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Chapter 29. Fifth Commandment: Promote the Culture of Life • 401

• Physician-assisted suicide is suicide performed with the aid of a doc-

tor. The emergence of physician-assisted suicide, popularized by the

right-to-die movement, seeks to legalize what is an immoral act.

Suicide is wrong whether committed alone or aided by a doctor.

• The human embryo from the moment of conception has the entire

genetic makeup of a unique human life. The growing child must be

treated as completely and fully human. He or she needs only time to

grow and develop. Killing the embryo is killing human life, an act

contrary to God’s law and Church teaching.

• “Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the

state has for effectively preventing crime by rendering the one who

has committed the offense incapable of doing harm . . . the cases

in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity ‘are

very rare, if not practically non-existent’” (CCC, no. 2267, citing

EV, no. 56).

• While every possible means must be taken to avoid war, there are

times when legitimate defense of one’s homeland by military force

may be taken under the strictest conditions.

• In addition to the respect for bodily life, there must also be reverence

for the souls of others. One must always avoid scandal, which is a

grave offense when, by deed or omission, one leads another to sin

gravely (cf. CCC, nos. 2284-2287).

• The Fifth Commandment also forbids other sins: bigotry and hatred,

physical or emotional abuse, violence of any kind against another

person, inattention to one’s health, or the abuse of alcohol or drugs

(cf. CCC, nos. 2288-2291).


Christ’s blood reveals to man that his greatness, and therefore

his vocation, consists in the sincere gift of self. Precisely because

it is poured out as the gift of life, the blood of Christ is no lon-

ger a sign of death, of definitive separation from the brethren,

but the instrument of a communion which is richness of life

for all. Whoever in the Sacrament of the Eucharist drinks this

blood and abides in Jesus (cf. Jn 6:56) is drawn into the dyna-