Church Teachings and the "Delayed Personhood" Ruse


ROLE OF SCIENCE

** [Pontifical Academy for Life, Reflections on Cloning (Sept. 1997), at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdlife/documents/rc_pa_acdlife_doc_30091997_clon_en.html

... The most urgent need now seems to be that of re-establishing the harmony between the demands of scientific research and indispensable human values. The scientist cannot regard the moral rejection of human cloning as a humiliation; on the contrary, this prohibition eliminates the demiurgic degeneration of research by restoring its dignity. The dignity of scientific research consists in the fact that it is one of the richest resources for humanity's welfare. ... Moreover, there is a place for research, including cloning, in the vegetable and animal kingdoms, wherever it answers a need or provides a significant benefit for man or for other living beings, provided that the rules for protecting the animal itself and the obligation to respect the biodiversity of species are observed.

When scientific research in man's interest aims to cure diseases, to relieve suffering, to solve problems due to malnutrition, to make better use of the earth's resources, it represents a hope for humanity, entrusted to the talent and efforts of scientists. ... To enable biomedical science to maintain and strengthen its relationship with the true welfare of man and society, it is necessary to foster, as the Holy Father recalls in the Encyclical Evangelium vitae, a "contemplative outlook" on man himself and the world, with a vision of reality as God's creation and in a context of solidarity between science, the good of the person and of society. ... "It is the outlook of those who see life in its deeper meaning, who grasp its utter gratuitousness, its beauty and its invitation to freedom and responsibility. It is the outlook of those who do not presume to take possession of reality but instead accept it as a gift, discovering in all things the reflection of the Creator and seeing in every person his living image" (Evangelium vitae, n. 83).

ETHICAL RESEARCH/ MEANS USED MUST BE ETHICAL

** [Encyclical Letter: Evangelium vitae, (Mar. 1995), http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html

... The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end it itself or as a means to a good end. ... This moral condemnation also regards procedures that exploit living human embryos and fetuses -- sometimes specifically 'produced' for this purpose by in vitro fertilization -- either to be used as 'biological material' or as providers of organs or tissue for transplants in the treatment of certain diseases. The killing of innocent human creatures, even if carried out to help others, constitutes an absolutely unacceptable act.

... Biomedical research too, a field which promises great benefits for humanity, must always reject experimentation, research or applications which disregard the inviolable dignity of the human being, and thus cease to be at the service of people and become instead means which, under the guise of helping people, actually harm them.

** [Vatican's Mission to the United Nations, U. N. Speech by Archbishop Migliore, Holy See's Call for a Ban on All Human Cloning (Sept. 30, 2003), (Zenit)]

... When, in an effort to advance human science or to help human beings in need, one faces a choice between an unobjectionable means, such as "adult" stem cells, and a means that is universally recognized as raising profound ethical questions, such as "research" cloning, prudence dictates choosing only the unobjectionable means.

CORRECT FORMATION OF CONSCIENCE:

** [Encyclical Letter: Evangelium vitae, 4 (Mar. 1995), http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html

... The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.

** [Encyclical Letter: Evangelium vitae, 96 (Mar. 1995), http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html

... The first and fundamental step towards this cultural transformation consists in forming consciences with regard to the incomparable and inviolable worth of every human life. It is of the greatest importance to re-establish the essential connection between life and freedom. ... No less critical in the formation of conscience is the recovery of the necessary link between freedom and truth. As I have frequently state, when freedom is detached from objective truth it becomes impossible to establish personal rights on a firm rational basis; and the ground is laid for society to be at the mercy of the unrestrained will of individuals or the oppressive totalitarianism of public authority.... In particular, there is a need for education about the value of life from its very origins.

LAW:

** [CDF, Declaration on Procured Abortion, V.20 (Nov. 1974), http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19741118_declaration-abortion_en.html

... It is true that it is not the task of the law to choose between points of view or to impose one rather than another. But the life of the child takes precedence over all opinions. Once cannot invoke freedom of thought [INTENTION] to destroy this life.

** [Pontifical Academy for Life, Reflections on Cloning (Sept. 1997), at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdlife/documents/rc_pa_acdlife_doc_30091997_clon_en.html

... Halting the human cloning project is a moral duty which must also be translated into cultural, social and legislative terms. The progress of scientific research is not the same as the rise of scientistic despotism, which today seems to be replacing the old ideologies. In a democratic, pluralistic system, the first guarantee of each individual's freedom is established by unconditionally respecting human dignity at every phase of life, regardless of the intellectual or physical abilities one possesses or lacks. In human cloning the necessary condition for any society begins to collapse: that of treating man always and everywhere as an end, as a value, and never as a mere means or simple object.

... At the level of human rights, the possibility of human cloning represents a violation of the two fundamental principles on which all human rights are based: the principle of equality among human beings and the principle of non-discrimination. ... Contrary to what may appear at first sight, the principle of parity and equality among human beings is violated by this possible form of man's domination over man, and the discrimination comes about through the whole selective-eugenic dimension inherent in the logic of cloning.

** ["Pope Calls for Legal Recognition of Human Embryo", Vatican City, Feb. 3, 2002 (Zenit.org)]

John Paul II today called for the legal recognition of the human embryo as well as respect for the rights of every individual unable to defend himself.

... The Pontiff emphasized that "science has now demonstrated" that the embryo "is a human individual who possesses his own identity from conception. Therefore, it is logical to exact that this identity be legally recognized, above all in its fundamental right to life." ... "No one is master of life; no one has the right to manipulate, oppress or even take life, neither that of others or his own," ... To "recognize the value of life implies consistent measures from the legal point of view, especially the protection of human beings who are unable to defend themselves

** [Vatican's Mission to the United Nations, The Views of the Holy See on Human Cloning, February 2003, at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/doc/doc_11humancloning.html

... Since the founding of the United Nations, the centrality of the welfare and protection of all human beings to the work of this organization is beyond question. ... The Universal Declaration of Human Rights reiterates the sanctity of all human life and the compelling need to protect it from harm. In this regard, Article 3 of the Declaration asserts that everyone has the right to life. With life comes hope in the future — a hope that the Universal Declaration protects by acknowledging that all human beings are equal in dignity and rights. With the right to life comes liberty and security of the person. To ensure this, the Universal Declaration confirms that each human being is an entity who is guaranteed a future filled with the hope of self–determination. To further this end, conditions that degrade any human being with servile status and deny the fundamental rights to life and self–determination are reprehensible. ... Human Cloning Contravenes Basic Precepts of International Law. Various international instruments acknowledge that the dignity of the human person is at the center of international law. Regardless of the objective for which it was done, human cloning conflicts with the international legal norms that protect human dignity. First of all, international law guarantees the right to life to all, not just some, human beings. Facilitating the formation of human beings who are destined for destruction, the intentional destruction of cloned human beings once the particular research goal is reached, consigning any human being to an existence of either involuntary servitude or slavery, and being submitted to involuntary medical and biological experimentation on human beings are morally wrong and inadmissible. Human cloning also poses great threats to the rule of law by enabling those responsible for cloning to select and propagate certain human characteristics based on gender, race, etc. and eliminate others. This would be akin to the practice of eugenics leading to the institution of a "super race" and the inevitable discrimination against those born through the natural process. Human cloning also denies those subjects who come into being for research purposes international rights to due process and equal protection of the law.

ABUSE OF POWER:

** [Pontifical Academy for Life, Reflections on Cloning (Sept. 1997), at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdlife/documents/rc_pa_acdlife_doc_30091997_clon_en.html

... Despite this impossibility of involving the spirit, which is the source of personality, the thought of human cloning has already led to the imagining of hypothetical cases inspired by the desire for omnipotence: duplicating individuals endowed with exceptional talent and beauty; reproducing the image of departed loved ones; selecting healthy individuals immune from genetic diseases; the possibility of choosing a person's sex; producing selected frozen embryos to be transferred in utero at a later time to provide spare organs, etc.

** [Pontifical Academy For Life, Notes on Cloning (Sept. 1998), at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdlife/documents/rc_pa_acdlife_doc_28091998_cloning-notes_en.html

... The illicitness of cloning is derived from the relationship of domination over the corporeity of the cloned subject, from the absence of a personal act of procreative love since it involves asexual, agamic reproduction and, in short, from the offence to the Creator's design.

** [[Vatican's Mission to the United Nations, The Views of the Holy See on Human Cloning, February 2003, at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/doc/doc_11humancloning.html

... we also, as fellow human beings, are called to further the common good for the present and future generations across the globe. We do this to protect all who share and participate in the human condition. However, if some human beings are destined to serve interests that do not take account of these fundamental principles of human nature that are at the center of the UN's concern, they are reduced to a servile status that denies them the fundamental claim to life and self–determination guaranteed to all. To clone a human being — regardless of the goal — is to deny this person's basic ontological claim that unites him or her to the rest of the human family. This human being has no hope in a self–determining future because his or her individuality will be destroyed to further some research purpose or to enhance the narcissism of a person who has already existed. In either case, the cloned human being is reduced to enslavement that contravenes the fundamental nature of human existence — to be free and to live as a unique individual capable of contributing to the development of the self and society.

ROLE OF THE MEDIA:

** [Archbishop John P. Foley, President, Pontifical Council for Social Communications, "Ethics in Communications", Vatican City, June 4, 2000, World Communications Day, Jubilee of Journalists, at: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/pccs/documents/rc_pc_pccs_doc_20000530_ethics-communications_en.html

... Jesus taught that communication is a moral act: "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render an account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Mt 12:34-37). He cautioned sternly against scandalizing the "little ones", and warned that for one who did, "it would be better... if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea" (Mk 9:42; cf. Mt 18:6, Lk 17:2). He was altogether candid, a man of whom it could be said that "no guile was found on his lips"; and further: "When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly" (1 Pt 2:22-23). He insisted on candor and truthfulness in others, while condemning hypocrisy, dishonesty—any kind of communication that was bent and perverse: "Let what you say be simply ‘Yes' or ‘No'; anything more than this comes from evil" (Mt 5:37).

33. Jesus is the model and the standard of our communicating. For those involved in social communication, whether as policy makers or professional communicators or recipients or in any other role, the conclusion is clear: "Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another... Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear" (Eph 4:25,29). Serving the human person, building up human community grounded in solidarity and justice and love, and speaking the truth about human life and its final fulfillment in God were, are, and will remain at the heart of ethics in the media.

** [Archbishop Foley, "Address on Media and Bioethics: Political Correctness Producing Blind Spots, He Warns", presented at conference, "Power in Health Care Research and the Mass Media", Vatican City, Nov. 18, 2001 (Zenit.org)]

... After the tragedies of the mid-twentieth century in which people were condemned for war crimes for their experimentation on human subjects, and the mass media rightly reflected the outrage in public opinion regarding such atrocities, it would seem that there should exist a wellspring of sympathy for those who seek to preserve and protect the dignity of human life. Such, however, is not always the case. While remarkable technical advances have been made in all manner of biological and genetic research, such advances have not always been paralleled by an unconditional respect for the sanctity of human life at all stages of development from conception through natural death. In fact, it would seem that the media have sometimes been conditioned to view criticism of certain types of research and experimentation not as a laudable defense of human rights but as obscurantist opposition to scientific progress. ... Stem cell research, the use of embryonic, umbilical, or adult spinal cells for the possible treatment of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, has elicited great interest. Many scientists consider that the optimal way to obtain such cells is to destroy embryos conceived through "in vitro" fertilization. You would think that the media might, in their coverage, consider: ... whence do such embryos come; ... what are such embryos; ... can they legitimately be destroyed, even for the apparent good of another? The answer to the first question is that such embryos come from the union of a female egg and a male sperm outside of the normal method of such union through sexual, especially marital, intercourse. Does it ever occur to the media to ask: is this right? Are we morally entitled to do everything that we physically can do? What are the consequences of such actions for society, for marriage, for human love? The answer to the second question is that, if the embryo is the result of the union of a human female egg and a human male sperm, then the result is an embryonic human person. If this is true, is not the direct destruction of such an entity for the use of its component parts tantamount to an act of murder, of infanticide and of consequent body snatching or plundering of body parts? The answer to the third question is included in the answer to the second. The direct taking of innocent human life is always and everywhere wrong from the first moment of conception until the moment of natural death. If the foregoing principle is not true, then what are the consequences for society? Who is safe? At what age? Under what circumstances? Instead of asking these very questions, the media often portray those who raise such questions as fanatics eager to condemn those who suffer from terrible diseases to lives without relief. The media seldom ask the question of why frozen embryos exist in the first place -- and, because they seldom ask it, they see no difficulty in deliberately producing new embryos so that further scientific research might proceed. Thus, from a policy of using cast-off living human beings for scientific research, they are willing to tolerate and even support a policy of deliberately producing living human beings to supply laboratory needs. George Orwell wrote a book entitled "1984"; that was nothing in contrast to 2001 ... we have come to a media situation in which there is no recognition of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the weak in the womb or near the tomb. We are witnessing the canonization of a Darwinian survival of the fittest through the destruction of the defenseless, and the media -- which should be the "whistle blowers" in society, to warn us about the dangers ahead -- have instead become accomplices in the silent slaughter of the youngest, of the weakest and of the oldest in our society. ... I mention this example because contraceptives pills and devices are often represented by donor nations as health care assistance, and the combined economic power of donor nations and the media power of "political correctness" put tremendous pressure on the governments of recipient nations to make moral concessions for economic gains. ... In media coverage of medical treatment, however, it is most important to remember the power of advertising. How can we expect critical coverage of new medicines or new treatments or even of government distribution at home and abroad of contraceptive pills and devices when pharmaceutical companies spend so much on advertising in media which are now struggling to survive in the face of a worldwide economic recession? ... When moral objections are brought against certain medicines or treatments, however, it is interesting to note that moral objections do not bring income to publications or networks; the new medicines and treatments often do bring such income. Moral objections can be considered by both pharmaceutical and publishing executives as petty annoyances not worthy of consideration, especially not in light of the vast profits to be made with new drugs and the advertising and promotional expenditures connected with them. ... The most important power in health care is not governmental power or media power or even medical power; it is the power of God and the moral power which comes from seeking to do His will ... The media coverage of those motivated by this moral power can do much to stimulate others to give that human, compassionate care so needed by those who ought to be not objects of scientific and medical experimentation but subjects worthy of our love and concern ...

EUGENICS:

** [Pontifical Academy for Life, Reflections on Cloning (Sept. 1997), at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdlife/documents/rc_pa_acdlife_doc_30091997_clon_en.html

... Human cloning belongs to the eugenics project and is thus subject to all the ethical and juridical observations that have amply condemned it. As Hans Jonas has already written, it is "both in method the most despotic and in aim the most slavish form of genetic manipulation; its objective is not an arbitrary modification of the hereditary material but precisely its equally arbitrary fixation in contrast to the dominant strategy of nature" (cf. Hans Jonas, Cloniamo un uomo: dall'eugenetica all'ingegneria genetica, in Tecnica, medicina ed etica, Einaudi, Turin 1997, pp. 122-54, p. 136). ... It represents a radical manipulation of the constitutive relationality and complementarity which is at the origin of human procreation in both its biological and strictly personal aspects. It tends to make bisexuality a purely functional left-over, given that an ovum must be used without its nucleus in order to make room for the clone-embryo and requires, for now, a female womb so that its development may be brought to term. This is how all the experimental procedures in zootechny are being conducted, thus changing the specific meaning of human reproduction. ... As in every artificial activity, what occurs in nature is "mimicked" and "imitated", but only at the price of ignoring how man surpasses his biological component, which moreover is reduced to those forms of reproduction that have characterized only the biologically simplest and least evolved organisms.

The idea is fostered that some individuals can have total dominion over the existence of others, to the point of programming their biological identity—selected according to arbitrary or purely utilitarian criteria — which, although not exhausting man's personal identity, which is characterized by the spirit, is a constitutive part of it. This selective concept of man will have, among other things, a heavy cultural fallout beyond the—numerically limited—practice of cloning, since there will be a growing conviction that the value of man and woman does not depend on their personal identity but only on those biological qualities that can be appraised and therefore selected. ... The proclamation of the "death of God", in the vain hope of a "superman", produces an unmistakable result: the "death of man". It cannot be forgotten that the denial of man's creaturely status, far from exalting human freedom, in fact creates new forms of slavery, discrimination and profound suffering. Cloning risks being the tragic parody of God's omnipotence. Man, to whom God has entrusted the created world, giving him freedom and intelligence, finds no limits to his action dictated solely by practical impossibility: he himself must learn how to set these limits by discerning good and evil. Once again man is asked to choose: it is his responsibility to decide whether to transform technology into a tool of liberation or to become its slave by introducing new forms of violence and suffering. ... Contrary to what may appear at first sight, the principle of parity and equality among human beings is violated by this possible form of man's domination over man, and the discrimination comes about through the whole selective-eugenic dimension inherent in the logic of cloning.

** ["Ethics-Free Genetics Is a Threat to Manęs Dignity, Pope Warns: Message to French Catholicsę Social Week, delivered to the conference, "Biology, Medicine and Society: What Will We Do with Man?", Vatican City, Nov. 26, 2001, at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/2001/november/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20011123_semaines-sociales-france_en.html

... Concerned by the onslaught of human embryo research, John Paul II warns that "today man's dignity is threatened."

"A new temptation arises today: to arrogate to oneself the right to fix, to determine the threshold of humanity of an individual life," ... The Pontiff said that, when science "experiments" with human embryos or when it "produces" them for cloning, it is managing the destiny of human persons. "From the time the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth," the Pope stressed. "It would never be made human if it were not human already." ... "This exacts absolute respect for the human being, from his embryonic phase until the end of his life," John Paul II said.

This is a "being who cannot be considered as an object or material for experimentation. Likewise, it is necessary to treat human germinal cells with respect, in virtue of the human patrimony which they bear," the Holy Father continued. ... A clear example of this threat, the Pope explained, is the practice, common in numerous countries, "of discarding persons with congenital handicaps, which leads to a prognosis for pre-implantation and an abusive development of the prenatal diagnosis."

This is "genuine eugenics that leads to a sort of anaesthesia of consciences, gravely wounding, in addition, persons with congenital handicaps and those who accept them," he said.

The Holy Father added: "Development of the prenatal diagnosis with selective objectives, the prognosis of pre-implantation, as well as the use, production and destruction of human embryos with the simple objective of experimentation and acquisition of stem cells constitutes grave assaults against the absolute respect for every life and against the grandeur of every human being, which does not depend on his external aspect or the ties he has with other members of society." ... "Public authority has the duty to act in such a way that the civil law is regulated according to the fundamental norms of the moral law in everything that concerns the rights of man, of human life, and the family institution," he said. ... "The future of man and of humanity in part is linked to his capacity to rigorously examine the different bioethical questions at the ethical level, without being afraid to challenge patterns of behavior that have become commonplace," John Paul II said. ... "If research is carried out in a really scientific manner, following norms of morality, it will never be in conflict with faith."

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