The Life and Dignity of the Human Person

The Catholic Social Teaching of Life and Dignity of the Human Person is one that is much debated throughout the world. It deals with issues that conflict with the human dignity of a person. The Church is against these teachings because they downplay the importance of a human and show disrespect towards part of God's creation, us. Some of the main issues discussed in this teaching include: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, the death penalty, and gay rights.

Abortion:
Abortion is the intentional termination of a pregnancy by removal of the embryo, causing the death of the developing baby. Church teaching says that abortion is wrong because it is a threat to human dignity, for it directly destroys life. Every person has the right to life and should have the opportunity to live and make their own decisions.

Though the Catholic Church frowns upon abortions, Catholic women account for approximately 31.3% of the 1.3 million abortions performed annually and the 3,700 performed daily in the United States. There are about 42 million abortions each year and 115,000 each day worldwide. It is sad to see how many innocent souls are killed because they are unwanted or inconvenient.

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Who would want to kill their own child?

Euthanasia:
Euthanasia, also known as “mercy killing” or “right to die,” is the deliberate killing or someone who is terminally ill and will not get any better. This is almost always done by an overdose of drugs. The patient asks a doctor to do this for their own reasons. The practice of euthanasia in humans is illegal in the US, however it still takes place all over the country.

The Church frowns upon euthanasia for multiple reasons. First, it is breaking the fifth commandment of “Thou shall not kill.” Some people think that if their lives are theirs, than their deaths should be theirs as well. The Church’s response to this proclamation is yes and no. Though you have control of your own life, it was given to you by God. God exists in you and you belong to him. Only God can give the gift of life, and only God should have the right to take it away from us.

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Sometimes euthanasia is committed by lethal injection.


Embryonic Stem Cell Research:
Embryonic stem cell research is the use of donated fertilized embryos for testing for medical purposes, while killing the developing life within the embryo. Embryonic stem cells can be manipulated to become any kind of cell needed for research, which is why they are much more desired than adult stem cells. The Church is against embryonic stem cell research because it is killing a developing human life, even if it is to do research to help others. Embryonic stem cell research is taking place all over the world, despite the Church’s view. Activists for and against this issue are prevalent in our country.

Human Cloning:
Human cloning is taking a person's cells and genes and copying them to make an exact replica. This is bad in the eyes of the Church because it is making an identical copy of a human made in God's own image and likeness. All people are unique, and no two humans should be the same.

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It is wrong to clone a human person.


The Death Penalty:
The death penalty, or capital punishment, is the killing of a criminal as punishment for a crime. This penalty is not extremely common in today’s society because prisons are much more accurate with punish criminals without seriously harming them or society. While the Church does not advocate the death penalty, she says that the death penalty can be used as a last resort to protect society.

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The death penalty should be avoided and is completely wrong.


Gay and Lesbian Rights:
Gay and lesbian rights are becoming big topics in today’s world. The population of gays in the US is growing and many groups, including the Catholic Church, have begun to take views on the issue. The Church does not approve of homosexuality. God made man and woman to be together and reproduce. His intention was not for two people of the same sex to love. Also, because gay marriages are currently illegal in the US, it is impossible for two gays to marry and they therefore should not partake in any homosexual acts. While the Church understands that some people have homosexual desires, many churches offer coaching to overcome these feelings. Acting on these feelings is a sin in the eyes of the Church.
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The Church is against same-sex marriages.


As a Church, we should focus on correcting these important issues and making the significance of a human person well known in the eyes of many Catholics. All humans are important and should be treated as God wanted them to be treated. The Church should really recognize the disrespect that is displayed towards humans and attempt to reform it.

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Videos:

Euthanasia Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcZ536H5U5w
Abortion Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEOQL9pdj9s


Articles:

Death Penalty: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/us/18deter.html?_r=2
Abortion: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1899143,00.html


Common Craft Video:

Will be inserted here.

Discussion Questions:

1. In addition to the life issues such as abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, etc., what other influences and conditions are outrage to human dignity, and how can we change them?
2. What are your views on abortion? Are you pro-choice or pro-life?
3. What are some examples of how the Church can improve these issues?

4. How can the world work together to avoid war?
5. How can schools better prepare children and teens for life experiences that could possible become negative ordeals?

6. What is an aspect of Life and Dignity of the Human Person that you now better understand?
7. What can you do in your community to help improve issues that fall under Life and Dignity of the Human Person?

8. Do you think it is right that a death penalty still exists?
9. Euthanasia, or mercy killing, is sometimes done to a person who asks not to be killed. Is this right? Is euthanasia ever right? Why?
10. Why do you think human cloning is considered disrespectful to one's human dignity?




Works Cited

Human Genome Project Information. Human Genome Program, 2009. Web. 8 April 2010.
National Right to Life Committee. National Right to Life. National Right to Life Committee, 2008. Web. 8 April 2010.
Ontario Consultants. Religious Tolerance. Ontario Consultants, 2002. Web. 8 April 2010.
Prisons- Death Row Demographics and Issues. Net Industries, 2010. Web. 8 April 2010.
The National Institute of Health. Stem Cell Information. The National Institute of Health, 2009. Web. 8 April 2010.

“Abortion Facts.” The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. 4 January 2009. WEB. 14 April 2010.“Euthanasia Facts.” Family Social Issues. Copyright 2010. WEB. 13 April 2010.“Death Penalty Facts.” Amnesty International USA. Copyright 2010. WEB. 13 April 2010.“Gay Rights.” Faith Facts. Copyright 2008. WEB. 13 April 2010. “Pros & Cons of Stem Cell Research.” Popular Issues. Copyright 2010. WEB. 14 April 2010“The Right to Life and Dignity of the Human Person.” California Catholic Conference. Web. 11 April 2010.“Denver child being kicked out of school because moms are gay.” Vancouverite. 2010. Web. 28 March 2010“Abortion Facts.” Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. Web. 25 March 2010.“Embryonic stem-cell research immoral, unnecessary, bishops say.” Stem Cell Research and the Catholic Church. AmericanCatholic.org. Web. 28 March 2010.“Stem Cell Information.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2009. Web. 28 March 2010.“Morality: Abortion.” Resources for Catholic Educators. 2008. Web. 25 March 2010.Pavone, Frank. Freedom to Die? Priests for Life. 2008. Web. 12 Apr. 2010.Morrow, Angela. Euthanasia. 2009. Web. 12 Apr. 2010.


Photos:
Baby. 2009. Photo. Pix 11 Morning News. Web. 4 May. 2010.
Death Penalty. 2009. Photo. Global Voices. Web. 4 May. 2010.
Equal Love Logo. 2009. CoolegeWeb. Web. 4 May. 2010.
Human Cloning. Photo. France Diplomatie. Web. 4 May. 2010.

Syringe. 2010. Photo. Medi-Ray. Web. 4 May. 2010.