Volume V: Sanctity of Human Life

Protection & Enhnacement of Life

I personally use the volumes of these magisterial summaries in my own preaching, teaching and writing, and would recommend it highly to preachers, reli­gious teachers, catechists and all who wish a better grasp of our faith.

I would like to see it in every home, and I hope in a special way that those devoted to the Pro-Life Movement will come to know this particular volume inside out.

John Cardinal O’Connor


While I have perused the entire series, Magisterial Summaries, this fifth volume, The Sanctity of Human Life, is especially close to my heart and should be welcomed gratefully by all who are committed to the protection and enhancement of human life.

It is particularly helpful to have in one place the three documents of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, respectively, on abortion, euthanasia and technological reproduction.

Of these three, Donum Vitae, on technological reproduction, holds special interest for those interested In the rich moral-doctrinal teaching of Pope Pius XII whose teaching so inspired the Second Vatican Council and which is continued in the work of Pope John Paul II.


Table of Contents

  • Address to the Guild of St. Luke on the Moral and Social Duties of the Medical Profession, Pope Pius XII, November 12, 1944 
  • Address to the Fourth International Congress of Catholic Doctors on Artificial Insemination, Pope Pius XII, September 29, 1949
  • Address to the First International Congress on the Histopathology of the Nervous System, Pope Pius XII, September 13, 1952 
  • Address to the Eighth Congress of the World Medical Association on Medical Ethics, Pope Pius XII, September 30, 1954
  • Address to the Second World Congress on Fertility and Sterility, Pope Pius XII, May 19, 195
  • Address to a Symposium of the Italian Society of Anesthesiology on the Morality of Pain Prevention, Pope Pius XII, February 24, 1957 
  • Address to the Seventh International Hematological Congress in Rome on Questions of Conjugal Morality and the Generation of Human Life, Pope Pius XII, September 12, 1958
  • Declaration on Procured Abortion, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, November 18, 1974 
  • Response to Questions of the North American Bishops’ Conference on Sterilization in Catholic Hospitals, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, March 13, 1975 
  • Declaration on Euthanasia, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith May 5, 1980
  • Address to Congress of Physicians and Surgeons on Patients As Person, Pope John Paul II, October 27, 1980
  • Address on Biological Experimentation to Participants in the Week of Study Sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope John Paul II, October 23, 1982
  • Address to Participants in the 35th General assembly of the World Medical Association on the Ethics of Genetic Manipulation, Pope John Paul II, October 29, 1983
  • Address to Participants in a Week of Study Sponsored by the Pontifical academy of Sciences on the Mystery of Life and Death, Pope John Paul II, October 19-21, 1985 
  • Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation, Donum Vitae, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, February 22, 1987
  • Ruling on Canon Law on the Penalty for Abortion, Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, Confirmed by Pope John Paul II, May 23, 1988 
  • Address to the Federation of Catholic Pharmacists on Aggression Against Human Life and Supremacy of the Moral Order, Pope John Paul II, November 3, 1990

Lectio Divina Cordis

Divine Reading of the Heart


HEAR the words as you inwardly read  or speak

– Read –


ENTER  the silence to reflect on a core precept

– Meditate –


ANSWER to the knock at the heart’s door

– Speak –


REST silently without words or thoughts

– Contemplate –


TRUST: “Do not let your HEART  be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”   (John 13:1)

 – Trust in the process –

Lectio Divina (Latin for “Divine Reading”) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Word. It does not treat scripture as texts to be studied, but as the living word.

The focus of Lectio Divina is not a theological analysis of biblical passages but viewing them with Christ  as the key to their meaning.

Approaching the Magisterium Summaries from this perspective may lead to a deeper appreciation of its meaning and  an appreciation of how it may be applied to one’s life.

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