Is abortion a cruel and unjust act

I. Introduction

1. The problem of the termination of pregnancy and its possible impunity has become the subject of passionate discussions in some places. These debates would be less serious if it weren't for human life, a primary asset to be protected and promoted. Everyone understands this, even if some are looking for reasons that, against all evidence, should even put the termination of pregnancy in the service of the protection of life. Indeed, one can only be amazed how at the same time the unreserved protest against the death penalty, against any form of war and the demand for the release of the abortion, be it in full or on the basis of ever broader indications, are increasing. The Church is too conscious of her task of protecting man against anything that could destroy or humiliate him to be able to remain silent about such a plan. Since the Son of God became man, there is no human being who is not his brother according to his human nature and who is not called to become a Christian and to obtain salvation from him.

2. In numerous countries, state violence, which resists the legal release of the termination of pregnancy, is the object of strong pressure that tries to induce them to do so. It is said that this would not offend any conscience, since one leaves everyone free to follow their opinion by preventing everyone from imposing their opinion on someone else. Ethical pluralism is called for as a consequence of ideological pluralism. In the meantime, the two are far from each other, because physical intervention affects the interests of the other more quickly than simple expression of opinion and one must never invoke freedom of expression in order to undermine the right of the other, especially the right to life.

3. Numerous Christian lay people, especially doctors, but also associations of family fathers and mothers, politicians or personalities in responsible positions have reacted energetically to this opinion campaign. Above all, however, many episcopal conferences and bishops have considered it good in their own name to point out the traditional teaching of the Church very clearly (1). These documents, whose agreement is surprising, illuminate in an admirable way the at the same time human and Christian attitude of reverence for life. However, several of them encounter reservations or even objections here and there.

4. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose mission is to promote and protect faith and moral doctrine throughout the Church (2), would like to remind all believers of this doctrine in its essential lines. By illustrating the unity of the Church, she confirms with the authority proper to the Holy See what the bishops have happily undertaken. She expects that all believers, including those who have lost their bearings as a result of the new controversies and opinions, will understand that it is not a question of opposing one doctrine of the others, but of imparting to them the constant teaching of the Supreme Magisterium which sets forth the moral rule in the light of faith (3). It is therefore clear that this declaration is not without a grave obligation on the Christian conscience. May God also enlighten all people who seek with all their hearts to "act according to the truth" (Joh 3,21).

II. In the light of faith

5. "God did not create death and has no joy in the downfall of the living" (Know 1.13). Surely God created beings who only have a period of time available, and physical death is part of the world of living beings. But what was initially wanted is life, and in the visible universe everything was done with a view to man, the image of God and the coronation of the world (gene 1.26-28). In the human realm "death came into the world through the devil's envy" (Know 2.25); come through sin, he remains united to it and is at the same time its sign and its fruit. But death could not triumph. (4) In confirming faith in the resurrection in the Gospel, the Lord will proclaim that "God is not a God of the dead, but of the living" (Mt 22:32), and death as well as sin will be definitively conquered through the resurrection in Christ (Gen. Cor 15.20-27). One also understands that human life, even on this earth, is precious. Breathed in by the Creator (5), it is taken again through him (gene 2,7; Know 15.11). It remains under his protection: the blood of man cries out to him (Gen 4:10), and he will demand an account for it, "for man was created in the image of God" (gene 9.5-6). The command of God is explicit: "You shall not kill!" (Ex 20.13). Life is both a gift and a responsibility: it is called a "talent" (Mt 25: 14-30) and must be appreciated. In order to develop it, there are many possibilities for people in this world, which they must not avoid. But the Christian knows more deeply that eternal life for him depends on what he will have made of his earthly life with the grace of God.

6. Church tradition has always insisted that human life must be protected and guarded from its inception and in the various phases of its development. The Church opposed the moral conceptions of the Greco-Roman world and emphasized the distance that separates Christian moral teaching from it in this regard. In the Didachè it is clearly stated: "You should not kill the fruit of your womb by abortion, nor should you let the child already born perish" (6). Athenagoras emphasizes that Christians view those women as murderers who use drugs to induce a miscarriage; He condemns the murderers of children, including those who are still living in their mother's lap, "where they are already the object of the care of Divine Providence" (7). Didn't Tertullian always use the same language? In this regard, he notes the essential principle no less clearly: “Preventing childbirth is an anticipated killing; It matters little whether one annihilates a life that has already been born or whether one lets it disappear at birth. He is already a person who will be ”(8).

7. Throughout the history of the Church the Fathers of the Church, the Pastors of the Church and their teachers have taught the same doctrine, without the different views on the moment of the infusion of the soul giving rise to any doubt about the inadmissibility of abortion. When, of course, in the Middle Ages the general opinion was that the soul was only present after the first few weeks, a distinction was made in the assessment of sin and the punishments to be imposed. Famous authors have allowed more extensive casuistic solutions for this first period of pregnancy, which were rejected for the following periods. At that time, however, it was never denied that the intended termination of pregnancy, even in these days, was objectively a grave misconduct. This condemnation was actually unanimous. With so many documents, suffice it to mention a few. In the year 847 the first council of Mainz repeated the penalties that the previous councils had imposed against abortion and decided that the strictest penance "is to be imposed on women who cause the excretion of the fruit of their wombs." (9) The decree of Gratian places great emphasis on the words of Pope Stephen V: "He who kills by abortion what has been received" (10) St. Thomas, the general teacher of the Church, teaches that abortion is a grave sin that is contrary to natural law (11). In the Renaissance era, Pope Sixtus V condemned abortion with the greatest severity (12). A century later, Innocent XI rejected. the sentences of certain lax canonists who sought to excuse the deliberately induced abortion before the point in time when some determined the animation of the new living being (13). In our day the last Roman popes proclaimed the same doctrine with the utmost clarity. Pius XI. responded explicitly to the most serious objections. (14); Pius XII. clearly excluded all direct abortion, namely that which constitutes an end or a means (15); John XXIII recalled the teaching of the fathers on the sacred character of life, "which since its beginning has required the intervention of God the Creator." (16) Recently, the Second Vatican Council, chaired by Pope Paul VI. very severely condemns the termination of pregnancy: “Life must be guarded with the utmost care from conception; abortion and infanticide are despicable crimes. ”(17) The same Pope Paul VI. As he spoke repeatedly on the subject, he did not hesitate to declare that this teaching of the Church "has not changed and is unchangeable." (18)

III. In the light of reason

8. Respect for human life is not imposed on Christians alone; reason suffices to demand it, starting from the analysis of what a person is and must be. Equipped with a rational nature, man is a personal subject who is able to think about himself, to decide about his actions and therefore about his own fate: he is free. He is consequently master of himself, or rather, because he unfolds in time, he has the possibility of becoming it, and this is where his task lies. Created directly by God, his soul is spiritual, that is, immortal. He is also open to God; only in him does he find his fulfillment. But he lives in community with his peers, he lives from the interpersonal connection with them and in the indispensable social milieu. In relation to society and other people, every human person is master of himself, of his life, of his various goods, and that by right. Hence, strict justice is required of all towards her.

9. However, the temporal life that is lived in this world is not to be equated with the person. Because it has its own level of higher life that cannot end. Physical life is a fundamental good, a prerequisite for all other goods here on earth. But there are higher values ​​for which it may be justified or even necessary to expose oneself to the danger of losing one's temporal life. In human society the common good is a goal for every person, which he must serve and to which he must subordinate his personal interests. But it is not their ultimate purpose, and from this point of view it is society that is at the service of the person, because only in God will he realize his destiny. Ultimately it can only be subordinate to God. One should never treat a person as a simple means which one uses to attain a higher end.

10. It is the task of moral doctrine to inform the conscience about the rights and mutual obligations of the person and society, and it is the right to determine and organize the services. There are now many rights that society does not have to grant because they are superior to it. But it is their job to protect them and enforce them. For the most part, they are what are now called “human rights,” and our era boasts of having formulated them.

11. The first right of a human person is the right to life. She has other goods and some more valuable ones, but this one is fundamental because it is a prerequisite for all others. So it needs to be protected more than any other. It is not up to society, it is not up to state authority, whatever it may be, to grant this right to some and not to others. All discrimination is illegal, whether it is based on race, gender, color or religion. This right is not brought about by recognition by another; it existed before; it demands recognition, and it is clearly wrong to refuse it.

12. Age-based discrimination is just as unjustified as any other. The right to life remains entirely to an old man, no matter how frail he is. A terminally ill person has not lost this right. It is no less right in a young child who has just been born than in a mature person. Indeed, respect for human life is a duty once the life process begins. As soon as the egg is fertilized, a new life has begun, which is not that of the father nor of the mother, but that of a new human being developing for itself. It will never become human unless it is from that point on.

13. Modern genetic science provides valuable confirmation of this evidence, which has always existed (quite independently of the discussions about the moment of ensouling) (19). It has shown that from the first moment on the program is certain what this living being will be: a person, this individual person with his or her characteristic and already determined properties. Since fertilization the adventure of a human life has begun, for which each of the great systems takes time, a long enough time to take its place and become capable of action. At the very least, it can be said that today's science, at its most advanced stage, offers no essential support to defenders of abortion. Incidentally, it is not up to the biological sciences to make decisive judgments on strictly philosophical and ethical questions such as the point in time when the human person is formed and the permissibility of abortion. From an ethical point of view, however, it is clear that even if there is any doubt about the fact that the fruit of conception is already a human person, it is objectively a grave sin to take the risk of being killed. "He is already a person who will be." (20)

IV. Answer to some objections

14. Divine law and natural reason therefore exclude every right to kill an innocent person. However, if the reasons put forward to justify an abortion were always bad and worthless, the problem would not be so dramatic. Its importance arises from the fact that in certain cases, perhaps quite numerous, the refusal to terminate the pregnancy violates important goods which are normally valued and which themselves may at times appear to have priority. We do not fail to recognize these great difficulties. It can perhaps be a grave health issue, at times the life and death of the mother. It can be the burden of having another child, especially when there are good reasons to fear that they will become an abnormal or retarded child. It can be the weight given to honor and dishonor, social decline, etc., depending on the environment. We only declare that none of these reasons can objectively give the right to dispose of the life, even the beginning, of another. And as far as the child's future misfortune is concerned, nobody, not even the father or mother, may take his place, even if it is still an embryo, in order to prefer death to life in his name. Even at a ripe old age, it will never have the right to choose suicide. If the child cannot make a decision of his or her own age, much less can his parents choose death for him. Life is too fundamental a good to be equated with even serious disadvantages (21).

15. To the extent that the movement for the emancipation of women essentially aims to free them from all unjust discrimination, this demand is justified (22). There is a lot to do in this regard in the various cultural areas. But one cannot change nature, nor can one withdraw woman, no less than man, from what nature demands of her. In addition, all publicly recognized freedom always has, as a limit, certain rights of another.

16. The same must be said of the demand for sexual freedom.If one understood under this mode of expression the progressively acquired dominion of reason and real love over the impulses of instinct, without diminishing pleasure, but relegating it to its right place - and that is the only real freedom in this field - then that would be it nothing to counter. This freedom will always be careful not to violate justice. If, on the contrary, one understands that man and woman are “free” to seek sexual pleasure to the point of saturation, without taking into account any law or the essential orientation of sexual life on fertility (23) there is nothing Christian about this conception. It is even unworthy of man. In any case, it does not establish any right to dispose of someone else's life, including an embryo, and to dispose of it on the pretext that it is a nuisance.

17. The advances in science open up and will increasingly open up the possibility of sophisticated interventions for technology, the consequences of which can be very important, for better or for worse. It is the achievements of the human mind that are in themselves admirable. Technology, however, cannot escape the judgment of ethics, because it is there for people and has to respect their destiny. Just as one is by no means entitled to use nuclear energy for any purpose, neither is one empowered to manipulate human life in any sense: this can only be done for one's own service, in order to better ensure the development of one's normal abilities to avoid or cure diseases, to contribute to better human development. It is true that the development of technology makes premature termination more and more easy; as a result, nothing has changed in his moral evaluation.

18. We know the importance of the problem of birth control for some families and for certain countries. For this reason, the last council and then the encyclical Humanae Vitae of July 25, 1968 spoke of “responsible parenting” (24). But what we want to repeat emphatically, as the Constitution of the Council does Gaudium et speswho have favourited encyclical Populorum progressio and other papal documents have recalled, is the following: never and under no pretext may abortion be invoked, neither by a family nor by the state authority, as a legitimate means of regulating the birth rate (25). The violation of moral values ​​is always a greater evil for the common good than any disadvantage of the economic or demographic order.

V. Morality and law

19. The ethical discussion is almost everywhere accompanied by serious legal discussions. There are no countries where legislation does not prohibit and punish killing. In addition, many had precisely stipulated this prohibition and these penalties for the special case of abortion. Today, however, widespread public opinion is calling for the latter ban to be liberalized. There is already a fairly general tendency to restrict any repressive legislation as much as possible, especially if it appears to encroach on the private sphere. The argument of pluralism is also invoked. If, on the one hand, many citizens, especially the faithful of the Catholic Church, condemn abortion, many others consider it permissible, at least under the pretext of the lesser evil. So why ask them to take an opinion that is not theirs, especially in a country where they are in the majority? It also shows that the laws that condemn abortion can only be applied with difficulty where they still exist. The crime has become too common to be tough on it, and the responsible public authorities often think it wiser to close your eyes to it. But maintaining a law that is no longer applied is never without damage to the authority of all others. It must then be added that clandestine abortion exposes women who take refuge to it to far greater dangers, both for their future fertility and often for their lives. Even if one continues to view abortion as an evil, shouldn't lawmakers set out to at least limit the harm it does?

20. These and other reasons heard from various quarters are not decisive, however. It is true that civil law cannot intend to protect the whole field of ethics or to punish all offenses. Nobody asks that of him. It often has to tolerate what is in fact a lesser evil in order thereby to prevent a greater one. Many understand as an empowerment what may be just the waiver of punishment. What is more, in the present case this waiver seems to include the fact that the legislature no longer regards the termination of pregnancy as a crime against human life, since killing is always a highly punishable offense. It is true that the law does not have to choose between opinions, or that it may impose one rather than the other. But the child's life takes precedence over any opinion; freedom of expression cannot be invoked to take away from the child.

21. It is not the function of the law to determine what one is doing, but to help to do better. In any case, it is the duty of the state to uphold the rights of everyone and to protect the most vulnerable. He will therefore have to eliminate a great deal of injustice. The law is not obliged to sanction everything, but it cannot be directed against a higher and more sublime law than any human law, namely the natural law which was given to man by the Creator as a norm which reason deciphers and seeks to determine precisely One must always strive for better knowledge, which is always angry to contradict. Human law can dispense with punishment, but it cannot declare as innocent what contradicts the natural law, because this contradiction is sufficient to cause a law to be no longer law.

22. In any event, it must be correctly understood that a Christian can never be guided by a law which is in itself immoral; and that is precisely the case with the one that in principle allows the termination of pregnancy. He can neither take part in the propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, nor give it his vote. He can certainly not participate in its application. For example, it is not permitted that doctors or nurses are obliged to assist directly in an abortion and that they have to choose between Christian law and their professional situation.

23. On the contrary, it is the task of the law to work towards a reform of society, to improve living conditions in all areas, starting with those who are most disadvantaged, so that always and everywhere for every child born, a decent reception is made possible. Support for families and single mothers, child benefits, statute for illegitimate children and sensible planning of adoption: a positive policy must be pursued so that there is always a concrete, possible and honorable alternative to abortion.

VI. Conclusions

24. Following one's conscience in obedience to God's law is not always an easy path. It can impose sacrifices and burdens the weight of which cannot be overlooked. Sometimes even heroism is required in order to remain true to its demands. We must also emphasize at the same time that the path to the true development of the human person leads through this constant fidelity to the conscience which remains in right and in truth. We must also exhort all those who have the means to ease the burden that weighs on so many men and women, so many families and children who are faced with humanly hopeless situations.

25. A Christian's perspective cannot be limited to the horizon of life in this world. He knows that something else is being prepared in the present life, which is of such importance that one must conform to him in his judgment (26). From this point of view there is no absolute calamity down here, not even the terrible pain of raising a handicapped child. This is the changed view proclaimed by the Lord: "Blessed are the mourners, for they will be comforted" (Mt 5.5). It would be turning your back on the gospel to measure happiness in terms of the absence of pain and misery in this world.

26. That does not mean, however, that one can remain indifferent to this suffering and misery. Every person with a heart and above all every Christian must be ready to do his best to remedy the situation. This is the law of love, the first concern of which must always be to realize justice. One can never approve of the termination of pregnancy. This includes a political action and is in particular the area of ​​responsibility of the law. At the same time, however, one must also influence morals and try to do everything that can help families, mothers and children. Considerable advances have been made in medicine in the service of life. One can hope that others will follow in accordance with the doctor's calling not to suppress life but to preserve it and promote it as best as possible. It is just as desirable that all forms of assistance continue to develop in the relevant institutions or in the absence of them in generous commitment and Christian charity.

27. One will not work effectively on the level of morals unless one also fights on the level of ideas. One cannot, without contradiction, allow oneself to spread a point of view, and even more a mode of feeling, which regard fertility as an evil. It is true that not all forms of civilization favor large families; they find much greater obstacles in an industrial and urban civilization. The Church, too, has recently insisted on the concept of responsible parenting, which should be exercised with truly human and Christian wisdom. This wisdom is not real if it did not include generosity. It must remain aware of the greatness of the task which working together with the Creator represents for the transmission of life, which brings new members to the human community and new children to the Church. The Church has a fundamental concern to protect and promote life. Certainly she thinks above all of the life that Christ came to bring: "I came that men may have life and have it in abundance" (Joh 10.10). But life comes from God on all its levels, and bodily life is the indispensable beginning for man. In this life on earth, sin introduced and increased suffering and death. Yet, by taking their burden upon himself, Jesus Christ transformed them. For those who believe in him, suffering and even death themselves become means of resurrection. As a result, St. Paul say: "I believe the sufferings of this time are not to be compared with the future glory that is to be revealed in us" (Rom 8.18). And when we compare, we add with St. Paul adds: "For the light momentary burden of our tribulation brings us an exuberant, eternal, all-predominant glory" (Ex Cor 4,17).

Pope Paul VI wrote this declaration on termination of pregnancy. in the audience granted to the undersigned secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on June 28, 1974, approved, confirmed and ordered its publication.

Given in Rome, in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on November 18, 1974, the consecration of the Basilicas of the Apostles Peter and Paul



Titular Archbishop of Lorium, Secretary

(1) A certain number of episcopal documents can be found in G. Caprile, Non uccidere. Il Magistero della Chiesa sull’abortoPart II, pp 47-300, Rome 1973.

(2) Regimini Ecclesiae universae, III, 1, 29. Cf. ibid., 31 (AAS 59, 1967, p. 897). This applies to all questions related to faith and morals or related to faith.

(3) Lumen gentium, No. 12 (AAS 57, 1965, pp. 16-17). The present declaration does not cover all the questions that may arise about abortion: it is up to theologians to study and discuss them. It only reminds us of a few fundamental principles which must be the light and standard for theologians themselves and which are intended to strengthen all Christians in the certainty of the fundamental Catholic doctrine.

(4) Lumen gentium, No. 25 (AAS 57, 1965, pp. 29-31).

(5) The authors do not make any philosophical considerations about ensouling, but speak of the phase of life that precedes birth as an object of special attention from God: he creates and shapes human existence as if he were shaping it with his hand (cf. . Ps 118.7). It seems that this topic is in Jer 1.5 finds its first expression. It can be found on it in many other texts. See. Isa 49,13; 46,3; Job 10,8-12; Ps 22.10; 71.6; 139.13. In the gospel, we listen Lk 1,44: “For behold, as soon as the voice of your greeting reached my ear, the child leaped for joy in my bosom.”

(6) Didachè Apostolorum, ed. Funk, Fathers Apostolici, V, 2. The letter of Barnabas, IX, 5, uses the same expressions (Funk, op. Cit., Pp. 91-95).

(7) Athenagoras, Petition for the Christians.35 (PG 6,970; Sources Chrétiennes = SC 33, pp. 166-167). One also cites the letter to Diognet V, 6 (Funk, op. Cit., I, 399; SC 33), which says of Christians: "They father children, but do not abort fetuses."

(8) Tertullian, Apologeticum, IX, 8 (PL I, 314-320; Corp. Christian. I, p. 103, 1.31-36).

(9) Canon 21 (Mansi, 14, p. 909). See the council of Elvira, canon 63 (Mansi, 2, p. 16) and of Ancyrus, canon 21 (ibid., 519). See also the decree of Gregory III. regarding the penance imposed on those guilty of this offense (Mansi, 12, 292, c. 17).

(10) Gratian, Concordantia discordantium canonum, c. 20, C. 2, p. 2. During the Middle Ages, the authority of St. Augustine, who in this regard in De nuptiis et concupiscentiis, c. 15, writes: “Sometimes this indecent cruelty or cruel fornication goes so far as to procure poison that makes sterile. However, if the goal is not achieved, the mother extinguishes life and drives the fetus that was in her womb, so that the child dies before it has lived or, if the child was already alive in the womb, killed becomes before it is born. "(PL 44, 423-424; SCEL 33.619. See Gratian's decree, q. 2, c. 32, c. 7).

(11) Sentence comment, Book IV, Part 31, Explanation of the Text.

(12) Constitutio Effraenatum from 1588 (Bullarium Romanum, V, 1, pp. 25-27; Fontes Iuris Canonici, I, No. 165, pp. 308-311).

(13) D 1184. See also the constitution Apostolicae Sedis by Pius IX. (Acta Pii IX, V, 55-72; ASS 5, 1869, 305-331; Fontes Iuris Canonici III, No. 552, pp. 24-31).

(14) Encyclical Casti connubii, AAS 22, 1930, 562-565; D 3719-21.

(15) The declarations of Pius XII. are explicit, precise, and numerous; they would require a study of their own for themselves. Because he formulates the principle there in all its universality, we quote only the address to the Italian Medical Association of St. Luke from November 12th, 1944: “As long as a person is not guilty, his life is inviolable. Therefore every act which seeks to destroy it directly is prohibited, be it that this destruction is understood as an aim or only as a means to the aim, be it that it is about the life of the embryo or in its full development or already on its own The end acts. "(Discorsi e radiomessaggi, VI, p. 183 f).

(16) Encyclical Mater et Magistra, AAS 53, 1961, p. 447.

(17) Gaudium et Spes, II, chap. 1, no. 51. ibid., No. 27 (AAS 58, 1966, p. 1072; cf. 1047).

(18) Address Salutiamo con paterna efffusione from December 9th, 1972, AAS 64 (1972) p. 737. Among the testimonies of this unchangeable doctrine, the Declaration of the Holy Office, which condemned direct abortion, is recalled (ASS 17, 1884, p. 556; 22, 1888-1889, p. 748; D 3258).

(19) This explanation expressly leaves aside the question of when the spirit-soul was poured in. There is no unanimous tradition on this question and the authors still disagree. For some it happens in the first moment, for others it would hardly precede implantation. It is not up to science to choose between them, for the existence of an immortal soul is out of its scope. It is a philosophical discussion, from which, however, our ethical assertion remains independent for two reasons: 1. Even with the assumption of a later animation, there is no less human life that prepares this soul and longs for it, in which that of perfected the nature received by the parents; 2. Besides, it is sufficient that the presence of the soul is only probable (and one can never contradict), so that taking his life would mean taking the risk of killing a person who is not yet waiting to be animated , but already owns his soul.

(20) Tertullian, see note 8.

(21) Cardinal Secretary of State Villot wrote on 10.10.1973 about the protection of human life to Cardinal Döpfner: "(The Church) cannot, however, recognize either contraceptive means or certainly not abortion as morally permitted to remedy such emergency situations" (L’Osservatore Romano, German weekly edition of October 26, 1973, p. 3).

(22) Encyclical Pacem in terries, AAS 55, 1963, p. 267. Constitution Gaudium et Spes, No. 29. Paul VI., Discourse Salutiamo, AAS 64, 1972, p. 779.

(23) Gaudium et Spes, II, chap. 1, no. 48: "By their natural character, the institutions of marriage and conjugal love are related to the procreation and upbringing of offspring and find their coronation in them, as it were." Ibid., No. 50: "Marriage and conjugal love are essentially geared towards the generation and upbringing of offspring."

(24) Gaudium et Spes, Nos. 50 and 51. Paul VI, encyclical Humanae Vitae, No. 10 (AAS 60, 1968, p. 487). Responsible parenting presupposes that only the permitted means of birth control are used (cf. Encyclical Humanae vitae, No. 14, op. Cit., P. 490).

(25) Gaudium et Spes, No. 87. Paul VI, encyclical Populorum progressio, No. 31; Address to the United Nations, AAS 57, 1965, p. 883. John XXIII., Encyclical Mater et magistra, AAS 53, 1961, pp. 445-448.

(26) Cardinal Secretary of State Villot wrote to the World Catholic Medical Congress, which ended on May 26, 1974 in Barcelona: “As far as human life is concerned, it is certainly not uniform; it could be better said that it is a bundle of life acts. One cannot, without mutilating them in the most severe way, detach the areas of one's existence which are closely related to one another in their close dependency and mutual influence: the physical area, the emotional area, the spiritual area and that background of the soul where this divine lives received by grace can spread through the gifts of the Holy Spirit "(L’Osservatore Romano, 29.5.1974).