"Statement for Personhood Conference                                                                                                                       Charles E. Rice

I regret that prior commitments prevent my attendance at the Personhood Conference. Permit me, however, to congratulate you all on organizing and participating in such an important event. You have an outstanding array of exceptionally well qualified speakers. I have worked closely with Rob Muise and Dan Becker on personhood and other issues. Rob Muise, a grad of Notre Dame Law School and a Marine, is, for my money, the foremost legal authority in the nation on the personhood issue. Dan Becker presents a real profile in courage in his leadership for the right to life in an often hostile environment. 

The entitlement to personhood involves the fundamental constitutional and moral issue presented by the legalization of murder of the unborn. The basic premise of Roe v. Wade is that innocent human beings can be defined as nonpersons and deprived of the constitutional protection of the right to life of every “person.” This denial of personhood to the innocent is the principle that underlay legalized slavery in our own history. The Nazi extermination of the Jews and other targeted groups was similarly founded on that premise, that innocent human beings can be defined as nonpersons and subjected to death at the discretion of others. In truth, every human being, from the first moment of his existence, is entitled to be treated by the law as a person entitled to the right to life. As Bishop David D. Kagan said in his powerful statement to this Conference, “each person, from the first moment of conception to the last moment of life by natural death, possesses one, absolute and inviolable human right – the right to life.”

This is a great time for us to be here. The personhood issue is an element of a cultural war between Satan and Christ. We definitely know Who will win that war. Our privilege is to fight the fight, with primary reliance on prayer and trust in God, especially through Mary, the Mother of Life.

Thank you for what you are doing. 

May God bless you all."


Charles E. Rice, American Scholar,
Author, Professor of Notre Dame, Indiana

The late Charles E. Rice,  American Scholar & professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School, sent in an Endorsing Statement for the  PENY Conference, “…and so man became a living being.”, scheduled for October 25, 2014. 

Bishop Kagan: Diocese of Bismarck has sent an Endorsing Statement for the PENY Conference scheduled for October 25, 2014 “…and so Man became a living being.”

"​June 8th, 2014

Personhood Conference Statement  

It is a distinct honor for me to be able to offer a brief word of affirmation and encouragement to all in attendance. Your presence and, more importantly, your daily lives of living the objective truth of who you are as beloved children of God, gives invaluable witness to the inherent dignity of every person in every stage and moment of the one’s earthly life.

In October, 2013, I wrote a pastoral letter to the Catholic faithful of the Diocese of Bismarck offering them a further teaching on the intrinsic and inviolable worth and dignity of each person from the first moment of conception to the last moment of earthly life ending in natural death. I based my letter on two of the greatest papal documents of the last century: Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae. A fresh reading, discussion and application of them are, in my opinion, necessary in order to combat the “culture of death”.

The Catholic Church’s constant and authoritative teaching of the objective truth about the person is clearly and explicitly presented and applied to our times by Pope Paul VI and Saint John Paul II. In the conclusion to my pastoral letter and using these two documents and many others I made three statements.

First, each person, from the first moment of conception to the last moment of life by natural death, possesses one, absolute and inviolable human right – the right to life. Second, no person or group has any individual or inherent right to destroy or to mutilate innocent human life but has the binding duty to protect and defend innocent human life in all of its stages of development. Third, no individual person, no group of persons or any political and social agency or government may change or re-define the person, the person’s human dignity, and the person’s singular status within creation.

While this may sound radical or “extreme” to the secular progressive age in which we live, it is not. It is simply the objective truth about the person. I will conclude my remarks in the way I concluded my pastoral letter by citing a part of a sermon preached by Pope Benedict XVI in April, 2005. May the good God bless and keep each of you in His eternal love and strengthen you in your faith, hope and charity!

“The purpose of our lives is to reveal God to men . . . only when we meet the living God in Christ to we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.”

The Most Reverend David D. Kagan Bishop of Bismarck"

The Most Reverend David Dennis Kagan, D.D., P.A., J.C.L. Bishop of Bismarck, Nov. 30, 2011 – present

​Endorsements