“The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from the same moment his or her rights as a person must be recognised, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”
— Dignitas Personae
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The Instruction Dignitas Personae on Certain Bioethical Questions was released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in December 2008. This new Vatican document about in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and embryo experimentation is an update of a document written twenty years ago, Donum Vitae (1987), and seeks to address the questions raised by recent developments in biomedical research.
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This is a document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The CDF exists to support the Pope in providing clear teaching on Church doctrine. The Pope has explicitly approved the document and therefore it shares his ordinary teaching authority. This kind of instruction does not have quite the same status as a Papal encyclical or a Church council, but it carries great weight. It is possible to criticise the way in which the CDF might express itself, or the wisdom of speaking on a particular issue at a particular time, but very strong reason is needed to dissent from the teaching itself. Dignitas Personae gives the most up-to-date official Catholic view on bioethical questions.
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Regardless of whether one is “Catholic” or not, Saint or Sinner, “believer” or atheist, it is hard not to consider the opinions of learned religious leaders.
As pro-life or pro-choice, it’s easy to forget that we are dealing with the essence of our humanity. To forget that is to risk sliding down the road to eugenics and breeding men like cattle.
There are various opinions about when “rights” imbue to men. When they can fight for them. When they can take them. When they can survive on their own. When they are born. When they are conceived.
“All men are created equal. And, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these … “
Seems to answer the “when” question.
So to, this “instruction” seems to answer “what’s a person” question.
While everyone debates, one thing that is per se obvious, this issue is badly served by putting the government in charge. On its BEST day, it can’t handle easy problems. Giving it complex social and personal issue isn’t fair. It’s not designed to handle these. It can’t handle them without “breakage”. Leave it to the people directly involved in. Support them with laws that make it their free choice. Government’s sole role is to protect the people. Even the one’s that are “unpopular”.
My greatest fear is that we will kill “the Golden Child”. In Will Crowther’s Colossal Cave Adventure game, if you killed the bird in Cave #7, you never could proceed past the snake in Cave #11. (Although it was funny to see smart engineers trying “stuff” when it was impossible to proceed.) What if the potential person that’s killed is the next Salk who will cure cancer, the next Hawkings who will explain the Universe, or the next Mother Teresa who will comfort untold number of sufferers?
“The cemetery of the victims of human cruelty in our century is extended to include yet another vast cemetery, that of the unborn.” Pope John Paul II
The Holocaust pales in comparison to the self-inflicted genocide of abortion.
We are fools, messing with what we don’t understand at our own peril.
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