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Vatican Calls On Science To Protect Human Dignity

That?s the message of Dignitas Personae, a new document on biomedical research ethics published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.It?s an update of Donum Vitae, the congregation?s document on the same subject published in 1987. The Vatican says this document is still relevant, but needed to be revised because of new developments in the field of science during the last 21 years. Mons. Luis Francisco Ladaria FerrerSecretary, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith On the one hand, new technologies open doors for new potential treatments that were previously unknown, such as infertility treatments and the use of adult stem cells. On the other hand, these raise serious questions of an anthropological and ethical nature. The document acts as a guideline for Catholics in and out of the field of science. It outlines the Vatican?s opposition to research using stem cells taken from living human embryos, the morning after pill, gene therapy intended to affect a patients offspring, embryo manipulation, freezing of human embryos or egg cells, and cloning.Mons. Rino FisichellaPresident, Pontifical Academy of LifeWhat this document intends to do is express its own authoritative contribution to the formation of the conscience of not only believers, but of so many who want to hear the arguments of the Church and face them.Theological and ethical controversies over scientific research are not going away anytime soon. But the goal of this document is to give doctrinal guidance to Catholic patients and scientists on what procedures the church does and does not approve of, based on ethical and moral criteria.Mons. Rino FisichellaPresident, Pontifical Academy of LifeArguments are not the product of faith. Arguments are the product of reason. I want to repeat that the document speaks more of ethics, especially when there are these arguments. Because ethics is correctly the expression of reason, which during its search of how to direct life, it does so under the light of reason.Dignitas Personae draws from a variety of sources, including its predecessor Donum Vitae, John Paul II?s 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, and the teachings of Benedict XVI. It makes note of his address on stem cell research to the Pontifical Academy of Life in 2006. The document, which was published with Benedict XVI?s approval, calls on Catholics to courageously oppose injustices against the dignity of human beings, including the unborn.