(The original submission....)
To anyone who has ever looked upon the face of a newborn, or seen that child months earlier via an ultrasound, human grandeur is undeniable. When one contemplates the eternal life to which each human is called, the undeniable is unspeakably magnificent! Two weeks before commemorating Jesus Christ's arrival as a newborn, the Vatican released a magnificent instruction, focused on human life at its origins. Brief and readily available on the internet, I imagine that “Dignitas Persona” will be read by many Catholics and non-Catholics.
Dignitas Personae proclaims
- ) human dignity from the first moment of fertilization until natural death &
- ) the right of everyone to originate in the loving embrace of a mom and dad, who are wife and husband.
Dignitas Personae screams that each human being is owed uncompromising respect, no matter how she came to be, and that we must stand with the weak and powerless against exploitation. Isn’t it only the rare individual who would oppose such a magnificent core?
Recent years have seen a vast increase in reports of infertility and interest in reproductive technology. When employed by a husband and wife, Dignitas Personae says assistance to AID the “marital act” toward procreation can be moral. However, even when used by a husband and wife, Dignitas Personae says that methods REPLACING the marital act - such as IVF - are immoral. Exacerbating IVF’s immorality is the discarding or freezing of “extra”, unwanted embryos. Dignitas Personae forbids using these new humans as research material or implanting one in the womb of a woman other than her mom. Also recognized as immoral are
- human cloning,
- the mixing of human with animal genetic material (Yup, some “scientists” are doing that!),
- germ line cell therapy,
- “genetic engineering for purposes other than medical treatment” (# 27), and
- research using illicitly obtained cell lines.
Yet, it would be an absolute mistake to dismiss Dignitas Personae as a laundry list of prohibitions.
Dignitas Personae beautifully declares, “Behind every ‘no’ in the difficult task of discerning between good and evil, there shines a great ‘yes’ to the recognition of the dignity and inalienable value of every single and unique human being called into existence [# 37].
- NaProTechnology <www.fertilitycarefriends.org/> strikes me as a “great yes” – a fabulous alternative to the immorality of IVF, as well as IVF’s incredible expense and low "success" rate.
- Another “great yes” is that stem cells can be obtained in manners, which are not morally objectionable! Obtaining stem cells from embryos results in the death of the embryo. Despite the research “science” presented to us by celebrities, this is NEITHER the only way NOR the most promising way to obtain stem cells. Stem cells can be morally obtained from adults and umbilical cord blood.
Section 23 of Dignitas Personae appears to require change at Catholic hospitals, regarding treatment of women identified as victims of sexual assault. After trying to rule out pregnancy (&/or ovulation), so-called "emergency contraception" (aka, "morning after pills") HAS been allowed (Note: Some say it’s IMPOSSIBLE to ensure "emergency contraception" is NOT abortifacient.). "Such methods are interceptive if they interfere with the embryo before implantation & contragestative if they cause the elimination of the embryo once implanted....the use of means of interception & contragestation fall within the sin of abortion and are gravely immoral." NO guidelines are offered for supposed "moral" use of a potential interceptive or contragestative.
Dignitas Personae calls everyone to courageously defend human life. While he calls himself Catholic, Congressman Patrick Murphy maintains positions diametrically opposed to Dignitas Personae, including sponsorship of FOCA, the so called "Freedom of Choice Act" (See http://canon915andbuckscounty.blogspot.com/.). If Murphy maintains such positions, he should have the honesty to stop calling himself a Catholic.