Respect Life

The Respect Life Ministry at Saint Bonaventure strives to uphold the U.S. Bishops’ policy of promoting Respect for Life, from the moment of conception in the mother’s womb to natural death.

Education being the best method of inculcating respect for all stages of human life, we distribute literature from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and provide seminars, workshops and presentations by professionals, clergy and religious within the area of Pro-Life.

Our activities include lobbying against abortion, euthanasia and capital punishment, meeting with legislators about life issues, and publishing pertinent articles in our parish bulletin.

We also sponsor annual activities that benefit non-profit organizations supporting life: a Life/Bike-A-Thon in January, a Mother’s Day rose sale, and the “Pennies from Heaven” collection in October which is Respect Life Month.

Our Respect Life Team aims to continue promoting a pro-life culture within Saint Bonaventure Parish, with constant reminders of God’s great gift to us, LIFE – Temporal and Eternal.

If you are interested in joining our Respect Life Team, please contact Ann Conway, Respect Life team leader, at (714) 840-7523 or Lynn Hearn at (714) 846-3359, ext. 478.

What does it mean to be pro-life?

As Catholics, being pro-life means believing human life is sacred, in all its forms, from the moment of conception to natural death; that God’s gift of life “must be respected and protected absolutely;” (*Gospel of LIfe) that “God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end”; and that “under no circumstances can anyone claim he has the right to destroy an innocent human life.” *CCC 2258, 2270

As Catholics, being pro-life means committing to:

  • LOVING AS A WAY OF LIFE, as a world view, as the motivation and cause of all of our actions. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. John 15:12
  • GIVING the gift of ONESELF in service TO ANOTHER so that we may be conformed to our Lord Jesus Christ. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13
  • BELIEVING, SPEAKING, AND LIVING THE TRUTH of the “Gospel of Life” by following Church teaching on abortion, assisted suicide/euthanasia, stem cell research, capital punishment, and birth control. You shall not kill. Exodus 20:13

As Catholics, being pro-life means we cannot support:

  • Abortion because it involves the direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life, ultimately denying the “inviolable right of every human being to life. ” CCC 2270
  • Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia because “whatever it’s motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sich, or dying persons” which “constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator.” CCC 2277, 2279
  • Embryonic Stem Cell Research because “it is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.” CCC 2275 The principles used to guide scientific research and the development of new technology cannot be practiced at the expense of others. CCC 2294
  • Capital Punishment because the government’s non-lethal options to defend and protect people from an aggressor are “more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.” CCC 2267
  • Artificial Methods of Birth Control (such as the Pill, Norplant, IUDs, and Morning After Pills like Plan B) because these can act as abortifacients in the “very early stages of the development of the life of a new human being,” (Gospel of Life) usurping God’s central role as Creator and Giver of life and creating a utilitarian view of the person as object, thus destroying human dignity and the principles of chastity.

As Catholics, being pro-life means we can support:

  • Programs and ministries which support women in crisis pregnancies, provide healing for post-abortive women and men, and educate people about the truth of abortion.
  • Palliative care for the dying, including the use of painkillers to manage and alleviate their suffering if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable. CCC 2279
  • Medical research and therapies using adult stem cells and cord blood stem cells which ensure there is not threat to, or intentional destruction of, human life.
  • Family planning methods which rely on the body’s natural fertility cycles, respect the chastity and dignity of the human AS PERSON, and ultimately respect God as the sole Lord of Life.

As Catholics, being pro-life means “we have a responsibility to persuade others that human life is a gift from God over which we have no authority, from the moment life is given at conception until life’s natural end, and that fact, the end of life is a passage to another life. If the wider society continues to reject the true meaning of freedom – the freedom to choose life – we will move closer to a world in which power, not truth, will prevail. In such a world, human life will always be at risk. Only in a world that acknowledges that life is a divine gift will human beings and human societies have the chance to flourish.” (Dinoia)

* Sources: “The Gospel Of Life,” in Theology of the Body. John Paul II, Pauline Books, 1997; The Catechism of the Catholic Church; “A Tale of Three Encyclicals,” J. Augustine Dinoia, O.P., US Catholic Conference, 1999.

Here are also a few Internet links to check out for more information:

For pro-life services and support to women in crisis pregnancies:

Catholic Social Teaching

Catholic Social Teaching emerges from the truth of what God has revealed to us about Himself. We believe in the triune God whose very nature is communal and social. Therefore, we who are made in God’s image share this communal, social nature. As social beings, we long for relationship, to know and love each other as God intends. We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice. The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. Based on the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, modern Catholic Social Teaching has been articulated through a tradition of papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents over the last 120 years. These teachings lay out what is necessary to live a dignified human life in today’s world, and our joint responsibility to each other to make that happen.

Through Catholic Social Teaching, the Church describes what a just society looks like, says Pope Benedict XVI in Deus Caritas Est, but it is up to the lay faithful – working within their political system – to create that society. Documents at the US Catholic Bishops’ website describe seven principal themes of Catholic Social Teaching:

  1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person
  2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation
  3. Rights and Responsibilities
  4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
  5. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
  6. Solidarity (with people all around the world)
  7. Care for God’s Creation

There are also other important principles to be applied such as Subsidiarity, but we will primarily focus on these seven themes. To learn more about each of the themes listed above, simply click on the different links above. For more information, or if you have questions, please call Joe Sullivan at 842-9707.

Catholic Social Teaching can be applied to many issues confronting us today. If you have an issue you are passionate about, call Joe Sullivan at the number above and we will bring Catholic Social Teaching to bear on it. Issues we have discussed so far include:

For additional info, check out the California Catholic Bishops’ website at:

The popes’ social teaching encyclicals are listed at:

You should also check out the material on the US Bishops’ website at:

For the full Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church on the Vatican website, go to:

 Please contact Joe Sullivan, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions or comments.