Pro Life Educational Resources
A well-formed conscience is an informed conscience. This collection of educational resources provides a background on the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life and the role of Catholics in protecting it. Use the knowledge you gain to promote the pro-life message in your community and advocate for life to your elected officials. Feeling inspired after reading? Visit the Life programs page to put your Faith into Action.
Church Teaching on the Dignity of the Human Person
Good Politics is at the Service of Love (2019): Message of Pope Francis concerning the necessity of peace and justice in politics.
Amoris Laetitia (2016): Encyclical from Pope Francis on the family. A section on “The Transmission of Life and the Rearing of Children” can be found in paragraphs 80-85.
Evangelii Gaudium (2013): Encyclical from Pope Francis on the Gospel in today’s world. Paragraphs 213-214 concern the unborn and the sanctity of human life.
Pope Benedict XVI
Caritas in Veritate (2009): Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI. Chapter Six features “the Development of Peoples and Technology” and considers the evils of IVF, abortion, human hybrids, embryonic research, eugenics, and cloning in paragraph 75.
Pope St. John Paul II
Evangelium Vitae (1995): Encyclical from Pope St. John Paul II describing the Church’s teaching on a range of pro-life issues.
Veritatis Splendor (1993): Encyclical of Pope St. John Paul II detailing the Church’s moral theology and its role in public life. Paragraphs 79-83 consider the intrinsic evils of attacks on the human person.
Christifideles Laici (1988): Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope St. John Paul II highlighting the dignity of the human person and the role of laity in the public sphere.
Pope St. Paul VI
Humanae Vitae (1968): Encyclical from Pope St. Paul VI detailing the Church’s stance on love, marriage, human procreation, parenting, and the harms of birth control.
Pope St. John XXIII
Mater et Magistra (1961): Encyclical of Pope St. John XXIII regarding the role of the Church in community. Statements on the “Respect for the Laws of Life” can be found in paragraphs 193-194.
Pope Pius XI
Casti Connubii (1930): Encyclical of Pope Pius XI defending marriage and articulating the Church’s teaching on contraception.
Other Church Teaching
Catechism – 5th Commandment: An overview of the Church’s teaching on respect for human life.
CDF Doctrinal Note on Questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life (2002): Principles from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith that describe the responsibilities of Catholic politicians and all Catholic lay people in political life.
Pontifical Academy for Life: Promotes the Church’s teaching on issues of life, including issues of bioethics.
Resources from the Knights of Columbus
Culture of Life: A summary on the role of the Knights of Columbus in protecting life in all its stages.
Catholic Citizenship and Public Policy: A summary of the civic role of the Knights of Columbus.
Marist Polling: The latest public opinion polling data on pro-life issues.
Resources from the Catholic Information Service Booklet Series
Human Nature as the Basis of Morality (#122): Explores Natural law, morality’s origin, conscience, free will and freedom.
Some Fundamental Principles of Catholic Morality (#123): Explores the concept of objective truth, that we can know what it is and that we ought to live according to it.
The Fifth Commandment (#127): Explores the Christian approach to the Fifth Commandment and what it means for us to believe that God alone is the author of life and that it is not permissible to take a human life.
Catholic Sexual Ethics (#314): Explores the teaching of the Catholic Church on sexual ethics, which far from enslaving persons, liberates them and enables them to become fully themselves.
The Child: Begotten Not Manmade (#330): Outlines the Catholic teachings on infertility and the grave moral problems with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Men and Abortion: Finding Healing, Restoring Hope (#334): Explores a relatively new area of research and pastoral concern and outreach: the effects of abortion on fathers.
Do No Harm: A Guide to Human Dignity and Morally Sound End-of-Life Care (#338): Examines the doctrine of intrinsic human dignity and some key Catholic moral decision-making principles as applied to end-of-life care. It also provides practical advice regarding the crafting of Advance Medical Directives and the naming of Healthcare Proxy Decision Makers.
Freedom to Flourish: A Catholic Analysis of Doctor-Prescribed Suicide and Euthanasia (#339): Explores the Catholic teaching on the intrinsic dignity of each human being and the threat to true freedom posed by advocates of physician-prescribed suicide and euthanasia.
Resources from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Resources concerning abortion: Selected quotes from Church teaching, articles and publications, columns and commentary, testimony and letters, FAQ on specific pro-life issues, and news releases and statements from the USCCB.
Faithful Citizenship Guide: Resources and guidance on how Catholics should participate in the political life of the nation.
Project Rachel: Resources for post-abortion healing for women.