Catholic Social Doctrine: Morality, Science, and Technology
to maintain an attitude of prudence and attentively sift out the nature, end, and means of the various forms of applied technology. Scientists, therefore, must 'truly use their research and technical sill in the service of humanity,' being able to subordinate them 'to moral principles and values, which respect and realize in its fullness the dignity of man.'" (Compendium, No. 458)
Ultimately, science and technology must see themselves as cooperating with nature, not setting up a reality that contradicts or nullifies nature. Any applied technology--particularly those dealing with genetic or biological manipulation--"must take into account the nature of each being and of its mutual connection in an ordered system."
Quoting Blessed John Paul II's Centesimus annus, the Compendium's teaching is worth quoting in full:
"Man, then, must never forget that "his capacity to transform and in a certain sense create the world through his own work . . . is always based on God's prior and original gift of the things that are." He must not "make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint to his will, as though it did not have its own requisites and a prior God-given purpose, which man can indeed develop but must not betray." When he acts in this way, "instead of carrying out his role as a co-operator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature, which is more tyrannized than governed by him." If man intervenes in nature without abusing it or damaging it, we can say that he "intervenes not in order to modify nature but to foster its development in its own life, that of the creation that God intended. While working in this obviously delicate area, the researcher adheres to the design of God. God willed that man be the king of creation." In the end, it is God himself who offers to men and women the honor of cooperating with the full force of their intelligence in the work of creation." (Compendium, No. 460) (quotes are from JPII, Centesimus annus, 37)
In short, we must remember that we are creatures, and that we--like all of nature--have been made by God. We must remember that he has made us in our inward parts, that he wove us in our mother's womb, and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that all of nature with us is wonderful.
Mirabilia opera tua et anima mea novit nimis. "Wonderful all your works, and my soul knows it very well." (Ps. 139 : 14)
This is the prayer that ought to be on the lips and in mind of the scientist and the purveyor of technology.
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: technology, morality, cloning, in vitro, robotics, technological, freedom, culture, utilitarian, Andrew M. Greenwell
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Living Faith News
- An Anatomy of Christian Joy: 'Be, Jesus, Our Joy!'
- In Imitation of St. Joseph, Model of Fathers of Families
- Fathers Are Guardians of the Family
- Pope Francis: Freedom Means Always Choosing the Good; A Challenge in Today's World
- Pope Francis attracts record breaking number of Twitter followers en Espanol
- Meet these senators who are unafraid to talk about their faith
- 'Lady' the black labrador survives after being shot 100 times with a BB gun
- HARROWING ORDEAL: Nigerian man survives boat capsize in air bubble
- Pope Francis Refers to 'gay lobby' inside Vatican
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?