A Pilgrim's Catechism

The Occasional Thoughts of a 21st-Century Roman Catholic on Journey

Towards the Reign of God 

 Ekaterina Savtchenko:  The Beginning of Life


When does human life begin?


In a sense this is the wrong question because it is ambiguous.  It can refer to a human person but also to a broader reality.  A member, such as an arm or leg, is human life; so is an organ like a heart or a liver; or for that matter an ovum or sperm.  There should be concern and respect for all life that is human but the respect due to a human person is unique.


The use of the expression “human life” while referring to a human person can lead to confusion as one finesses back and forth between that which is merely (but hardly “merely”) human life and that which is fully a human person.


The beginning of human life challenges the outer limits of scientific inquiry.  Once begun in the distant past, human life has been continuous.  In every generation the female is human life.  The male is human life.  The ovum is human life.  The sperm is human life.  The fertilized ovum is human life.  The embryo is human life.  The very important question is at what point in the continuum is there a new human person.



Other Pages:



What is a human being?

A creature composed of body and soul?

Made in the image and likeness of God?

When does human life begin?

When is there a human person?

What is the fundamental human experience?

What does it mean for human beings to be responsible?

Can a human being interact with God?

Who is called?

Who is sent?

All are called but does not each individual have a special vocation?

Is faith to be found outside the Church?

Is true freedom “from” or “for?”

What does it mean, “to follow one’s conscience?”