Morality & Ethics

Categories (in alphabetical order)
– Church Teaching
– Eugenics, Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide
– Genetic Research & Manipulation (Cloning, Transgenic Research)
Capital Punishment
Church Teaching
Environmental Stewardship
Moral Development
Religious Freedom and Conscience
Reproductive Technology
Sexual Ethics
Theology of the Body


New:  Canadian Bishops blast minister’s speech making abortion a ‘core’ foreign policy   Text of Canadian Bishops’ Letter to Minister
(Catholic Register, July 7, 2017. Canada’s bishops conference has denounced a speech by Canada’s foreign minister as “erroneous, confusing and misguided” for suggesting that sexual reproductive rights have become a cornerstone of the nation’s foreign policy)
New:  Nigerian activist calls West’s imposition of abortion ‘cultural supremacy’
(Catholic Register, July 11, 2017. Print title [July 16-23 edition], “Canada the ‘colonial master of abortion.’  Article details how after US under President Trump withdrew $600 million in US funding for “family planning and abortion services”, Canada increased its spending on “reproductive and health rights to $650 million.  Canada is now “at the forefront of exporting abortions overseas.”
New:  Mother Teresa’s 1979 Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech   Video of Acceptance Speech
(“…the greatest destroyer of peace today is the cry of the innocent unborn child. For if a mother can murder her own child in her womb, what is left for you and for me to kill each other? Even in the scripture it is written: Even if mother could forget her child – I will not forget you – I have carved you in the palm of my hand. Even if mother could forget, but today millions of unborn children are being killed. And we say nothing. In the newspapers you read numbers of this one and that one being killed, this being destroyed, but nobody speaks of the millions of little ones who have been conceived to the same life as you and I, to the life of God, and we say nothing, we allow it. To me the nations who have legalized abortion, they are the poorest nations. They are afraid of the little one, they are afraid of the unborn child, and the child must die because they don’t want to feed one more child, to educate one more child, the child must die.”)
The Unborn Child.  A Gift, a Treasure and a Promise.   A Reflection on Abortion.  Canadian Catholic Office for Life and Family (COLF), 2012.
San Jose articles
An important statement on the rights of the human person in fetal and embryo stages.  Statement by a leading figures in medicine, public policy and international law on the rights to life of all persons from conception until death.  Written to counter United Nations’ claim that that international law requires governments to repeal domestic laws protecting human beings at embryonic and fetal stages of development against the violence of abortion.
(US) National Catholic Bioethics Centre Resources on Abortion
Essays prepared by NCBC ethicist Stephen Napier, Ph.D. exposing fallacies in contemporary abortion-rights arguments:
Pro-Abortion Arguments, Fatal Flaws #1
Pro-Abortion Arguments, Fatal Flaws #2
Pro-Abortion Arguments, Fatal Flaws #3
Priests for Life Canada
Priests for Life USA
(Canadian Catholic Pro-Life Website)
Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services
Life Site News
Rising Numbers of Doctors in Italy Refusing to Perform Abortions
(NY Times, April 23, 08)  Life Site News Article here
The Dark Side of Biotech: Expert Details Grisly Fate of Fetal Body Parts
(LifeSite News Dec 9, 2010)
USCCB Respect Life Resources   Pro Life Activities
“The Hollow Men”:  Male Grief & Trauma Following Abortion
(By Vincent M. Rue, Ph.D.  Part of USCCB 2009 Respect Life resources)


Church Teaching
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Instruction Dignitas Humanae on Certain Bioethical Questions
(Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 2008)
Evangelium Vitae (On the Gospel of Life) 
(Encyclical of Pope John Paul II)
Veritatis Splendor (The Splendour of Truth)
(Encyclical of Pope John Paul II)
Humanae Vitae
(Encyclical of Pope Paul VI)

Eugenics, Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 2259-2283
New:  Bishop Michael Mulhall’s Pastoral Letter on Euthanasia
(Pembroke Diocese, September, 2016)
New:  Fr. Tad Pacholczyk and Raymond Arroyo on Life Issue Developments in Canada & USA
New:  “‘Tragic’ Euthanasia Law Must be Fought: Muller”
(Catholic Register May 21 edition article covers address by Cardinal Gerhard Muller, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, given as the keynote address to Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute. Cardinal Muller calls the new law “tragic” and a “dangerous legal error in [our] Supreme Court and Parliament.”  He states that the first step in repealing this law must be in protecting doctors’ conscience rights to refuse to engage in euthanasia assessment and proceedings.  Very useful as a secondary school discussion article, particularly for Philosophy, Ethics (Gr 12) and Social Justice (Gr 10).
New:  Life-Giving Love. CCCB National Campaign for Palliative and Home Care: Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
(CCCB, 2014)
New:  The Church Speaks Out. Excerpts on Euthanasia, Suicide, and the Christian Meaning of Suffering
(A solid compendium on the subject, published by CCCB, 2014 in conjunction with Life-Giving Love Campaign)
Ontario Bishops’ Message on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
Canadian Bishops Statements and Information on Euthanasia
CCCB Resources Related to Bill C-407
(to legalize Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide)
Going to the House of The Father. A Statement on the Dignity and Destiny of Human Life
(Ontario Bishops’ January 2007 Statement on Euthanasia)
(Comprehensive overview of Issues and Church teaching on Euthanasia from EWTN)
Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute
(Information, News and Links to Information on Bill C-407)
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (Ontario)
(From their website: The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition exists to build a well-informed broadly-based network of groups and individuals to create an effective social barrier to euthanasia and assisted suicide. Our goal is to help build a stronger unified coalition of those who oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide)
Letter from the CCCB to the Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, about Doctor-Assisted Suicide for the Terminally Ill
The Inherent Racism of Population Control

(Paper by Paul Jalsevac, Lifesite
“End-of-Life Ethics. Preparing Now for the Hour of Death”
(by Kenneth R. Overberg, S.J.  [August 2006 issue of Catholic Update], from St. Anthony Messenger Press)
The DeVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research
See: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: The Current Debate
Euthanasia Opponents See Canada Assisted Suicide Poll Differently

([]  Reveals “existential distress” and under-medicated pain as chief reasons for palliative care patients wanting to end their lives – when these are alleviated, the wish to end life tends to disappear)
A Will for Living
(By Stephen L. Mikochik.  Part of USCCB 2009 Respect Life resources)

Genetic Research & Manipulation 
New:  Gene Editing is Heading Down a Slippery Slope
(by Cathy Majtenyi, Catholic Register, June 3, 2018. Looks at implications of new gene editing research for potential disease alleviation in light of:  Church teaching in Dignitas Personae. Instruction on Certain Bioethical Questions, Canadian law, designer baby debate as well as concern raised by journal Nature.  Changing the genetic makeup of a human reproductive cell will have the potential to permanently alter the genes of our descendants.  Useful starting point for senior elementary and secondary classroom discussion)
Cloning (Animal Cloning)
The Perils of Cloning 
(Time Magazine article from July, 2006 detailing genetic problems inherent in trying to clone animals, and how clones are not a replication of the original animal)
Transgenic Research (Discussion Articles)
Now Scientists Create a Sheep that’s 15% Human
(UK Daily Mail)
Taiwan breeds green-glowing pigs
(BBC article about transgenic pigs, genetically engineered with jellyfish DNA to glow in the dark. A good discussion starter for the Grade 12 Religious Ed course. Includes picture of glowing pigs)
U.S. Senate’s Human Chimera Prohibition Act of 2005
Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy
(National Geographic feature on genetic animal-human hybrids [chimeras])
The Laws of Man and Beast.  New ethical guidelines seek to quell debate surrounding researchers’ development of human-animal hybrids, but concerns continue to mount as scientists expand the boundaries of their work.
(By Karen Epper Hoffman, Technology Review)
Jeremy Rifkin:  fears of a brave new world
(Futurist Jeremy Rifkin on Eugenics and Human Chimera Cultivation)

Reproductive Technology


New: New Technology Could Produce Babies from Skin Cells – And That’s a Problem
(Within the next 10-20 years, a new and controversial fertility technology called in vitro gametogenesis could make it possible to manipulate skin cells into creating a human baby. Catholic News Agency, May 2017)
We Will Be a Family .  Adoption and ethical fertility treatments gave us hope that we would welcome the gift of children.
(Carlos Gamundi, K of C Columbia Magazine, Dec 29, 2011)
Begotten Not Made: A Catholic View of Reproductive Technology
(By John M. Haas, PhD, STL.   Dr. Haas is President of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, Boston, Massachusetts and a consultant to the NCCB Committee for Pro-Life Activites)
Humans in “Frozen Orphanages”
(By Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk.  Discusses the morally unjustifiable practice of human embryo storage at fertility clinics, the false justification for their use in research on the grounds that they will be (wrongfully) discarded).
Why Not In Vitro Fertilization?
(By Moira McQueen, LLB, MDiv, PhD.  Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute newsletter, Feb 2010; Vol 8, No. 1. Dr. McQueen examines in light of Church Teaching why In Vitro Fertilization is deemed not morally permissible. Helpful summary for teachers looking for an explanation of Church teaching on this issue)
Helping Childless Couples Conceive
(By Rev. Richard Sparks CSSP.  A good, sensitively-written overview and moral evaluation of various strategies available to help childless couples conceive)

Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning
Adult Stem Cells.  June 2013 Issue of Bioethics Matters by Moira McQueen, PhD
(Excellent article on how adult stem cell therapies are saving human lives, and how the Vatican has gotten involved with initiatives to promote their use.  Also presents some of the adult stem cell success stories detailed in the 2013 book, The Healing Cell: How the Greatest Revolution in Medical History is Changing Your Life. [New York: 2013])
Non, Je ne Regrette Rien
(“It is now all but certain that human embryonic stem cells will not deliver cures to dread diseases.” By Michael Cook. Thursday Nov 24, 2011.
Adult Stem Cell Treatment Brings Major League Pitcher Back to the Mound
(By Thaddeus Baklinski, Life Site News.  Tue Jun 07, 2011)
Early Trial Shows Adult Stem Cells Healing Hearts
(by Peter Smith, LifeSiteNews Wed Mar 23, 2011)
Article highlights study in Circulation Research: Journal of the American Heart Association showing reduction in enlarged heart and scar size, revitalization of damage due to heart attack in patients injected with adult stem cells.
The Dark Side of Biotech: Expert Details Grisly Fate of Fetal Body Parts
(LifeSite News Dec 9, 2010)
Highlights of presentation on aborted fetal body parts trade by Dr. Theresa Deisher at Human Life International 2010 conference.  Dr. Deisher is a molecular and cellular physiologist and internationally-recognized expert in regenerative medicine.  Deisher also draws attention to spikes in autism cases coinciding with introduction of fetal cell line vaccines such as measles-mumps-rubella, chicken pox, and hepatitis A:  “No other variable, she said, has correlated so closely to the pattern of autism diagnosis.”
Stem cells: The Crusader
(Nature News Feb 9, 2011)
Theresa Deisher once shunned religion for science. Now, with renewed faith, she is fighting human-embryonic-stem-cell research in court.
Helpful article for senior Rel Ed/Ethics/Philosophy classes and adult faith.
Instruction Dignitatis Personae on Certain Bioethical Questions
(Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith)
Summary of Dignitatis Personae
The Obama Stem Cell Darkness by Fr. Tadeusz Pacholchyk
Details how the Obama administration’s increased support for human embryonic stem cell research has crossed a new ethical line, motivated by desperate patient needs. In the process, it is placing the lives and safety of our embryonic children at the whims of medical research.
What’s Happening in the World of Stem Cells and Cloning?
(Dr. Moira McQueen, Executive Director Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute (CCBI))
More from CCBI at
Adult Stem Cells Beneficial In Heart Failure Recovery
(Medical News Today, Jan 2008)
The Big Stem-Cell Breakthrough
(By Wesley J. Smith. Details the breakthrough work of two scientists who cultured dime-sized human liver tissue from umbilical cord stem cells, and how this has been under-reported in the press in favour of embryonic stem cell research)
Plan to Create Human-cow Embryos
(BBC, November 2006 article on group which wants to use bovine-human embryos for stem cell research)
Reflections on the Implications of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (CCCB November 25, 2005)
A Wonder Am I And All Your Works Are Wonders. Reflections on Some Developments in Genetic Technologies
(CCCB, 2005)
St. Anthony Messenger Press Resources: Stem Cell Research and the Catholic Church
Resources on Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning
[US] National Catholic Bioethics Centre)
Making Sense of Bioethics
(By American Bioethicist  Rev. Dr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. [Fr. Tad].
Home page for Fr. Tad’s articles on contemporary issues in bioethics.   A must-view!)
Youtube Video “In Vitro Fertilization”
(With Fr. Tad Pacholczyk)
Stem Cells and Hope for Patients
(by Maureen Condic, Ph.D.  Part of USCCB 2009 Respect Life resources)
U.S.C.C.B. Stem Cell Resources
Select Quotations on Life Issues from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI & the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Embryonic Stem Cell Research: “Miracle” Cures, or Decades of Basic Research?
Catholic Support for Ethically Acceptable Stem Cell Research
Practical Problems with Embryonic Stem Cells
Stem Cell Reality Check #1
Stem Cell Reality Check #2
Stem Cell Reality Check #3
Stem Cell Reality Check #4
Current Clinical Use of Adult Stem Cells to Help Human Patients
Scientific Experts Agree: Embryonic Stem Cells Are Unnecessary for Medical Progress
Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Vaccines using Fetal Tissue
What is an Embryo?
On Embryonic Stem Cell Research
(USCCB Statement)
Stem Cell Research Database
(Prayers, Statements, Testimonies, Articles, Fact Sheets, News Releases from USCCB – Excellent Resource!)
Stem Cell Research – Related Stories
Israeli-Thai company uses adult stem cells in effort to heal failing hearts
(Article on healing badly weakened human heart with patient’s own adult stem cells)
Non-embryonic stem cell successes
(Rochester Right to Life Office)
“Supreme Scientist” Superstar
(By Colleen Carrol Campbell [Catholic] on falsified research and ethical lapses of Korean stem cell researcher Dr. Hwang Woo Suk)

Capital Punishment

Dead wrong: Catholics must no longer support capital punishment
(By Carol Glatz, Catholic San Francisco, Online Edition.  October 5th, 2011)

Church Teaching 

Catechism of the Catholic Church
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace)
Second Vatican Council
(Vatican website)
First Vatican Council, 1869-70
(EWTN website)
Instruction Dignitas Humanae on Certain Bioethical Questions
(Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 2008)
Encyclicals (See Social Justice Page for Catholic Social Tchg Encyclicals)
Laudato Sí. On Care for our Common Home
(Encyclical of Pope Francis, 24 May 2015)
Evangelium Vitae (On the Gospel of Life) 
(Encyclical of Pope John Paul II)
Veritatis Splendor (The Splendour of Truth)
(Encyclical of Pope John Paul II)
Humanae Vitae
(Encyclical of Pope Paul VI)


Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 1776-1802
Forming a Catholic Conscience
(by Mark S. Latkovik from Catholic Culture Website)
The Revenge of Conscience
(by J. Budziszewski from Catholic Culture Website. An excellent discussion article for senior Religious Education/Philosophy on natural law, conscience and contemporary issues in ethics)

Environmental Stewardship

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2415-1418
Catholic Social Teaching: Good Stewardship of Creation
(10 slide presentation on the call to good stewardship of creation – simple and well done with great images)
Compendium on Social Doctrine of the Church Chapter 10 Safeguarding The Environment
Joint Message of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew on the World Day of Prayer for Creation
The Catholic Church and Stewardship of Creation
(Acton Institute.  Dense but rich article, suitable for Grade 12 research. See Recommendations and Conclusion sections towards the end)
Common Declaration of John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew I on Environmental Ethics
(by Pope John Paul II and Orthodox Patriarch Bartholemew of Constantinople, June 2001)
Statements by Pope John Paul: The Holy Spirit Acts in All Creation and History
([Gen Aud. Aug 12, 1998], Creation Must Be Dwelling Place of Peace [Gen Aud. Aug 19, 1998], The Trinity is Mysteriously Present in Creation [Gen Aud. Jan 26, 2000], God is the Lord of Creation and History [Gen Aud. Nov 19, 1997])
In the Fullness of Creation
An Eastern Orthodox look at creation by Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew)
Environmental Justice in the Catechism
Christian Ecology Link Catholic Page
(Includes ecological statements by Pope John Paul II)
Catholic Earthcare Australia
(Contains materials from Australian Catholic Conference of Bishops)
Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship
(Catholic Conservation Centre, UK)
USCCB Caring for God’s Creation
(Resource page)
Renewing the Earth An Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching
(Pastoral Statement of the United States Catholic Conference November 14, 1991)

Moral Development

Stages of Moral Development From the Movie The Passion of the Christ
(Grade 12 Religious Education Exercise based on Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development.  By Rory Donohue, Program Leader at Bishop Smith Catholic High in Pembroke)
Fostering Moral Development in Catholic Schools
(4 article series from Today’s Catholic Teacher magazine)
Article 1: Moral Development Defined: Beyond a List of Dos and Don’ts
(By Dr. Doreen Ferreira Jones)
Article 2: The Moral Development of Students: Whose Responsibility Is It Anyway?
(By Dr. Doreen Ferreira Jones)
Article 3: Essential Skills That Facilitate Student Moral Development
(By Dr. Doreen Ferreira Jones)
Article 4: Essential School-Wide Conditions That Facilitate Student Moral Development
(By Dr. Doreen Ferreira Jones)
Article 5: The Essential Classroom Conditions That Facilitate Student Moral Development
(By Dr. Doreen Ferreira Jones)
Article 6: Essential Teaching Strategies That Facilitate Student Moral Development
(By Dr. Doreen Ferreira Jones)


The Dangers of Pornography
(CARFLEO Grade 7 Family Life Supplementary Unit)
The Dangers of Pornography
(CARFLEO Grade 8 Family Life Supplementary Unit)
How Pornography and Drugs Change Your Brain
(By Dr. Donald L. Hilton, Jr.   Examines how the brain is (chemically-biologically) affected by pornography, showing how pornography is just as powerful as any addictive drug.  Also looks at some of the widespread social and societal costs of pornography.
Catholic News Agency Articles on Pornography
Pornography is ‘a sexual Katrina’ tearing men down, says speaker
(By Peter Finney Jr. Catholic News Service October 30, 2009)
Pornography, What’s the Problem
(By Mark J. Houck.    Part of USCCB 2009 Respect Life resources)

Religious Freedom & Conscience

The CCCB’s May 2012 Pastoral Letter on Freedom of Conscience and Religion and related resources can be found at this link.

Sexual Ethics

Catechism of the Catholic Church No 2331-2400
New:  Theology of the Body:  Ten Takeaways
(Ten key TOB elements summarized on one sheet. Suitable for secondary Religious Education/Family Life classes)
Pastoral Ministry to Young People with Same-Sex Attraction
(CCCB, June 2011.  Addresses pastors, educators and parents.  Upholding the dignity of persons experiencing same-sex attraction and reaffirming Church teaching on sexual intimacy as proper to marriage, emphasizes overcoming same-sex attraction with support of community and God’s help, especially in prayer and sacraments)
HIV/AIDS and Catholic Teaching on Sexual Ethics by Dr. Moira McQueen
(Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, Bioethics Matters Nov 2010. Vo. 8 No 5)
Designed for Sex
(By J. Budjixzewski on website. A presentation on natural law and sexual complementarity of man and woman)
A Basic Theology of Marriage
(By Christopher West on website)
What the Catholic Church Teaches About Homosexuality
(By Rev. Richard Sparks on
Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination. Guidelines for Pastoral Care
(Issued by USCCB in November, 2006)
Human Sexuality: Wonderful Gift and Awesome Responsibility
(By Rev. Richard Sparks on
USCCB’s Married Love and the Gift of Life
(November, 2006 Statement by U.S. Bishops on married love)
Life Giving Love in an Age of Technology
(2009 Statement by U.S. Bishops)

Theology of the Body (See also Sexual Ethics above)

New:  Theology of the Body:  Ten Takeaways
(Ten key TOB elements summarized on one sheet. Suitable for secondary Religious Education/Family Life classes)
What is the Theology of the Body and Why is it Changing So Many Lives?
(By Christopher West,
A Basic Theology of Marriage
(By Christopher West,
The Theology of the Body & The New Evangelization
(By Christopher West,
From the Sublime to the Ridiculous & Back Again
(By Christopher West. A helpful presentation on human sexual union between man and woman as an icon and foretaste of heaven’s ecstatic union between humankind and God)
John Paul II’s Theology of the Body: Key to an Authentic Marital & Family Spirituality
(By Christopher West,
The Scriptures, Human Sexuality and Sexual Morality, and Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of The Body”
(By William E. May, Michael J. McGivney Professor of Moral Theology, John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America,  2005)
TOB Webliography
(An extensive listing of online resources compiled by Mr. Blaine Barclay, Philosophy teacher at Regiopolis Catholic High School in Kingston, Ontario)

Morality & Ethics Websites

Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF)
Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute
CCBI Bioethics Matters Newsletters:
HIV/AIDS and Catholic Teaching on Sexual Ethics (November, 2010.  Moira McQueen, PhD)
   Changing Bioethics: The HIV/Aids Epidemic in North America and Sub-Saharan Africa 
(June 2010. Bridget Campion, PhD)
Why Not In Vitro Fertilization?  Part 2  (June 2010. Moira McQueen, PhD)
Hospice Palliative Care and Physician Assisted Suicide  (Feb, 2010.  Kian O’Higgins, BA, MA, MA)
Why Not In Vitro Fertilization?  (Feb, 2010. Moira McQueen, PhD)
Previous CCBI Bioethics Matters Newsletters
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The DeVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research
Do No Harm Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics
(Contains a large and up-to-date selection of articles and information on stem cell research from a pro-life standpoint)
EWTN Library
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
(Ontario Coalition.  From their website: The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition exists to build a well-informed broadly-based network of groups and individuals to create an effective social barrier to euthanasia and assisted suicide. Our goal is to help build a stronger unified coalition of those who oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide)
LifeSite News
National Catholic Bioethics Centre
National Catholic Bioethics Centre Articles Archive
(Monthly short articles on various topics in morality and ethics – scroll down past “latest installments” for links to archived articles. Worth consulting and using with Grade 12 Religious Education classes)
Pontifical Academy for Life
USCCB Respect Life Program Resources
(Excellent Pro-life education resources on a variety of pertinent topics)
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