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-