human 
being. This is gravely contrary to the dignity of the person and the holiness of 
the Creator.”
53
 
A special protection by God’s law is given to weak, defenceless and helpless 
people who are exposed to the arbitrariness and violence of other persons.54
 
The social consciousness “of the absolute and grave moral illicitness of the 
direct taking of all innocent human life, especially at its beginning and at its 
end” has become progressively weaker, and thus “the Church's Magisterium 
has spoken out with increasing frequency in defence of the sacredness and 
inviolability of human life.”55
 
Therefore, again with the words of John Paul II: “The deliberate decision to 
deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never 
be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave 
act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author 
and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and 
charity.”
56
 
 
52
 Johannes Paul II., EV 57. 
53
 Compendium of the CCC, no. 466. 
54
 „If such great care must be taken to respect every life, even that of criminals and unjust aggressors, the 
commandment ‘You shall not kill’ has absolute value when it refers to the innocent person. And all the more so 
in the case of weak and defenceless human beings, who find their ultimate defence against the arrogance and 
caprice of others only in the absolute binding force of God's commandment. In effect, the absolute inviolability 
of innocent human life is a moral truth clearly taught by Sacred Scripture, constantly upheld in the Church's 
Tradition and consistently proposed by her Magisterium. This consistent teaching is the evident result of that 
‘supernatural sense of the faith’ which, inspired and sustained by the Holy Spirit, safeguards the People of God 
from error when ‘it shows universal agreement in matters of faith and morals’.” - EV 57. 
55
 Ibid. 
56
 Ibid.  
 15
Regarding the moral criteria all persons are equal; there are no privileges for 
single ones who could claim that they are “more equal than others”.57
 By 
defending the right of life from conception to natural death the Church is an 
advocate for every human person and his dignity. 
Every man and woman has the duty to preserve his or her own life and to 
contribute to its physical, mental and spiritual development. At the same time 
we are obliged to respect the lives and the physical and spiritual integrity of 
other persons and, in the frame of our social networks, to work actively for the 
wellbeing of the persons next to us and for the whole of humanity. In this way 
a civilization of love and life should be built against a so called “culture of 
death”! 
5. The principle of self-defense in its validity and 
foundation 
In reality the individual and social human right of life and its physical and 
spiritual development is repeatedly challenged and denied, even in a violent 
way. It is a requirement of justice and is not in contradiction to the love of our 
neighbours and enemies that we speak of an individual and social moral right 
(and in some cases even of a duty) to defend oneself against unjust attacks on 
body and life. The defence should be done at first with non-violent means; if 
really necessary, the use of violence could be morally justified. In the context of 
a morally legitimate protection of persons and communities the right and even 
the duty of individual and social self defence is addressed. Under these 
premises even a grave injury or a killing of the attacking person is not excluded, 
but only under the condition of being the “ultima ratio”, i.e. it is seen as an 
extreme possibility which is in some sense “prater intentionem”. If there is 
realistically a less violent way of self defence, then this should be realized. 
In the tradition of catholic ethics and moral theology according to the principle 
of self defence a morally legitimate use of violence and, as its most radical 
result, even the morally legitimate killing of an attacking person, is justified in a 
double way: most representatives see self defence with Thomas of Aquinas as 
an application of the principle of the double effect of an action which could 
justify in an extreme case the indirect killing of the attacking person. Other 
 
57
 Cf. George Orwell, Animal farm, 1945, chapter 10.  
 16
authors refer to the objective injustice exercised by the attacking person. This 
would imply some material moment of being guilty even if the attacker 
subjectively or formally could remain without guilt. In the act of self defence 
therefore even a direct killing of a person who is materially or objectively guilty 
would be justified. 
Let us look to the first form of argument: in legitimate defence the principle of 
the double effect of an action58
 is applied to the situation of defence against an 
unjust aggressor. Only the protection and the defence of an immediately 
attacked or threatened person (or group of persons) is to be intended. If this 
protection or defence cannot be achieved in a non-violent way (depending on 
the quality of the attacked good), an act of defence with some “minimal” use of 
violence might tolerate the “negative” side effect that some “positive” values 
of the aggressor are violated (i.e. even his physical integrity or his life). If vital 
values are under attack and there is no other possibility of a less violent form of 
defence this could imply the indirect killing of the aggressor. Only the necessary 
minimum of violence is allowed.59
 
The second argument which can also be found in traditional ethics and moral 
theology affirms the moral legitimacy of a direct killing in a case of extreme 
necessity60, but only in the situation of an objectively unjust aggression. In 
connection with this argument some have tried to substantiate the right for 
self defence with a preference rule for goods in the course of a so called 
“weighing of goods”. 61
 There is, according to this explanation, a competition of 
two goods: The unjustly attacked good (i.e. life itself or a value with an 
essential relationship to the life of the attacked person) is opposed to the good 
of the aggressor. As such the values of life on both sides are to be protected. 
Obviously there is a situation of rivalry. This demands a decision of which side 
has to be given an absolute or a relative preference. Whom should this be due 
with more right and legitimacy than to the unjustly threatened or attacked 
 
58
 According to this principle the act from which this double effect follows must be in itself good or at least 
morally indifferent; good and evil effects must equally follow in an immediate way from the act; only the good 
effect is to be intended; the good effect must weigh out the evil effects in the concrete circumstances. When 
all these conditions are fulfilled, the evil effect might be tolerated, but only for a proportionally grave cause. 
59
 Cf. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II q.64 a.7. CCC 2263-2264 explicitly refers to the arguments of Thomas. 
60
 „Das Recht der Abwehr kann gegenüber jedem ungerechten Angriff geltend gemacht werden. Für den formal 
ungerechten Angreifer kommt noch dazu, dass er schuldhaft handelt und daher sich nicht mehr im selben Sinn 
auf sein Lebensrecht berufen kann wie der schuldlos Angegriffene ...“ Hörmann, Notwehr, in: Lexikon der 
christlichen Moral, Innsbruck 1976, 1201-1208, here 1205, http://stjosef.at/morallexikon/notwehr.htm . 
61
 Cf. Valentin Zsifkovits, Politik ohne Moral? Linz 1989, 104.  
 17
side? Independently from the question of subjective (or formal) guilt the 
attacking person is objectively (or materially) “nocens”, which means effecting 
unjust damage, and the attacked person is objectively “innocens”, i.e. being 
exposed to unjust damage. 
A third form of argument – it rather doesn’t seem a real argument, but an 
excuse – refers to the principle “necessitas legem non habet“ (“necessity 
knows no law”). A direct killing would be seen under these circumstances not 
as a moral act (“actus humanus”) but as some form of “actus hominis”, i.e. it 
happens in a sphere which has nothing to do with morality in the strict sense.62
 
Insofar as this theory would restrict and deny the moral responsibility we 
cannot accept it. Sometimes this idea is also combined with so called 
consequentialist or proportionalist theories. These theories deny the existence 
of intrinsically evil acts and are not compatible with Catholic moral doctrine.63
 
Even in legitimate self defence the use of violence is somehow an evil, and to 
avoid a physical evil becoming a moral evil it is important that both the 
intention of a person in self defence and his acts are in a constant tendency 
towards minimizing the use of violence. Therefore self defence is bound to an 
immediate situation of being attacked; it is not allowed to violate or kill a 
possible enemy in advance or after an attack, such as in a private form of 
retribution.64
 A preventive act in the form of an immediate anticipation would 
nevertheless not be excluded, if this were the only possible form of defence; 
but one should be very cautious here. The character a minimal use of violence 
should also be followed in the choice and use of the means of defence. Only 
then we do not act in contradiction to the fifth commandment of God: “Thou 
shalt not kill.” 
As far as a person is only responsible for himself, he or she is allowed not to 
make use of the right to defence. He could do this from the supernatural 
motive of spiritual care for the salvation of the aggressor (in the consequence 
of the love for our enemies). But this individually possible renunciation of one’s 
right of self defence can never become a moral duty. The aggressor himself is 
the cause for his being in a situation which is dangerous for physical life and 
maybe even for salvation; the person who defends himself has first a right and 
 
62
 Cf. Alberto Bondolfi, Tod, in: Neues Lexikon der christlichen Moral, Innsbruck 1990, 774-777, here 776. 
63
 Cf. VS 75. 
64
 Cf. Karl Hörmann, Handbuch der christlichen Moral, Innsbruck 1958, 322.  
 18
even some duty to take care for his own life and than for the life of the 
attacking person. 
In special circumstances there could even be a real duty for exercising the right 
of self defence, e.g. if you have to take care for the life of other persons who 
are entrusted to you. In this way the Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms: 
“Legitimate defence can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is 
responsible for the lives of others. The defence of the common good requires 
that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, 
those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel 
aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.”
65
 
Not only the individual and collective right of defence but also the state’s 
monopoly on violence and the penal power of the state should be interpreted 
within the context of self defence. The common good must be protected 
effectively: “The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behaviour harmful to 
people's rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the 
requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority 
has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the 
offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced 
by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the 
value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and 
protecting people's safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must 
contribute to the correction of the guilty party.”66
 
Conclusion 
It was the intention of my considerations to show the fundamental approach of 
the Catholic Church in favour of the dignity and protection of human life. We 
could and should of course also highlight some special fields of it: e.g. the 
protection of human life at the beginning or at its natural end, the problems of 
war and piece, the threat of terrorism. Or look at the questions of medical 
ethics and bioethics in the context of new insights and techniques such as in 
the fields of organ transplants, artificial insemination (FIVET/IVF), cloning, 
genetic therapy and manipulation etc. 
 
65
 CCC 2265. 
66
 CCC 2266.  
 19
The Magisterium of the Catholic Church has repeatedly answered to various 
questions and problems and will certainly go on to do so in the future. We can 
see that in these statements the principle of the sanctity of human life is 
defended in a very consequent way. An innocent human person’s right of life 
cannot be weighed or calculated against other goods as this is done in an ethics 
of utilitarianism and consequentialism. 
It’s both a requirement for the future of humanity on this earth and a 
requirement of the Kingdom of God to come that Christians of different 
denominations encourage and give strength to each other in all good things, 
and that they work together – as far as common values are concerned – even 
with non-Christians and non-believers. May the good will and the various 
human efforts bring fruit through God’s grace. That’s my wish for us all. 

 

spindelboeck.net/sanctity_human_life.pdf
It is both an honour and a pleasure for me to give a lecture on the theme of. “The Catholic ... intangibility and inviolability of human life; of the respect which is expressed in the Finish title ... inalienable dignity of the human person. In this context ...
www.catholicnewsagency.com › ... › Speeches
Catholic News Agency
The Sanctity of Human Life from Conception to Natural Death ... Furthermore, henotes that we live in times in which there is a great cultural war ... The dignity of the human person is bestowed by God from the moment of his or her .... This violence is especially evident in video games, films and, most tragically, in real life in .
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_social_teaching
Wikipedia
3.1 Sanctity of human life and dignity of the person; 3.2 Call to family, community, and participation and the ... 6 See also; 7 References; 8 Notes; 9 External links .
  • books.google.com/books?isbn=0792337395
K. Bayertz - 1996 - ‎Law
Keyserlingk, E.: 1979, Sanctity of Life or Quality of Life in the Context of Ethics, ... protect the sanctity of life and euthanasia should be illegal, but (2) death of persons ... This is a lecture by Dr. Walter Wurzburger, rabbi and president emeritus of ...
books.google.com/books?isbn=0792337395
K. Bayertz - 1996 - ‎Law
Keyserlingk, E.: 1979, Sanctity of Life or Quality of Life in the Context of Ethics, ... protect the sanctity of life and euthanasia should be illegal, but (2) death of persons ... This is a lecture by Dr. Walter Wurzburger, rabbi and president emeritus of ..