Organ Donation Seen As Act of Charity

Benedict XVI Warns Against "Logic of the Market"

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 7, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The donation of one's organs is a free act of charity, and should not be submitted to the "logic of the market," says Benedict XVI.



Upon receiving in audience today participants in the international congress "A Gift for Life. Considerations on Organ Donation," the Pope denounced the buying and selling of organs as he praised the act of freely and gratuitously donating parts of one's own body.

The congress, under way in Rome through Saturday, is sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Life, the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, and the Italian National Transplant Center.

"Organ donation is a unique testimony of charity," the Holy Father began.

He continued: "There exists, in fact, a responsibility of love and charity that commits oneself to make one's own life a gift for others, if one truly seeks one's own fulfillment.

"As Lord Jesus taught us, only by given one's life, can you save it."

"The act of love, which is expressed with the gift of one's own vital organs, is a genuine testament of charity that knows how to look beyond death so that life always wins," Benedict XVI affirmed.

"The recipient should be aware of the value of this gesture that one receives, of a gift that goes beyond the therapeutic benefit," he added. "What they receive is a testament of love, and it should give rise to a response equally generous, and in this way grows the culture of gift and gratitude."

Not for sale

The Pontiff said as the "body can never be considered as a mere object," so the "logic of the market" cannot be applied to organ donation.

He explained: "Any reasons for the buying and selling of organs, or the adoption of utilitarian and discriminatory criteria, would clash in such a way with the meaning of gift that they would be invalidated, qualifying them as illicit moral acts.

"Abuses in transplants and organ trafficking, which frequently affect innocent persons, such as children, must find the scientific and medical community united in a joint refusal. They should be decidedly condemned as abominable."

The Pope applied the same principle to the creation and destruction of human embryos: "The very idea of considering the embryo as 'therapeutic material' contradicts the cultural, civil and ethical foundations on which the dignity of the person rests."

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-24191?l=english