Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI

Sanctity of Human Life

All of human life is sacred because God is its source and its end. We are called to protect and reverence human life from conception to natural death.

In 1995, Pope John Paul II wrote that The Gospel of Life is at the heart of Jesus' message (John 10:10). Nevertheless, ours appears to be a culture of death more than of life. We see many areas where human life is not protected or reverenced. For example,

  • In our country abortion has been legal since 1973.
  • Persons who are aged, terminally ill, or handicapped may be euthanized in some states of our country.
  • Capital punishment is legal in 32 out of 50 states, and is also used by the Federal Government for certain offenses.
  • Poverty and malnutrition result in the death of thousands of women and children each day.
  • Preventable diseases claim many lives prematurely.

In 1999, our Sisters publicly and corporately took a stance against the death penalty because it is often revengeful and discriminates against minorities. It is ineffective as a deterrent to crime nor does not allow for repentance and rehabilitation.

What You Can Do

  • Pray for conversion of heart that you may value ALL human life, even that of the most hardened criminal.
  • Learn more about the different threats to human life.
  • Assess the ways that you as an individual and we as a society devalue human life.
  • Act to protect and defend human life at every stage - from conception to natural death. Adopt a consistent life ethic.
  • Advocate for the transformation of public policy so that every person's life is valued and respected.


  1. Download resources on abortion, death penalty, domestic violence, pregnancy and rape, and marriage from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  2. Read Pope John Paul II's encyclical, Evangelium Vitae.
  3. Learn about Catholic Church teaching on respect for human life
  4. Learn more about and adopt a consistent ethic of life
  5. Understand and appreciate the progress being made to abolish the death penalty
  6. Appreciate the power of forgiveness in the lives of those affected by murder


Pope John Paul II's Prayer for Life

O Mary, bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life.

Look down, O Mother upon the vast numbers of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy.

Grant that all who believe in Your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time. Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life.