A crucial battleground

As I state in my last encyclical letter, Caritas in Veritate: “A particularly crucial battleground in today’s cultural struggle between the absolutism of technology and human moral responsibility is the field of bioethics, where the very possibility of integral human development is radically called into question. In this most delicate and critical area, the fundamental question asserts itself force-fully: is man the product of his own labors or does he depend on God? Scientific discoveries in this field and the possibilities of technological intervention seem so advanced as to force a choice between two types of reasoning: reason open to transcendence or reason closed within immanence” (no. 74).

Before such questions, which touch in such a decisive manner human life in its perennial tension between immanence and transcendence, and which have great relevance for the culture of future generations, it is necessary to create a holistic pedagogical project that permits us to confront these issues in a positive, balanced and constructive vision, above all in the relationship between faith and reason. The questions of bioethics often place the reminder of the dignity of the person in the foreground. This dignity is a fundamental principle that the faith in Jesus Christ crucified and risen has always defended, above all when it is ignored in regard to the humblest and most vulnerable persons: God loves every human being in a unique and profound way. Bioethics, like every discipline, needs a reminder able to guarantee a consistent understanding of ethical questions that, inevitably, emerge before possible interpretive conflicts. In such a space a normative recall to the natural moral law presents itself. The recognition of human dignity, in fact, as an inalienable right first finds its basis in that law not written by human hand but inscribed by God the Creator in the heart of man. Every juridical order is called to recognize this right as inviolable and every single person must respect and promote it (cf. “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” nos. 1954-1960).