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Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation Donum Vitae Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith February 22,

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Presentation on theme: "Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation Donum Vitae Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith February 22,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation Donum Vitae Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith February 22, 1987 Quotations of the document are from:

2 Forward Outline of the Document:Outline of the Document: -Introduction – Fundamental principles of an anthropological and moral nature. -First Part – Respect for the person from the first moment of existence. -Second Part – Moral questions raised by technical intervention on procreation. -Third Part – Considerations regarding the relationships between the moral and civil law.

3 Forward -Not an exhaustive treatment of the Church’s teaching on the dignity of human life. -Offers specific replies to certain questions regarding the dignity of human life at its origin and on procreation.

4 Terms The terms “zygote,” “pre-embryo,” “embryo,” and “fetus” can indicate in the area of biology, the successive stages of human development.The terms “zygote,” “pre-embryo,” “embryo,” and “fetus” can indicate in the area of biology, the successive stages of human development. -The Instruction uses them. -The Church attributes identical ethical relevance to these terms. -From the first moment of existence the human being has an inherent dignity that demands respect.

5 Introduction 1.Biomedical Research and the Teaching of the Church. Life is a gift entrusted to man by God.Life is a gift entrusted to man by God. -Appreciate its value and take responsibility for it. -Fundamental principle is central to moral problems at the beginning of life.

6 Introduction Medical interventions/procedures can be therapeutic and assist the process of procreation or they can dominate it.Medical interventions/procedures can be therapeutic and assist the process of procreation or they can dominate it. -Therapeutic means that aid the natural processes of the body, e.g., combating disease, removing obstacles etc… -Domination of the process – absolute autonomy. - man can be tempted to acknowledge no limits.

7 Introduction The Church claims no particular expertise in the experimental sciences.The Church claims no particular expertise in the experimental sciences. -Her intervention is based on a comparison between its moral teaching involving the dignity of the person and the data that scientific research and technology provides.

8 Moral Grounding 1.Respect, defense, promotion of man. 2.Primary and fundamental right to life. 3.Dignity of the human person with a spiritual soul and moral responsibility who is called to a beatific communion with God. The Church teaches out of love for man – help to see correct vision of the human person which leads to liberation.The Church teaches out of love for man – help to see correct vision of the human person which leads to liberation.

9 Science to Serve Man 2.Science and Technology at the Service of the Human Person. Science and technology, while valuable when placed at the service of man, of themselves do not encompass the meaning of human existence or of human progress. -How does this statement correlate to Barak Obama’s decision to “restore science to its proper place”?

10 Science to Serve Man Science and technology are ordered to man, not man to science and technology. Science and technology must serve the true good of man; man’s purpose is not to serve the advance of science. Science and technology draw from man and his moral values the indication of their purpose and awareness of their limits.

11 Science to Serve Man Scientific research and its applications are never morally neutral. The efficiency of scientific applications, its possible usefulness or prevailing ideologies are not true moral guides.Scientific research and its applications are never morally neutral. The efficiency of scientific applications, its possible usefulness or prevailing ideologies are not true moral guides. -Just because a medical intervention or body of research can be done, or may be effective, or the current social climate accepts it, does not mean that it is a moral action.

12 Science to Serve Man To be morally acceptable, science and technology must respect the fundamental moral law, be at the service of the human person, his inalienable rights and his true good that follows God’s design for him.

13 Science to Serve Man The rapid development of science and technology means that in an even more urgent way, it should respect and abide by the moral law.The rapid development of science and technology means that in an even more urgent way, it should respect and abide by the moral law. -Science without conscience can only lead to man’s ruin.

14 Christian Anthropology 3.Anthropology and Procedures in the Bio- medical Field. Requirement of a correct understanding of the nature of the human person: -Man is a composite creature: BODY AND SOUL.

15 Christian Anthropology Body’s substantial union with the soul: The human body cannot be reduced to a mere complex of tissues, organs and functions. Nor can it be considered in the same manner as the body of animals. The body is a constitutive part of the person who manifests and expresses him/herself through it.

16 Christian Anthropology The natural moral law written in the human heart by God expresses man’s purpose, his rights and duties etc… based upon his nature as a body/soul creature.

17 Christian Anthropology It is in and through the body that the person is touched in his/her concrete reality – what is done to the body is done to the person.It is in and through the body that the person is touched in his/her concrete reality – what is done to the body is done to the person. -Counters philosophies and ideologies that consider the spiritual aspect to comprise the person, while the body is simply believed to be a shell (disembodiment).

18 Christian Antropology God has inscribed in man and woman the vocation to share in His mystery of personal communion and His work as Creator and Father.God has inscribed in man and woman the vocation to share in His mystery of personal communion and His work as Creator and Father. Natural and supernatural dimension of man. Unitive and Procreative dimensions of marriage.

19 Christian Antropology Certain artificial interventions on procreation are not rejected simply because they are artificial, but because in one way or another they adversely affect the dignity of the human person, his fundamental goods and his vocation to love and life.Certain artificial interventions on procreation are not rejected simply because they are artificial, but because in one way or another they adversely affect the dignity of the human person, his fundamental goods and his vocation to love and life. -Persons treated as machines, e.g., man as sperm donor, woman as a functioning uterus, or embryo as optimally functioning cell(s) or not. -Denial of God’s gift; rather a sense of entitlement. -Absolute autonomy.

20 Moral Criteria 4.Fundamental Criteria for Moral Judgment. Two fundamental values are at stake where artificial techniques for procreation are concerned: 1)The life of the human being called into existence. 2)The special nature of the transmission of human life in marriage.

21 Moral Criteria Regarding the first fundamental value:Regarding the first fundamental value: While physical life does not contain the whole of a person’s value nor his/her supreme good, it does constitute the fundamental value of life because all other values of a person are based and developed upon it. The inviolability of innocent human life is a recognition of and a respect for the inviolability of the person who was given life by God.

22 Moral Criteria Regarding the second fundamental value:Regarding the second fundamental value: The transmission of human life is special – no other creature is made in God’s image and likeness with a supernatural destiny. Human procreation is a personal and conscious act in which spouses cooperate with God, as such it is subject to the laws that God has set down for it.

23 Magisterial Teaching 5.Teachings of the Magisterium. -The Magisterium offers to reason the help of the light of Revelation. -God alone is the Lord of life from beginning to end, from conception to natural death. -Man’s dominion over his life is not absolute. -Man must respect his life and the lives of others absolutely (image and likeness). -No circumstances suffice to take innocent human life.

24 Magisterial Teaching Husbands and wives are to responsibly collaborate in the fruitful love of God.

25 Human Embryos 1.What Respect is Due to the Human Embryo, Taking into Account His Nature and Identity? Human being must be respected as a PERSON from the first moment of his existence. Possibilities that arise from artificial fertilization and interventions upon embryos and human fetuses: -Diagnostic. -Therapeutic. -Scientific. -Commercial.

26 Human Embryos Serious moral problems arise when one considers the possibilities open to human beings through modern medical science. -A morally correct answer to the questions raised by modern medical technology depends on the “status” of the human embryo itself.

27 Human Embryos Declaration on Procured Abortion (1974, #12- 13): “From the time the ovum is fertilized, a new life is begun.” The zygote (cell formed when the nuclei of the two gametes have fused) is a new human individual with a unique biological identity. -Modern science confirms this fact.

28 Human Embryos No experimental datum can measure the presence of the soul, how could a human individual not be a person?

29 Pre-Natal Diagnosis 2.Is Prenatal Diagnosis Morally Licit? Pre-natal diagnosis makes it possible to know the condition of an unborn child at an early stage of development. Yes if… -If it respects the life and integrity of the embryo/fetus; no disproportionate risks. -If it is directed towards the safeguarding or healing of the embryo/fetus. -Involves the free and informed consent of the parents. -Safeguards the mother; no disproportionate risks to her health.

30 Pre-Natal Diagnosis What is meant by the qualifying term “disproportionate risk?” Avoiding disproportionate risk involves an true respect for human beings and a correct therapeutic (curative) intention. A doctor must carefully determine the possible negative outcomes which the use of a particular technique may have upon an unborn child and avoid those that do not offer sufficient guarantees of its honest purpose and significant harmlessness.

31 Pre-Natal Diagnosis No if… Prenatal diagnosis is done with the intention of inducing abortion if a malformation or abnormality is discovered; such an action would then be gravely wrong. No one, spouse, relative, medical professional can counsel a mother to undergo a prenatal diagnosis with this intention; such an action is also gravely wrong. -Happens even in Catholic hospitals.

32 Therapeutic Procedures 3.Are Therapeutic Procedures Carried Out on the Human Embryo Licit? The procedure respects the life and integrity of the embryo and is not disproportionately risky. Yes if… The procedure is directed towards healing, the improvement of health, or for survival. Approval for the procedure is obtained from the free and informed consent of the parents.

33 Research & Experimentation 4.How is One to Evaluate Research and Experimentation on Human Embryos and Fetuses? Yes for research and experimentation if… There is moral certainty that the action will cause no harm to the life and integrity of the unborn child and his mother.

34 Research & Experimentation Yes for research and experimentation if…Yes for research and experimentation if… -The action is directly therapeutic for the embryo / fetus. -Free and informed consent of the parents is obtained. -Other usual conditions: consent & risk level. -Experimental procedures only if it is a last resort attempt to save the embryo’s/fetus’s life. -Even if the proposed action involves simple observation, no risk to the embryo can be present.

35 Research and Experimentation No if…No if… -The action is not directly therapeutic. -Even if consent by the parents is given. -Even if there is some possible benefit to others. -This type of experimentation treats the embryo/fetus as an object instead of a person created in the image and likeness of God.

36 Research & Experimentation No one may keep human embryos in vivo or in vitro for experimental or commercial purposes. -Totally opposed to human dignity.

37 Experimentation After Death Experimentation on Corpses of Embryos/Fetuses?Experimentation on Corpses of Embryos/Fetuses? -Regardless of how the embryo/fetus was obtained, proper care and respect of the corpse of an embryo/fetus must be shown just like it would for other human beings. It is possible for experimentation to take place if…It is possible for experimentation to take place if… -Death is verified. -Consent is received from the parents. -No complicity exists with deliberate abortion. -The risk of scandal is avoided. -No commercial trafficking exists.

38 In Vitro Research 5.How is One to Evaluate the Use for Research Purposes of Embryos Obtained by Fertilization In Vitro? Embryos obtained in vitro are human beings and subjects with rights. Cannot be produced to be exploited as “biological material.” It is a particularly grave action to voluntarily destroy embryos for the sole purpose of research, regardless of how they are obtained. Such actions usurp God’s place as the master of life.

39 In Vitro Research “Spare” embryos are exposed to an absurd fate: no possibility of being offered a safe means of survival which can be licitly pursued. 1)Keep in a preserved state. 2)Bring to term (snowflake). 3)Destroy.

40 Manipulating Embryos 6.What Judgment Should be Made on Other Procedures of Manipulating Embryos Connected with the “Techniques of Human Reproduction”? Forbidden techniques contrary to human dignity: -In vitro fertilization can open the door to other forms of biological and genetic manipulation: -Fertilization b/t human and animal gametes. -Attempts to gestate of a human embryo in an animal uterus or artificial womb. -Attempts to obtain a human being without any connection to sexuality, e.g., twin fission, cloning or parthenogenesis (stimulating unfertilized eggs to develop).

41 Manipulating Embryos Such techniques of human repro- duction are contrary to the human dignity of the embryo and contrary to the right of every person to be conceived and born within marriage and from marriage.

42 Manipulating Embryos Cryopreservation of embryos is forbidden.Cryopreservation of embryos is forbidden. -Contrary to respect of the embryo as person. -Exposes the embryo to grave risks of death or harm. -Intracellular water is removed and replaced with a cryoprotectant (similar to antifreeze). -The embryo survives freezing / thawing procedure about 80% of the time (Linacre Quarterly 75(1) 2008, p. 5). - Deprives the embryo of maternal shelter and gestation. - Further manipulation is possible.

43 Manipulating Embryos Attempts at chromosomic/genetic engineering that are not therapeutic are forbidden, e.g., sex selection, eugenic selection.Attempts at chromosomic/genetic engineering that are not therapeutic are forbidden, e.g., sex selection, eugenic selection. -The personal integrity of the embryo/fetus is attacked.

44 Artificial Procreation II.Interventions on Human Procreation. Introductory Remarks: “Artificial procreation” or “artificial fertilization” refers to the different technical procedures directed towards obtaining a human conception in a manner other than the sexual union of man and woman.

45 Artificial Procreation The document deals with: In vitro fertilization (IVF); embryo transfer (ET); a host of moral problems: frozen embryos, “spares” used for experiment, “embryo reduction”.In vitro fertilization (IVF); embryo transfer (ET); a host of moral problems: frozen embryos, “spares” used for experiment, “embryo reduction”. Artificial inseminationArtificial insemination EugenicsEugenics Heterologous IVF – involves the gametes of a donor (a third party supplies necessary gametes).Heterologous IVF – involves the gametes of a donor (a third party supplies necessary gametes). Homologous IVF – involves the gametes from both spouses; no third party is involved.Homologous IVF – involves the gametes from both spouses; no third party is involved.

46 Heterologous IVF 1.Why Must Human Procreation Take Place in Marriage? Personal dignity of parents and children Collaboration with the Creator. A child is to be the fruit of mutual self-giving of the spouses, of their love and fidelity: a gift of God.

47 Heterologous IVF The fidelity of the spouses in the unity of marriage involves reciprocal respect of their right to become a father and a mother through each other.”

48 Heterologous IVF A child has the right to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world, brought up within the security marriage where he/she can discover his/her own identity and achieve proper human development.

49 Heterologous IVF 1.Why Must Human Procreation Take Place in Marriage? Personal Dignity of Parents and Children (continued):Personal Dignity of Parents and Children (continued): -The child is the living image of the love of spouses, a permanent sign of their union, and a living and indissoluble concrete expression of their paternity and maternity. -For the good of society, its vitality and stability, society requires that a child come into the world within the context of a family, and further, a family based upon marriage.

50 Heterologous IVF 2.Does Heterologous Artificial Fertilization Conform to the Dignity of the Couple and the Truth of Marriage? No because it is contrary to…No because it is contrary to… -The unity of marriage – it is a violation of the reciprocal commitment of the spouses. -The dignity of spouses; the unity of spouses. -Their vocation proper to parents; it involves a rupture between genetic parenthood, gestational parenthood, and the responsibility for upbringing. -Dignity of sperm / oocyte donors. -The child’s right to be conceived / born in and from marriage; deprives child of a true filial relationship with parents – hinders maturation of personal identity

51 Heterologous IVF Although the desire to have a child is understandable, subjective good intentions do not make an intrinsically immoral action morally right. -Children are not commodities that one has a “right” to obtain in any manner possible.

52 Surrogate Motherhood 3.Is “Surrogate” Motherhood Morally Licit? No…No… -For the same reasons listed above (slide 49). -Objective failure to meet the obligations of maternal love, conjugal fidelity, responsible motherhood. -Offends the dignity and the right of the child to be conceived, carried in the womb, born of married parents (genetic mother), and raised by them. -Offends the dignity of the surrogate. -A division exists between the physical, psychological, and moral elements that constitute the family.

53 Homologous IVF What Connection is Required from the Moral Point of View Between Procreation and the Conjugal Act? A)Inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meanings of the conjugal act. Fertilization must be the fruit of the conjugal act – God’s plan for relations in marriage. B)“Language of the Body.” Procreation is inseparably linked to the self-gift of love the spouses express to each other in a union that is not only biological but spiritual. C)The child is equal in dignity in personhood to the parents. The child must be the fruit of mutual giving, not the product of an intervention of medical and biological techniques that reduce the child to an object/product.

54 Homologous IVF 5.Is Homologous IVF Morally Licit? No…No… -The good intention of a desire for a child does not make homologous IVF morally licit (the end does not justify the means). Even though the gametes are from the husband and wife. Even if no destruction of embryos or “embryo reduction” takes place. Even if masturbation was not used to obtain the sperm necessary for the IVF.

55 Homologous IVF No…(continued). -Conception outside the bodies of the couple (the marriage act). -Involves the intervention of third parties. -Involves the power and expertise of doctors that ultimately establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. -Is not the fruit of an act of love between spouses. -Objectifies the personhood of everyone involved.

56 Homologous IVF Contrary to the dignity of the child. -“Absurd fate” of “spares.” -Embryo abandonment. -Disproportionate risk (Implantation rate 10-25%). Thus the overwhelming majority do not survive. -Embryo reduction.

57 Homologous AI How is Homologous Artificial Insemination to be Evaluated from the Moral Point of View?How is Homologous Artificial Insemination to be Evaluated from the Moral Point of View? Cannot be morally justified: -If the technical means substitute for the conjugal act. -Involves other dissociative actions like masturbation to obtain the necessary sperm for AI. Only if an intervention facilitates and helps the conjugal act to attain its natural purpose [be careful with the term assisted” – not all techniques that claim to “assist” are morally permissible].Only if an intervention facilitates and helps the conjugal act to attain its natural purpose [be careful with the term assisted” – not all techniques that claim to “assist” are morally permissible].

58 Moral Criteria 7.What Moral Criteria can be Proposed with Regard to Medical Intervention in Human Procreation? Medical acts in this regard must be evaluated not only according to technical effectiveness, but according to the integral good of the person, his/her dignity, the specific human values of sexuality, and his/her origin.Medical acts in this regard must be evaluated not only according to technical effectiveness, but according to the integral good of the person, his/her dignity, the specific human values of sexuality, and his/her origin. “A medical intervention respects the dignity of persons when it seeks to assist the conjugal act either in order to facilitate its performance or in order to enable it to achieve its objective once it has been normally done.”

59 Moral Criteria Catholic doctors, scientists, medical staff, hospitals and clinics are to safeguard and promote a diligent observance of the moral norms that protect the values at issue. - For example: Dr. Thomas Hilgers, Pope Paul VI Institute, Omaha, NE - For example: Dr. Thomas Hilgers, Pope Paul VI Institute, Omaha, NE

60 Pastoral Concerns 8. The Suffering Caused by Infertility in Marriage. The desire for a child is natural, honorable, and signifies a vocation to motherhood and fatherhood inherent in marriage.The desire for a child is natural, honorable, and signifies a vocation to motherhood and fatherhood inherent in marriage. Marriage, however, does not confer the right to have a child, only the right to perform those natural acts that are per se ordered towards procreation. A child is not an object to which on has a right; he/she is a gift of God.Marriage, however, does not confer the right to have a child, only the right to perform those natural acts that are per se ordered towards procreation. A child is not an object to which on has a right; he/she is a gift of God. Recognize the suffering caused by sterility; the support of the Church community is needed. Couples are called to see in this situation a particular sharing in the suffering of the Cross of Christ (involvement in other services to life: adoption, educational work, assistance to other families, work with the poor and handicapped etc…)Recognize the suffering caused by sterility; the support of the Church community is needed. Couples are called to see in this situation a particular sharing in the suffering of the Cross of Christ (involvement in other services to life: adoption, educational work, assistance to other families, work with the poor and handicapped etc…)

61 Donum Vitae Scientists and researchers are encouraged to find morally acceptable ways to prevent, treat, and overcome the causes of sterility.

62 Moral and Civil Law The Values and Moral Obligations that Civil Legislation Must Respect and Sanction in this Matter.The Values and Moral Obligations that Civil Legislation Must Respect and Sanction in this Matter. -The inviolable right to life, the rights of families and the institution of marriage. -Technologies need to be controlled by political authorities and legislators. Such technologies and decisions involving them cannot simply be left to the consciences of researchers because of the possible damage to civil society and personal rights, especially the unborn, spouses, and the institution of marriage. -A child has the right to be conceived and born from and into a marriage.

63 Moral and Civil Law The Values and Moral Obligations that Civil Legislation Must Respect and Sanction in this Matter (continued).The Values and Moral Obligations that Civil Legislation Must Respect and Sanction in this Matter (continued). -The common good – defense of fundamental rights of the human person and the family (the building block of society). -Penal sanctions for that which law cannot tolerate: experi- mentation, mutilation, destruction on the unborn (even at the embryonic stage). -Law must prohibit embryo banks, post mortem insemination and surrogate motherhood. -Moral law must be upheld; politicians must seek the widest possible consensus - abortion has made this more difficult. Natural law must be respected; passive resistance allowed.

64 Conclusion Invitation to exercise positive influence and to ensure respect for life and love in society and the family especially:Invitation to exercise positive influence and to ensure respect for life and love in society and the family especially: -Those responsible for the formation of consciences and public opinion, e.g., scientists, medical professionals, jurists and politicians. Invitation to theologians, especially moralists to study more deeply and make accessible to the faithful the contents of Magisterial teaching.Invitation to theologians, especially moralists to study more deeply and make accessible to the faithful the contents of Magisterial teaching. Lk. 10:29-37 – Good Samaritan: recognizing neighbor in even the littlest among us; Mt. 25:40 – “What you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me.”Lk. 10:29-37 – Good Samaritan: recognizing neighbor in even the littlest among us; Mt. 25:40 – “What you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me.”


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