DISCLAIMER: The resources on this page are intended for use by teachers and parents as supplemental materials for each of the topics presented in Respect Life Week. Please keep in mind that not all resources originate from Catholic sources and not all convey the fullness of Catholic Social Teaching on the topic. Resources from secular sources provide context for the way each topic is approached in our modern cultural reality and are meant to be understood in that context.

Topic: Immigration

Solidarity invites us to see immigrants through the lens of our common dignity as members of the human community. We are challenged to overcome the often volatile rhetoric of political parties and media frenzies to look at what our faith tells us about the situation. When we come to understand what motivates people to leave behind their homelands and their heritage to come to the United States, we learn that they are looking for the same things we are: peace, security, opportunity, education, and stability.

  • Immigration High School Student Handout
  • The Next America
    Offering resources and opportunities for engagement with the immigrant community in Los Angeles.
  • Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project
    Esperanza works to educate, defend and advocate for immigrants as they navigate the complex immigration system.
  • Justice for Immigrants
    The US Bishops are creating a culture of welcome in which all migrants are treated with respect and dignity.
  • No More Mañanas by Archbishop José Gomez
    Migrants and refugees built America and they are still making this country great. And the truth is that America needs more immigrants, not fewer.
  • It’s Time to Reconsider our Tactics on DACA
    To win hearts and minds, “Dreamers” should do less “disrupting” and more listening and talking with Americans who disagree.
  • Fences and Neighbors
    Human beings are living bodies. We have location. We inhabit particular places. Yet we are not rooted in place as plants are. Unlike or more so than any of the other animals, we can see, reflect upon, and desire things not immediately present to us; hence, we always to some indefinite extent transcend the place (and the community) that locates us. Indeed, we quite naturally yearn for what is more than human, what is divine.
  • A 3-question Examination of Conscience on Immigration that All Catholics Need to Do
    Questions of immigration policy are intertwined with the most problematic issues human communities face: race, economics and power.

Topic: Abortion

Today, with ultrasound and high definition images of unborn babies, it is hard to understand how people can still make the choice for abortion. Yet, as contemporary society so readily shows, our culture is built on the availability of abortion. When abortion is available in society, government and social safety nets that should support women and children often no longer exist in favor of the easier, cheaper option of abortion. In these situations, choosing life demands a supportive response from the community, especially from Christians.

  • Abortion High School Student Handout
  • Evangelium vitae Encyclical letter from St Pope John Paul II
  • One Life, One Love: Catholic Social Teaching and the Mystery of the Human Person by Archbishop José Gomez
    Friends, in this moment — as a Church, as Christians — we need to be united in the urgent mission of proclaiming and defending the mystery of the human person in our times.
  • Fundamental Injustices in Our Society by Archbishop José Gomez
    Abortion and euthanasia are “fundamental” social issues, because if the child in the womb has no right to be born, if the sick and the old have no right to be taken care of, then there is no solid foundation to defend anyone’s human rights, and no foundation for peace and justice in society.
  • Suicide and Abortion Stem from the Same Lie: That Some Lives Don’t Matter
    But at some point, we really do have to think about abortion. We really do. We cannot always say, “Not now.” We cannot always say, “This issue is nuanced.” We cannot always stuff uncomfortable truths back down in the hole where the light cannot reach them because someday the Light of the World will come again, and that Light will reach down into every dark hole, and the secret thoughts of many—and their lies—will be laid bare.
  • Options for Pregnancy provides free, confidential help for women making pregnancy decisions. Referrals to local pro-life pregnancy clinics and centers for counseling, medical care and resources.
  • By Your Side LA connects women and men hurting from the pain of past abortion to personal resources that can help them heal.

Topic: End of Life

The international movement to legalize assisted suicide teaches that some lives are worth living while others have no value. As Christians, we embrace interdependence and understand that suffering is a necessary, if difficult, part of life. When we help others in need, we are practicing works of mercy. When we ask for help and allow others to care for us, we are providing the opportunity for others to offer mercy to us.

  • End of Life High School Student Handout
  • Letter to the Elderly by St Pope John Paul II
    But if the life of each of us is limited and fragile, we are consoled by the thought that, by virtue of our spiritual souls, we will survive beyond death itself. Moreover, faith opens us to a “hope that does not disappoint” (cf. Rom 5:5), placing us before the perspective of the final resurrection.
  • Coming to the End of Life in California by Archbishop José Gomez
    Our government leaders tell us that granting the right to choose a doctor-prescribed death is compassionate and will comfort the elderly and persons facing terminal and chronic illness. But killing is not caring. True compassion means walking with those who are suffering, sharing their pain, helping them bear their burdens. Loving your neighbor as yourself is not a duty we fulfill by giving our neighbor a lethal dose of pills.
  • Fundamental Injustices in Our Society by Archbishop José Gomez
    Among the evils and injustices in American life in 2016, abortion and euthanasia are different and stand alone. Each is a direct, personal attack on innocent and vulnerable human life. Abortion and euthanasia function in our society as what the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls “structures of sin” or “social sins.”
  • Life is a Gift, Even With a Terminal Illness
    The Catholic woman wants people to know assisted suicide devalues the lives of people who are approaching the end of life. She said what people with terminal illnesses and their caregivers need are society’s compassion and loving holistic support. They do not need “aid in dying,” but “aid in living,” and they can teach important lessons to those who accompany them to the end.
  • Faith Communities are Reclaiming their Role in Preparing us for Death
    Faith communities are engaging their members in discussions about illness and dying. Far from being gloomy or dispiriting, this coming together to plan for these most profound questions of human life is energizing congregants and clergy alike.
  • At the End of Life, What Would Doctors Do?
    The general public’s interest in what doctors do can teach all of us about living fully for whatever time we each have.
  • Letting Go: What Should Medicine Do When it Can’t Save Your Life?
    In ordinary medicine, the goal is to extend life. We’ll sacrifice the quality of your existence now—by performing surgery, providing chemotherapy, putting you in intensive care—for the chance of gaining time later. Hospice deploys nurses, doctors, and social workers to help people with a fatal illness have the fullest possible lives right now. That means focussing on objectives like freedom from pain and discomfort, or maintaining mental awareness for as long as possible, or getting out with family once in a while.
  • To Live Each Day with Dignity
    US Bishops’ Letter on End of Life. To live in a manner worthy of our human dignity, and to spend our final days on this earth in peace and comfort, surrounded by loved ones—that is the hope of each of us. In particular, Christian hope sees these final days as a time to prepare for our eternal destiny.
  • Patients’ Rights Action Fund
    PRAF works across the US to oppose assisted suicide legislation, empower life-affirming healthcare and support patients seeking quality healthcare at the end of life.
  • The Archdiocese of Los Angeles Office of Life, Justice and Peace offers resources, referrals and parish workshops on finding loving care at the end of life.

Topic: Marriage

The topic of marriage has been highly politicized in our culture in recent years, resulting in a great deal of confusion. The reality is that so many children live in homes with unmarried parents or divorce parents or only one parent.  We are often left believing that it is better to not teach about the reality of marriage rather than offend any student.
Actually, the opposite is true. By teaching the truth of marriage—a loving, permanent commitment between a man and a woman to each other and any children they may have—we allow students to realize that God did intend something special for us; that we are made for and capable of lasting, authentic love; and that even if our own human realities fall far from this ideal, they can still aspire to it as adults. Rather than offending, this teaching is liberating.​
  • Marriage High School Student Handout
  • Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on love in the Family, Amoris Laetitia
  • The Joy of Marriage by Archbishop José Gomez
    We need to strengthen good marriages and good families, and lift them up as models to others, especially to our young people. We need to show our young people how beautiful it is to be married and to start a family — how beautiful it is to share in God’s plan for humanity.
  • The Beautiful Truth About Marriage and Family by Archbishop José Gomez
    In God’s creation, there is something unique — something beautiful and sacred — about the relationship between man and woman in marriage. Their union in love as husband and wife creates new life, a new generation of human society.
  • The No. 1 Social Justice Imperative is Marriage
    A consistent and irrefutable mountain of research has shown, reaching back to the 1970s and beyond, that marriage strongly boosts every important measure of well-being for children, women, and men.
  • Prioritizing Child Well-Being
    George Mason University law professor Helen Alvaré critiques the U.S. government’s long-standing response to the problems associated with nonmarital childbearing, and offers what some might view as a radical proposal: a shift in federal policy and programs away from prioritizing the needs and desires of adults and toward the best interests of children.
  • Teenagers, Stop Asking for Nude Photos
    An analysis of nearly 500 accounts from 12- to 18-year-old girls about their negative experiences with sexting found that over two-thirds had been asked for explicit images.
  • Humanum — short series of videos produced by the Vatican that explores how the destiny of humanity passes through the family.
  • For Your Marriage — US Bishops’ website with videos, resources, prayers, and tips on living a holy marriage and family in our culture.
  • Archdiocese of Los Angeles Office of Marriage and Family Life offers resources for people preparing for marriage, in need of services, and wishing to enrich their marriages.
  • Archdiocese of Los Angeles Office of Life, Justice and Peace offers resources on fertility awareness and pregnancy and parenting.
  • Has this topic inspired you to want to do service in your community for those in need? See our complete list of volunteer service opportunities in and around Los Angeles, for individuals and families with children.

Topic: Environment

Pope Francis issued the encyclical Laudato si, the first written specifically on the environment. In it, the Holy Father discusses  the connection between honoring the dignity of each person, serving the poor and vulnerable, and protecting our environment. With this theological discussion, he invites Catholics to reflect on our use of resources and how what we buy, eat, and trash can have a great effect on the environment and the lives of millions of our fellow brothers and sisters on earth.

Topic: Loneliness

Today, we are facing a crisis of loneliness. Study after study finds that roughly 40% of all Americans say they feel lonely or isolated. How is this possible, you may ask? Look around. People are connected to one another now more than ever. New ways to connect are being created each day. But, as it turns out, connection is not the same as relationship.