Skip to content

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience

Vatican Conference to Consider Ethical Use of Knowledge

By Carmen Elena Villa

VATICAN CITY (Zenit) - Scientific investigation should grow and advance, but with an ethical conscience, especially in the area of genetics, says the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella affirmed this Tuesday at a press conference focused on an upcoming congress about genetics and the risk of eugenics. This congress is promoted by the academy on the occasion of its 15th general assembly, which will take place Friday and Saturday.

Archbishop Fisichella recognized the advances of investigations conducted over the past decade on the Human Genome Project, which have allowed the identification of thousands of hereditary diseases, thus avoiding many congenital ills.

He explained how genetics, "while on a premarital level and prior to conception is applied in order to verify the risk of being carriers of diseases, now is being applied to a prenatal level and implies -- as you can imagine -- problems of ethical character." Due to this, he added, babies carrying diseases are killed in the womb.

Every scientific conquest generates possibilities and risks, the prelate contended. He noted that the trend of eugenics is not just a theoretical question, but is rather "a mentality that spreads slowly but inexorably."

He continued, "As often happens, a subtle linguistic formalism coupled with good advertising supported by powerful economic interests makes [us] lose sight of the real underlying dangers, and tends to create a mentality that is no longer able to recognize the evil objective nor make a corresponding ethical judgment."

For this reason, Archbishop Fisichella explained, the Holy See thought of convoking an international congress to "verify if in genetic experimentation there are aspects that tend toward and in fact set in motion an act of eugenics."

He also criticized the accompanying reductive mentality that "tends to consider that there are people who have less value than others," either because of their social status or "because of their physical condition, such as the disabled, mentally ill or those persons considered to be in a vegetative state, or elderly people with serious diseases."

Middle road

The congress, the archbishop said, seeks to find a common path between extremes -- that of the rejection of scientific progress and that of the rejection of ethics.

For this reason, he said, it should aim to enable the growth and progress of "the ethical conscience without which each achievement would only be partial."

The congress, which will take place in the Vatican's new synod hall, is expected to draw 400 participants, including physicians, biologists, theologians and philosophers. Its objective is to underline the current possibilities of medical intervention to combat genetic diseases and to analyze the development of eugenics from a legal as well as anthropological point of view.

The possible forms of eugenics will also be examined in order to make a global assessment and to offer guidance and criteria in line with the teachings of the magisterium of the Church, to be able to respond to this challenge.

Speaking at the conference, among others, will be Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, and Cardinal Antonio Cańizares, newly appointed prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

customerservice@catholic.org

Keywords

Genetics, Conscience

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.