The document explains that in Church teaching, bioethics "moves on the rational plane," but it is also inspired by Divine Revelation, on which Christian anthropology is founded. "The life and goodness of creation are based on the original blessing of God: 'He saw what he had done, and behold, it was a very good thing' (Gen 1:31)."
The directory talks about genetic experimentation and the risk of it leading to eugenic practices, stating that "it is important to distinguish the difference carefully between therapeutic intervention and manipulation."
The correction of genetic abnormalities is lawful "as long as it promotes the good of the person without affecting his identity and integrity," it continues.
The directory also addresses the use of genetic engineering for self-definition and corporal self-manipulation in the area of sexual identity -- what it calls the "philosophy of so-called transhumanism," which allows individuals to determine his or her sexual identity apart from "genetic heritage."
Also describing the ideology of "gender identity," the document notes the belief which does not accept one's gender as an "original fact which man must accept and fill with meaning," considering it "a social construction that is decided independently, totally free from biological sex."
The new text echoes the 2019 document Male and Female He Created Them, issued by the Vatican Congregation for Education, which affirmed the principles of human dignity, difference, and complementarity.
In that document, the Congregation explained that gender ideology seeks "to create a cultural and ideological revolution driven by relativism."
The new catechetical directory states: "Man denies his nature and decides that he himself creates it. Instead, according to the biblical account of creation, man was created by God as male and female."
It goes on to explain that the Church is aware of the complexity frequently involved in personal situations related to gender, and does not judge people struggling with this issue but strives to accompany them.
"However, [the Church] is aware that, in a perspective of faith, sexuality is not only a physical fact, but a personal reality, a value entrusted to the responsibility of the person," the book says. "In this way, sexual identity and existential living will have to be a response to God's original call."
In his comments to journalists June 25, Fisichella said more detailed information about the Church's teaching on bioethical issues can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and bishops' conferences are also called to address these issues considering the particular circumstances in their countries.
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