You Shall Not Kill
This commandments commands us to care for our own
life and health and the life and health of our neighbor. We are
also required to respect human life, born and unborn.
The fifth commandment forbids unjust killing, such as
proceeds from human malice or passion; it also forbids doing any harm to
the integrity or health of the body.
We must respect the human person because human life is
sacred and apart from any other function it may have in society.
Charity in our society needs to be concerned not only with the
individual, but also with the welfare of human society.
We are obliged to use ordinary means to preserve life,
such as proper food, sleep, clothing and shelter. Extraordinary
means must be used when a person is very necessary to his family, the
Church or society; in this case, extraordinary means become morally
obligatory according to the need for sustaining a person's life.
Murder is the direct and deliberate taking of an
innocent person's life. It is a grievous sin because it is
an invasion of the rights of God, who alone is the Master of human life.
Human life begins at the moment of conception.
It is sinful to even want to take away the life of an
innocent person because this would be murder by intention.
The Church looks favorable upon the transplanting of
vital organs provided the loss of such organs does not deprive the donor
of life itself. The special concern is to know when a donor is
Examples of breaking the fifth commandment would be:
Abortion - the Church has always held that abortion,
as a deliberate killing of an unborn child, at any time after
conception, is a mortal sin.
Feticide - Another form of abortion, which is the
destruction of a living fetus by a variety of physical or chemical
The Church's position when it comes to war is that,
although regrettable, war is not always and necessarily sinful.
A war is considered just when declared by proper
authority undertaken as a last resort, and when those waging war use no
more destructive means than are necessary to achieve an early and just
peace. The purpose for which the war is fought must be a good one.
The Church teaches that all warfare, which
intends indiscriminately the destruction of entire cities or wide areas
with their inhabitants, is to be condemned.