Human Life Committee

The Church teaches that human life begins at conception and lasts until we draw our final breath… Our responsibility extends to creating an environment within families and society where pregnant mothers are supported, children are made welcome and abortion is not seen as the only possibility in cases of forced and problematic pregnancies.
– NZ Catholic Bishops’ Conference, A Consistent Ethic of Life – Te Kahu-O-Te-Ora, 1997

As Christians, we cannot be free from blame if there are people in our communities unable to find human comfort and assistance as they approach the end of their lives.

To those for whom euthanasia might seem a solution to their distress, we point to the development of effective palliative care and control of pain…

To government we appeal for resources to be made available for the care of the aged and dying…

It must be acknowledged, however, that even after human care and technology have done all they can, suffering never entirely disappears from human life.

Only in the light of faith can we find a satisfying answer to this problem of suffering.
– NZ Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Pastoral Letter to the Catholic People of New Zealand on Euthanasia, 1995

The Human Life Committee focuses on advocating for and educating toward the value of and respect for human life, particularly at its beginning and end.The Committee has:

  • Sent three members to The Euthanasia Debate: Why Now? conference in Wellington initiated by the Nathaniel Centre (The New Zealand Catholic Bio-ethics Centre) and Hospice New Zealand
  • Connected with other like-minded groups
  • Promoted Respect for Life Sunday (2011, 2012) in parishes by providing posters, prayer of the faithful and other resources
  • Planned and held (in conjunction with Euthanasia Debate NZ) the Euthanasia Debate Conference in June 2012 for about 100 people with international and national speakers

At present, the Committee is preparing background materials for parishes in the event that Euthanasia legislation is pulled from the ballot to go forward for a First Reading. It works closely with Euthansia Debate NZ, see
Convenor: Richard Harward
Members: Sr Bernadette Cheyne, Catherine Gilles, Mariano Mendonza