THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not kill.
You have heard that it was said to the men of old, “You shall
not kill: and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.” But
I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother
shall be liable to judgment.
Human life is sacred
because from its beginning it involves
the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special
relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the
Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any
circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an in
nocent human being.”
The witness of sacred history
In the account of Abel’s murder by his brother Cain,
Scripture reveals the presence of anger and envy in man, conse
quences of original sin, from the beginning of human history. Man
has become the enemy of his fellowman. God declares the wicked
ness of this fratricide: “What have you done? The voice of your
brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are
cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive
your brother’s blood from your hand.”
The covenant between God and mankind is interwoven
with reminders of God’s gift of human life and man’s murderous
For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning. . . .
Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be
shed; for God made man in his own image.
56 CDF, instruction,