Monday, December 15, 2008

Vatican Updates Code on Birth Technologies Commentary

Francis X. Rocca
Religion News Service

December 15, 2008

VATICAN CITY (RNS) -- The Vatican's highest doctrinal body on Friday (Dec.12) condemned advanced infertility treatments and contraception technologies and reaffirmed its strong prohibition of embryonic stem cell research.

The long-awaited document, "Dignitas personae" ("The dignity of a person"), was released by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI.

Church officials said the document was meant as an update to a 1987 statement under Pope John Paul II. While the two documents are complementary, the newer one covers 21st-centry medical advances that were not even on the horizon 20 years ago.

Like the 1987 document, the new 36-page statement condemns in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and all other techniques that involve "replacement of the conjugal act by a technical procedure."

Vatican officials know from long experience that their pronouncements on sexual and medical ethics are bound to generate controversy and resistance, and the response from the liberal wing of the U.S. church was swift and strong.

See also the document, Dignitas personae, at the library.


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