Abortion, Assisted Suicide Euthanasia and Capital Punishment
Principles for Action
All human life is a gift from God. We must confront a culture that honors violent solutions to complex social issues – abortion to address difficult pregnancies, euthanasia and assisted suicide to deal with age and illness, and the death penalty to combat crime. In their 1995 Pastoral Letter, "At Home in the Web of Life," the Catholic Bishops of Appalachia counter this "Culture of Death" with a vision of a "Culture of Life." They write that this struggle of all society between a culture of death and a culture of life is also played out at the intimate level in personal relationships. Here the culture of death invades our very souls through addictions and co-dependencies, often leading to abuse and violence, especially against women and children.
And, they could have added, "the ill and elderly." The bishops decry "a new selfishness spreads across the land, and not only in Appalachia," which touches individuals in such policies as:
- abandonment of the poor,
- increase of racism and scape-goating,
- demands for more and more guns,
- growing use of the death-penalty,
- campaigns for abortion and euthanasia,
The West Virginia Catholic Conference evaluates legislative priorities using a theological and ethical framework that protects human life and promotes human dignity from life's inception to its natural end.
Suggested Policy Directions
We call for policies that -