Weakest Humans Get Another Defender, Says Aide

Bioethics Document About Dignity, Not Prohibitions

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The document on bioethics released today is not a list of "thou-shalt-nots," says a Vatican spokesman, but rather a defense of the human person.



Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, affirmed this in speaking about "Dignitas Personae," released today by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

"If it is read in a superficial way, it might give the impression of being a collection of prohibitions, but it is not so," he said. Instead, from its very title, it starts "with the fundamental affirmation of the 'dignity of the human person,' and continues with a whole series of positive affirmations on the dignity of marriage and of the personal union of spouses to give origin to life, on the positive results of science to overcome the pathologies of infertility, on research and therapeutic use of adult stem cells, etc."

Father Lombardi called the document a "powerful ray of light and a source of confidence" in a world "full of grave and well-founded concerns about the risks of manipulation of human life, thanks to the new possibilities offered by the biological and medical sciences."

He lauded the instruction's "clear and comprehensible approach" and its "affirmation of few essential principles."

This, the spokesman said, offers "sure ethical discernment on a whole series of complex situations, much discussed today not only at the scientific level, but also in public opinion and common life."

2 basic ideas

Father Lombardi said the two basic principles in the instruction are respect for the human being from the moment of conception, and respect for the transmission of life within the spousal union.

He said the Church is courageous and determined in affirming these core ideas.

"It is a position in favor of small and weak human beings, who have no voice and who today, in fact, cannot count on many who speak in their favor," noted the Vatican spokesman.

Nevertheless, Father Lombardi clarified, the instruction "in no way is a 'stop' to the commitment of science in favor of life, but is, rather, a series of indications so that science will be truly at the service of life and not of death or of the arbitrary and dangerous manipulation of human persons."

"It is," he concluded, "a courageous, passionate and convinced contribution to a noble cause."

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-24556?l=english

Synthesis: www.zenit.org/article-24541?l=english