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Research Topics

Seminarian Life Link recommends research topics that seminarians can use in various courses to examine the pro-life dimensions of different disciplines. Following are some suggestions that can be adapted for papers and other research projects.

Dogmatic theology

Discuss the revision in the translation of Evangelium Vitae 99 (the words addressed to those who have had abortions), and the implications of this revision in light of the Church's teaching on the fate of babies who are aborted.

Sacramental theology

  1. Discuss the Eucharist as a Sacrament of Unity as contrasted with abortion as a force of division, particularly in the light of how this is lived out in the local parish.
  2. What is the history of the types of penances given in the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the sin of abortion, and what conclusions can we draw about the most appropriate penances for our day?
  3. What is the recent history and current practice regarding abortion as a reserved sin and the faculties of the priest to absolve of the excommunication as well as the sin in the Sacrament of Reconciliation?


  1. How does the Hebrew expression for "Thou shalt not kill" (Ex. 20:13) illumine the difference between authorized and unauthorized killing?
  2. How does the use of the Greek word "brephos" in the Gospels indicate the continuity of life between the born and the unborn?
  3. Analyze the exegesis of Exodus 21:22-25 in terms of whether it implies a moral difference between the value of the born and unborn child.


How does the liturgy of baptism reflect the theme of welcoming the child and incorporate the teachings of the Church on the right to life?

Canon Law

Choose a given period of Church history, and analyze how sanctions for abortion changed, and whether those changes in discipline reflected any development in the teaching regarding abortion as a morally illicit act.

Church History

Analyze the writings of a particular Father of the Church on abortion.

Pastoral Counseling

What distinctive pastoral issues are raised by post-abortion survivor syndrome and what implications does this have for youth ministry today?


  1. Study and respond to the various writings produced by Catholics for a Free Choice ( and/or the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (
  2. Examine the history of Catholics for a Free Choice ( and/or the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice ( and whether or not their stated positions correspond to the positions of the people they claim to represent.


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