resources - Catechism

Guide for Catholic Healthcare Providers

The following brief statements from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, reflect some of the official Church teachings pertaining to key medical issues and charity.

LOVE FOR THE POOR:
“The Church’s love for the poor…is a part of her constant tradition. This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of the poverty of Jesus, and of his concern for the poor. Love for the poor is even one of the motives for the duty of working so as to be able to give to those in need.” (Catechism 2444)

ABORTION:
“From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a “criminal” practice, gravely contrary to moral law. ... Because it should be treated as a person from conception, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed like every other human being...It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material. Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity, which are unique and unrepeatable.”(Catechism 2274, 2275, 2322, 2324)

ARTIFICIAL CONTRACEPTION:
“For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the birth of their children...Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.” Furthermore, “‘every action which...proposes...to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil’.” (Catechism 2368, 2370)

EUTHANASIA:
“Intentional euthanasia, whatever its forms or motives, is murder. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator...Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his creator.” Any “voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.” (Catechism 2277, 2282, 2324)

HOMOSEXUALITY:
“Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided... By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them [persons with same-sex attraction] inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.” (Catechism 2357, 2358, 2359)

INFERTILITY
“Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. ... Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that ‘entrust the life and the identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children’... Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person.” (Catechism 2376, 2377)

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