Archbishop Wuerl on New Vatican Document, Dignitas Personae

December 12, 2008

The Instruction released today by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Dignitas Personae: On Certain Bioethical Questions,” is a confirmation of the perennial Church teaching on the dignity and value of all human life. What is new is the application of these core principles to the complex technologies of today.

The guiding norm to be used in evaluating the morality of technology is whether it supports the dignity and intrinsic value of human life or whether it attacks that value. Given the complexity of technology today, especially in the area of reproduction, it is not surprising that many Catholics may have confusion about the morality of a particular technology. This document provides the context for us to strengthen our understanding in this area.

Technology can be a blessing yet, like all science, its use must include moral and ethical reflection for it to be truly at the service of human life. No medical, scientific or technological advances should take place divorced from human conscience and ethics, and a respect for the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. We are the stewards, not the masters of human life.

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Susan Gibbs
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