Human dignity and the right to life rests with God who gives life in his "image and likeness". No one, therefore, has the right to kill except in self-defense or to protect the life of others. Unfortunately, with man's rebellion against God, death entered the world like a pervasive shadow always reminding man that he must die.
The first tragic story of murder motivated by jealousy is told in the book of Genesis. Abel offered the first fruits of the flock in sacrifice to God while Cain offered the fruits of the field. For whatever reason, Abel's sacrifice was acceptable to God but not Cains.
Cain, out of enraged jealousy invited his brother out into the fields and there murdered his brother Abel. God confronted Cain and said,
"What have you done?
The voice of your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground." (Gn 4:10) This is also the cry which rises to heaven in our days. The death of millions of innocent people who died and are dying from abortion, euthanasia, genocide, starvation, and other unlawful causes cries out to Heaven for Justice.
The mentality underlying the culture of death was revealed by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical "Evangelium Vitae". It is a mentality which equates personal dignity with the capacity for verbal and explicit, or at least perceptible communication. On the basis of this there is no place in the world for the unborn, dying and the weak. Another factor of this mentality is the notion of freedom which exults the isolated individual in an absolute way. The cry is often heard, "I have a right". There is no right to do wrong only the will of a selfish, perverse or mistaken conscience. "To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others." (# 19 & 20)
The culture of death mentality sees the human body as pure materiality, a complex of organs, functions and energies to be used according to the sole criteria of pleasure, efficiency and research. Thus there arises the taking of organs before one is really dead in order to prolong the life of others. There are those who wish to legalize stem-cell research on the grounds that frozen embryos will be discarded anyway. If the frozen embryo is killed by disposal or research, it is still killing and the good end envisioned by the researchers and legislators does not justify the means. Is the embryo just a commodity or is it God given life with a right to live even if temporarily in a suspended state?
Lord of Life & Death