Loading
Pope Benedict offers ethical evaluation of biomedical advances
Pope Benedict offers ethical evaluation of biomedical advances
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Today Pope Benedict XVI, through the work of several Vatican congregations, weighed-in on the ethical nature of various fertility treatments, experiments with stem cells, human cloning and the creation of hybrid embryos.

The new document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is the result of six years of study and deliberation on the most recent developments in the field of bio-technology.

Beginning with the words “the dignity of the person” or “Dignitas Personae,” the aim of the three-part instruction is to provide responses from the Church to new bioethical questions that didn’t exist when the Church released her last biomedical document in 1987. According to the CDF, the document seeks “both to contribute ‘to the formation of conscience’ and to encourage biomedical research respectful of the dignity of every human being and of procreation.”

Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, explained at a press conference at the Vatican today that “Dignitas Personae” carries the weight of an official teaching of the Pope and "is of a doctrinal nature."

Archbishop Ladaria described the document as encouraging “biomedical investigation that respects the dignity of all human beings and of procreation.” While it “does not exclude diverse biomedical technology as ethically illicit,” he said, "it will probably be accused of containing too many prohibitions.

“Nevertheless, faced with this possible accusation it is necessary to emphasize that the Church feels the duty of making those without voices heard."

Also speaking at the press conference was Professor Maria Luisa Di Pietro, associate professor of Bioethics at the Sacred Heart University, Rome and President of the "Science and Life" Association.

Di Pietro noted that the new instruction from the CDF deals with techniques like assisted fertility, in vitro fertilization, the freezing of embryos and eggs, embryo reduction, and pre-implant diagnosis, among others.

As noted by Archbishop Ladaria, the Vatican finds many of the practices in use today immoral. In vitro fertilization, for example, is found to be immoral because of the “blithe acceptance of the enormous number of abortions involved.” This fact alone “vividly illustrates how the replacement of the conjugal act by a technical procedure…leads to a weakening of the respect owed to every human being,” the document says.

Bishop Elio Sgreccia, the former president of the Pontifical Academy for Life addressed the third part of the document that deals with newly proposed therapies that involve the manipulation of the embryo or the human gene pool.

"The text holds that it is necessary," he said, "to keep in mind one fundamental distinction: theoretically, genetic therapy can be applied to somatic cells with directly therapeutic ends or to germinal cells." The current work on germinal cells is not moral because “there still does not exist a safe technique," he stressed, "because it could entail the risk of deformation in the hereditary genetic patrimony of future generations."

Bishop Sgreccia also affirmed that "the distinction between reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning is untenable.”

A summary of “Dignitas Personae” can be read by clicking here or by visiting: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/document.php?n=784

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 8:4-15

Gospel
Date
09/20/14
09/19/14
09/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Cor 15: 35-37, 42-49
Gospel:: Lk 8: 4-15

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
09/20/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 8:4-15

Homily
Date
09/20/14
09/19/14
09/18/14