Catholic Social Science Review

Volume 9, 2004

William Brennan
Pages 187-201

Pope John Paul II on Confronting the Language of the Culture of Death

John Paul ll's challenge to the culture of death contributes a thoroughgoing exposé of the linguistic distortions constructed by today's anti-life propagandists, especially the sanitized medical euphemisms designed to cleanse the sordid business of medicalized killing and the appropriation of legal verbiage and elitist, relativistic ideologies as a foundation for the denial of fundamental rights to individuals rendered expendable. The Holy Father's use of sometimes graphic, but always authentic, language in calling things by their proper name furnishes a compelling mode of discourse for exposing the vocabulary of duplicity powering the death culture, and replacing it with a life-affirming lexicon of intrinsic dignity and worth.