Diocese of Tyler

Bishop Strickland’s Statement on the Right to Life

February 23, 2018

The protection of human life, from the moment of conception to natural death, is an issue of primary importance in the United States, and the State of Texas. Every adult Catholic should vigorously defend life, both in the public square and in the voting booth. All persons who are committed to the protection of life should unify around the teaching of the Catholic Church, beautifully taught by Saint John Paul II in his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae:

Laws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent human beings through abortion or euthanasia are in complete opposition to the inviolable right to life proper to every individual; they thus deny the equality of everyone before the law. Pope John Paul II, Evangelium vitae, no. 72.

Likewise, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. 2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.

The message of these documents is that Catholics respect life. We protect it. We cherish it. We work through the political process to obtain laws which protect life and respect the dignity of the human person.

I am saddened to hear that some sensational stories are circulating this week about the Catholic Church changing the teaching on life. As the Catechism says, this is impossible. The teaching comes to us from the very beginning of the Church and merely affirms God’s commandment that “You shall not kill.”

Let us not be troubled, but rather, let us stand firm in our commitment to the teaching of Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church:

THE GOSPEL OF LIFE is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as “good news” to the people of every age and culture. Pope John Paul II, Evangelium vitae, no. 1

-Bishop Joseph E. Strickland

Diocese of Tyler