USCCB Pro-Life Activities. Belehrende Handlungsaufforderung. GrundsÃ¤tzlich handelt es sich bei der Instruktion um die handlungsbezogene Kommunikation. D. Donum vitae (Instruktion) · Donum vitae (Verein). E. Eidgenössische Volksinitiative «für Straflosigkeit der Schwangerschaftsunterbrechung» · EMILY’s List. Presentazione: Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, “Donum vitae”: “ Glaube—eine Antwort auf die Urfrage des Menschen: Die Instruktion über die.
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The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been approached by various Episcopal Conferences or individual Bishops, by theologians, doctors and scientists, concerning biomedical techniques which make it possible to intervene in the initial phase of the life of a human being and in the very processes of procreation and their conformity with the principles of Catholic morality.
The present Instruction, which is the result of wide consultation and in particular of a careful evaluation of the declarations made by Episcopates, does not intend to repeat all the Church’s teaching on the dignity of human life as it originates and on procreation, but to offer, in the light of the previous teaching of the Magisterium, some specific replies to the main questions being asked in this regard.
The exposition is arranged as follows: The present Instruction makes free use of these terms, attributing to them an identical ethical relevance, in sonum to designate the result whether visible or not of human generation, from the first moment of its existence until birth. The reason for this usage is clarified by the text cf I, 1.
The gift of life which God the Creator and Father has entrusted to man calls him to appreciate the inestimable value of what he has been given and to take responsibility for it: Thanks to the progress of the biological and medical sciences, man has at his disposal ever more effective therapeutic resources; but he can also acquire new powers, with unforeseeable consequences, over instrujtion life at its very beginning and in its first stages.
Various procedures now make it possible to intervene not only in order to assist but also to dominate the processes of procreation. These techniques can enable man to “take in hand his own destiny”, but they also expose him “to the temptation to go beyond the limits of a reasonable dominion over nature”. Many people are therefore expressing an urgent appeal that in interventions on procreation the values and rights of the human person be safeguarded. Requests for clarification and guidance are coming not only inxtruktion the faithful but also from those who recognize the Church as “an expert in humanity ” 2 with a mission to serve the “civilization of love” 3 and of life.
The Church’s Magisterium does not intervene on the basis of a particular competence in insrruktion area of the experimental sciences; but having taken account of the data of research and technology, it intends to put forward, by virtue of its evangelical mission and apostolic duty, the moral teaching corresponding to the dignity of the person and to his or her integral vocation.
It intends to do so instruktlon expounding the criteria of moral judgment as regards the applications of scientific research and technology, especially in relation to human life and its beginnings.
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These criteria are the respect, defence and promotion of man, his “primary and fundamental right” to life, 4 his dignity as a person who is endowed with a spiritual soul and with moral responsibility 5 and who is called to beatific communion with God.
The Church’s intervention in this field is inspired also by the Love which she owes to man, helping him to recognize and respect his bitae and duties. This love draws from the fount of Christ’s love: Thus the Church once more puts forward the divine law in order to instriktion the work of truth and liberation.
For it is out of goodness – in order to indicate the path of life – that Vtae gives human beings his commandments and the grace to observe them: Christ has compassion on our weaknesses: May his spirit open dknum hearts to the gift of God’s peace and to an understanding of his precepts. God created man in his own image and likeness: Basic scientific research and applied research constitute a significant expression of this dominion of man over creation.
Science and technology are valuable resources for man when placed at his service and when they promote his integral development for the benefit of all; but they cannot of themselves show the meaning of existence and of human progress. Being ordered to man, who initiates and develops them, they draw from the person and his moral values the indication of their purpose and the awareness of their limits.
It would on the one hand be illusory to claim that scientific research and its applications are morally neutral; on the other hand one cannot derive criteria for guidance from mere technical efficiency, from research’s possible usefulness to some at the iinstruktion of others, or, worse still, from prevailing ideologies. Thus science and technology require, for their own intrinsic meaning, an unconditional respect for the fundamental criteria of the moral law: For the future of donym world stands in peril unless wiser vitaae are forthcoming”.
Which moral criteria must be applied in order to clarify the problems posed today in the field of biomedicine? The answer to this question presupposes a proper idea of the nature of the human person in his bodily dimension. For it is only in keeping with his true nature that the human person can achieve self-realization as a “unified totality”: By virtue of its substantial union with a spiritual soul, the human body cannot be considered as a mere complex of tissues, organs and functions, nor can it be evaluated in the same way as the body of animals; rather it is a constitutive part of the person who manifests and expresses himself through it.
The natural moral law expresses and lays down the purposes, rights and duties which are based upon the bodily and spiritual nature of the human person. Therefore this law cannot be thought of as simply a set of norms on the biological level; rather instruktikn must be defined as the rational order whereby man is called by the Creator to direct and regulate his life and actions and intsruktion particular to make instfuktion of his own body.
It involves, therefore, perhaps in an implicit but nonetheless real way, a moral significance and responsibility. Thus, in the body and through the body, one touches the person himself in his concrete reality. To respect the dignity of man consequently amounts to safeguarding this identity of the man ‘corpore et anima unus’, as the Second Vatican Council says Gaudium et Spes14, par.
It is on the basis of this anthropological vision that one is to find the fundamental criteria for decision-making in the case of procedures which are not strictly therapeutic, as, for example, those aimed at the improvement of the human biological condition”. Applied biology and medicine work together for the integral good of human life when they come to the aid of a person stricken by illness and infirmity and when they respect his or her dignity as a creature of God.
No biologist or doctor can reasonably claim, by virtue of his scientific competence, to be able to decide on people’s origin and destiny. This norm must be applied in dpnum particular way in the field of sexuality and procreation, in which man viae woman actualize the fundamental values of love and life. God, who is love and life, has inscribed in man and woman the vocation to share in a special way in his mystery of personal communion and in his work as Creator and Father. Such values and meanings are of the personal order and determine from the moral point of view the meaning and limits of artificial interventions on procreation and on the origin of human life.
These interventions are not to be rejected vitwe the grounds that they are artificial. As such, they bear witness to the possibilities of the art of medicine. But they must be given a moral evaluation in reference to the dignity of the human person, who is called to realize his vocation from God to the gift of love and the gift of life. The fundamental values connected with the techniques of artificial human procreation are two: The moral judgment on such methods of artificial procreation must therefore be formulated in reference to these values.
Physical life, with which the course of human life in the world begins, certainly instruktiin not itself contain the whole of a person’s value, nor does it represent the supreme good of man who is called to eternal life. However it does instruktipn in a certain way the “fundamental ” value of life, precisely because upon this physical life all the other values of the person are based and developed. By comparison with the transmission of other forms of life in the universe, the transmission of human life has a special character of its own, which derives from the special nature jnstruktion the human person.
For this reason one cannot use donym and follow methods which could be instrution in the transmission of the life of plants and animals” Advances in technology have now made it possible to procreate apart from sexual relations through the meeting in vitro of the germ-cells previously taken from the man and the woman.
But what is technically possible is insruktion for that very reason morally admissible. Rational reflection on the fundamental values of life and of human procreation is therefore indispensable for formulating a moral evaluation of such technological interventions on a human being from the first stages of his development.
On its part, the Magisterium of the Church offers to human reason in this field too the light of Revelation: From the moment of conception, the life of every human being is vonum be respected in an absolute way because man is the only creature on earth that God has “wished for himself ” 16 and the spiritual soul of each man is “immediately created” by God; 17 his whole being bears the image of the Creator.
Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves “the creative action of Jnstruktion 18 and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. Careful reflection on this teaching of the Magisterium and on the evidence of reason, as vktae above, enables us to respond to the numerous moral problems posed by technical interventions upon the human being in the first phases of his life and upon the processes of his conception. The human being must be respected – as a person donjm from the very first instant of his existence.
The implementation of procedures of artificial fertilization has made possible various interventions upon embryos and human foetuses. The aims pursued are of various kinds: From all of this, serious problems arise.
Instruction on respect for human life
Can one speak of a right to experimentation upon human embryos for the purpose of scientific research? What norms or laws should be worked out with regard to this matter?
The response to these problems presupposes a detailed reflection on the nature and specific identity – the word “status” is used – of the human embryo itself. At the Second Vatican Council, the Church for her part presented once again to modern man her constant and certain doctrine according to which: This Congregation is aware of the current debates concerning the beginning of human life, concerning the individuality of the human being and concerning the identity of the human person.
The Congregation recalls the teachings found in the Declaration on Procured Abortion: It would never be made human if it were not human already. To this perpetual evidence It has demonstrated that, from the first instant, the programme is fixed as to what this living being will be: Right from fertilization is begun the adventure of a human life, and each of its great capacities requires time Certainly no experimental datum can be in itself sufficient to bring us to the recognition of a spiritual soul; nevertheless, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo provide a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of this first appearance of a human life: The Magisterium has not expressly committed itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature, but it constantly reaffirms the moral condemnation of any kind of procured abortion.
This teaching has not been changed and is unchangeable. Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due vtiae the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.
This doctrinal reminder provides the fundamental criterion for the solution of the various problems posed by the development of the biomedical sciences in this field: If prenatal diagnosis respects domum life and dounm of the embryo and the human foetus and is directed towards its safeguarding or healing as an individual, then the answer is affirmative. For prenatal diagnosis makes it possible to know insfruktion condition of the embryo and of the foetus when still in the mother’s womb.
It permits, or makes it possible to anticipate earlier and more effectively, certain therapeutic, medical or surgical procedures. Such diagnosis is permissible, with the consent of the parents after they have been adequately informed, if the methods employed safeguard the life and integrity of the embryo and the mother, without subjecting them to disproportionate risks.
Thus a woman would be committing a gravely illicit act if she were to request such a diagnosis with the deliberate intention of having an abortion should the results confirm the existence of a malformation or abnormality. The spouse or relatives or anyone else would similarly be acting in a manner contrary to the moral law if they were to counsel or impose such a diagnostic procedure on the expectant mother with the same intention of possibly proceeding to an abortion.
So too the specialist would be guilty of illicit collaboration if, in conducting the diagnosis and in communicating its results, he were deliberately to contribute to establishing or favouring a link between prenatal diagnosis and abortion.
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In instruktioon, any directive or programme of the civil and health authorities or vktae scientific organizations which in any way were to favour a link between prenatal diagnosis and abortion, or which were to go as far as directly to induce expectant mothers to submit to prenatal diagnosis planned for the purpose of eliminating foetuses which are affected by malformations or which are carriers of hereditary illness, is to be condemned as a violation of the unborn instrhktion right to life and as an abuse of the prior rights and duties of the spouses.
As with all medical interventions on patients, one must uphold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity instrkktion the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it but are directed towards its healing, the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival. Whatever the type of medical, surgical or other therapy, the free and informed consent of the parents is required, according to the deontological rules followed in the case vitwe children.
The application of this moral principle may call for delicate and particular precautions in the case of embryonic or foetal life. Such an intervention would indeed fall within the logic of the Christian instruktkon tradition” Medical research must refrain from operations on live embryos, unless there is a moral certainty of not causing harm to the life or integrity of the unborn child and the mother, and on condition that the parents have givers their free and instruotion formed consent to the procedure.
It follows that all research, even when limited to the simple observation of the embryo, would become illicit were it to involve risk to the embryo’s physical integrity or life by reason of the methods used ihstruktion the effects induced. As regards experimentation, and presupposing the general distinction between experi;’nentation for purposes which are not directly therapeutic and experimentation which is clearly therapeutic for the subject himself, in the case in point one must also distinguish between experimentation carried out on embryos which are still alive and experimentation carried out on embryos which are dead.
If the embryos are living, whether viable or not, they must be respected just like any other human person; experimentation on embryos which is not directly therapeutic is illicit. The informed consent ordinarily required for clinical experimentation on adults cannot be granted by the parents, who may not freely dispose of the physical integrity or life of the unborn child.
Moreover, experimentation on embryos and foetuses always involves risk, and indeed in most cases it involves the certain expectation of harm to their physical integrity or even their death. To use dohum embryos or foetuses instrukiton the object or instrument of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings having a right to the same respect that is due to the child already born and to every human person.
In the case of experimentation that is clearly therapeutic, namely, when it is a matter of experimental forms of therapy used for the benefit of the embryo itself in a final attempt to save its life, and in the absence of other reliable forms of therapy, recourse to drugs or procedures not yet fully tested sonum be licit The corpses of human embryos and foetuses, whether they have been deliberately aborted or not, must be respected just as the remains of other human beings.