Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

On the Dignity of the Person (Part XIV)...

Excerpt from the Church's document on certain issues regarding procreation, Dignitas Personae: On Certain Bioethical Questions (September 2008). With new research and procedures, it is most important to be informed and to know the moral dimensions. This section deals with human cloning. (The numbers below correspond to the numbers at the beginning of each section in the official document).

28. Human cloning refers to the asexual or agametic reproduction of the entire human organism in order to produce one or more "copies" which, from a genetic perspective, are substantially identical to the single original.

Cloning is proposed for two basic purposes: reproduction, that is, in order to obtain the birth of a baby, and medical therapy or research....

Human cloning is intrinsically illicit in that, by taking the ethical negativity of techniques of artificial fertilization to their extreme, it seeks to give rise to a new human being without a connection to the act of reciprocal self-giving between the spouses and, more radically, without any link to sexuality. This leads to manipulation and abuses gravely injurious to human dignity

29. If cloning were to be done for reproduction, this would impose on the resulting individual a predetermined genetic identity, subjecting him—as has been stated—to a form of biological slavery, from which it would be difficult to free himself. The fact that someone would arrogate to himself the right to determine arbitrarily the genetic characteristics of another person represents a grave offense to the dignity of that person as well as to the fundamental equality of all people.

The originality of every person is a consequence of the particular relationship that exists between God and a human being from the first moment of his existence and carries with it the obligation to respect the singularity and integrity of each person, even on the biological and genetic levels. In the encounter with another person, we meet a human being who owes his existence and his proper characteristics to the love of God, and only the love of husband and wife constitutes a mediation of that love in conformity with the plan of the Creator and heavenly Father.

From the ethical point of view, so-called therapeutic cloning is even more serious. To create embryos with the intention of destroying them, even with the intention of helping the sick, is completely incompatible with human dignity, because it makes the existence of a human being at the embryonic stage nothing more than a means to be used and destroyed. It is gravely immoral to sacrifice a human life for therapeutic ends....

...continued next week.

Fr. Stanley