This page is intended especially for documents that are of particular help in providing information on pro-life matters. Please email us if there is anything else you think would be helpful to put here.

Church documents

  • Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul’s encyclical on the Gospel of Life.
  • Donum Vitae, instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on respect for human life at its origin and the dignity of procreation. Deals, among other issues, with questions about the human embryo and in vitro fertilisation.
  • Declaration on Procured Abortion, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
  • Pope John Paul II on tube feeding. The Holy Father’s address to the participants in the International Congress on “life-sustaining treatments and vegetative state: scientific advances and ethical dilemmas”, (Saturday, 20 march 2004) In this highly significant address, the Holy Father teaches that the provision of feeding and hydration is a means of preserving life, not a medical act. (See box, right)
  • Respect for the Dignity of the Dying, from the Pontifical Academy for Life. A useful and brief statement which discusses some of the common reasons brought forward to justify euthanasia.
  • Statement on the so called “Morning-After Pill”, from the Pontifical Academy for Life. This statement was occasioned by the sale of the abortifacient drug in Italian pharmacies. It helpfully points out the way in which language (“emergency contraceptive”, “anti-implantation”) is used to disguise the true nature of the drug.
  • Cherishing Life – a teaching document from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Deals with moral principles and a wide range of moral issues. We welcome the particular emphasis that the document gives to pro-life matters.

“I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering.” Pope John Paul II