Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dignitas Humanae: "On the Dignity of the Human Person"

A new instruction, Dignitas Personae, that constitutes a teaching of the ordinary magisterium, that is a matter of faith and morals to be held by all Christians, has been released by the Church. Fr Zuhlsdorf offers an excellent summary of the document here.


Alexgrieve said...

I welcome the insistence of Dignitas Personae on the ethical implications of science. But I fear that the Church is staking out an impossible position. It is surely possible to respect the dignity of human life without endowing a handful of cells, fertilised or not, with the rights appertaining to human beings. To do so is to fly in the face not only of common sense but of ethical values too. Sexual responsibility is highly desirable: responsible parenthood is equally so. Insisting that every sexual contact carry the implication of parenthood is neither responsible nor ethical. Nor is it likely to impress the great majority of thinking, sensible, responsible, ethical people, including those of other faiths or no faith. It risks undermining the Church's entire position on ethics and science, which would be a great loss.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to Alex, I am afraid that I have to disagree with his comments. "Common sense" and "ethical values" in no way lead to the automatic rejection of the Church's claim that the human embryo is of equal dignity with all human persons. I am afraid that it is not the "thinking, sensible, responsible, ethical people" who reject a priori the Church's stance of the intrinisic dignity of all human life, from conception to natural death -- but rather those who refuse to think in accordance with the dignity of the human intellect granted them by God.

The old argument that the modern scientific establishment of this world is more intellectually advanced than the outdated, obsolete teachings of the Catholic Church, is not just insulting to Catholics: it is simply false. The Church's teachings are based on Divine Revelation, and backed up by a 2000-year-old Wisdom that is beyond comparison with the dogmas of modern science.