The Respect Life Office (RLO) was launched on 17 May 2003 in the Perth Archdiocese under the initiative of Catholic Archbishop, Most Rev. Barry James Hickey.

The works of the office include:

  • Organising an annual Respect Life Sunday event and the Embrace the Grace Youth Conference for the Archdiocese of Perth.
  • Being a contact point for the public on life issues and a referral service to other agencies.
  • Providing information, resources, publications and presentations on life issues to schools, parishes and groups.
  • Using the media to promote the culture of life and educating the public.
  • Presenting the Church’s position on issues of life through the media and in other forms to educate individuals and groups.
  • Inviting experts to present at seminars.
  • Working collaboratively with people and organisations to share ideas and offer mutual support.
  • Cooperating closely with pro-life agencies such as the LJ Goody Bioethics Centre, independent Catholic groups and other Christian Churches.
  • Promoting prayer as a means of changing hearts and minds through the power of the Holy Spirit in building up a culture of life.

The office is particularly inspired by the late Holy Father, Pope Saint John Paul II’s (JPII), encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). Thus, the office works to promote the new culture of life and love that John Paul II inspired and encouraged through his life and his writings.

RLO is primarily an information resource for the general public, schools, the media, and members of parliament on issues of life. We work to help people grow in their understanding of the Catholic Church’s teachings; dispelling misconceptions perpetuated within our culture today. Particular emphasis is placed on promoting the dignity of the human person, especially within issues such as contraception, sexuality, abortion, reproductive technologies, euthanasia, immunisations, stem cells, and mental health.

Pope Saint John Paul II (JPII) had a wonderful way of looking at the person and their experience, and this “personalism” of JPII is a great influence on the work of the RLO. Our faith brings a just and loving response to the value of each and every human life and every situation faced.

No matter what issues we face, the Church recognises the state of our culture and the difficulty of applying ethical principles to certain cases. RLO is involved in the Church’s response to invite people to see the wisdom of these teachings, which are also written in their hearts and seen in their lived experience.

Most Rev. Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Archdiocese of Perth, 10 Feb 16