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Respect Life Month

Each year, the Catholic Church recognizes October as “Respect Life Month.” This month we place special emphasis on the reality that human life, with its inherent God-given dignity, is precious at all stages, from conception to natural death. Cardinal Sean O’Malley, chairman of the U.S. Bishops Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, reminds us that “nothing can diminish our God-given dignity, and therefore, nothing can diminish the immeasurable worth of our lives.”

“The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”

Pope Francis – Address to a Joint Session of US Congress
September 24, 2015

The Respect Life Program begins anew each year on Respect Life Sunday, the first Sunday in October. The program is highlighted in liturgies and marked by special events. The USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities publishes new materials each year to call attention to numerous human life issues.

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Protection of Human Life

Saint John Paul IIA wide spectrum of issues touch on the protection of human life and the promotion of human dignity. As Pope John Paul II has reminded us: "Where life is involved, the service of charity must be profoundly consistent. It cannot tolerate bias and discrimination, for human life is sacred and inviolable at every stage and in every situation; it is an indivisible good" (The Gospel of Life, no. 87).

Among important issues involving the dignity of human life with which the Church is concerned, abortion necessarily plays a central role. Abortion, the direct killing of an innocent human being, is always gravely immoral (The Gospel of Life, no. 57); its victims are the most vulnerable and defenseless members of the human family. It is imperative that those who are called to serve the least among us give urgent attention and priority to this issue of justice.

This focus and the Church's commitment to a consistent ethic of life complement one another. A consistent ethic of life, which explains the Church's teaching at the level of moral principle—far from diminishing concern for abortion and euthanasia or equating all issues touching on the dignity of human life—recognizes instead the distinctive character of each issue while giving each its proper place within a coherent moral vision. – Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign in Support of Life, US Conference of Catholic Bishops

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