DONUM VI
February 22, 1987
 

 

CONGREGATION for the DOCTRINE of the FAITH
February 22, 1987 AAS 80 (1988) 70-102


 

 

 

 

Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation:  Replies to Certain Questions of the Day (DONUM VITÆ)

Instructio de observantia erga vitam humanam nascentem deque procreationis dignitate tuenda. Responsiones ad quasdam quaestiones nostris temporibus agitatas

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOREWORD

PRAENOTANDA

 

 

 

 

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been approached by various Episcopal Conferences or individual Bishops, by theologians, doctors and scientists, concerning biomedical techniques which make it possible to intervene in the initial phase of the life of a human being and in the very processes of procreation and their conformity with the principles of Catholic morality. The present Instruction, which is the result of wide consultation and in particular of a careful evaluation of the declarations made by Episcopates, does not intend to repeat all the Church’s teaching on the dignity of human life as it originates and on procreation, but to offer, in the light of the previous teaching of the Magisterium, some specific replies to the main questions being asked in this regard.

  Ad Congregationem pro doctrina Fidei qnaesita pervenerunt proposita a variis Conferentiis Episcopalibus et Lpiscopis singularibus, a theologis, a me.dicis et a viris scientiarum peritis, qui poscebant an congruerent cum prinripiis catholicae doctrinae de moribus eae artes technic.ae biomedicae, quibus datur ut interventas fieri possint in exordiis vita hominis et in ipsis procreationis processibus. Haec Instructio, quae fructus est latae consultationis necnon attentae considerationis snper declarationibus, quae a variis episcopatibus editae sunt, non eo spectat, ut rursus universa doctrina Ecclesiae de nascentis humanae vitae et procreationis dignitate proponatur, sed ut, sub lure doctrinae iam traditae, convenientes dentur responsiones praecipuis qnaestionibus quae, in re de qua agitur, in medium prolatae sunt.

The exposition is arranged as follows: an introduction will recall the fundamental principles, of an anthropological and moral character, which are necessary for a proper evaluation of the problems and for working out replies to those questions; the first part will have as its subject respect for the human being from the first moment of his or her existence; the second part will deal with the moral questions raised by technical interventions on human procreation; the third part will offer some orientations on the relationships between moral law and civil law in terms of the respect due to human embryos and foetuses* and as regards the legitimacy of techniques of artificial procreation. 

  Rerum exponendarum ordo hic erit : per Introductionem revocantur principia fundamentalia ordinis antbropologici ac morilis, quae necessaria sunt ad recte expeudenda problemata et ad responsa danda hisce interrogationibus ; in prima parte agendum erit de observautia erga hominem debita inde a primo eius vitae momento ; in secunda parte quaestiones morales pertractabuntur quae oriuntur ex rei technicae interventibus in humana procreatione; in tertia parte nonnullae directoriae normae impertientur circa mntuas rationes, quae inter legem moralem et civilem le.gem interct>dunt, qnud attinet ad ohservantiam ergaembryones et fetus humanos * et at1 legitimitatem trchuiE•arllm rationum in procreatione artificiose quaesita.

 

 

 

 

* The terms “zygote”, “pre-embryo”, “embryo” and “foetus” can indicate in the vocabulary of biology successive stages of the development of a human being. The present Instruction makes free use of these terms, attributing to them an identical ethical relevance, in order to designate the result (whether visible or not) of human generation, from the first moment of its existence until birth. The reason for this usage is clarified by the text (cf I, 1). 

   * Voces « zygotuui »• « prae-embryon n, a embryon n, a fetus » iuxta usum in disciplina biologica receptum• indic.?re possunt succ•edentia tempora in viventis humani processu ad snacn maturitatem assequendam. Haec Instructio libere his vocibus utitur, eis tribuens eanrlem ethicam aestimationem art signiticandum frttctum• vitae autonomae capacem vel non• generationis hum;rnae• a pr•iwu eius vitae momento usque ad nativitatem. Itatirr huius ex ipso textu patebit Ief. I. 11.

 

 

 

 

   

INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTIO

   

1. BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING  OF THE CHURCH 

INVESTIGATIO BIOMEDICA ET ECCLESIAE DOCTRINA.

   

The gift of life which God the Creator and Father has entrusted to man calls him to appreciate the inestimable value of what he has been given and to take responsibility for it: this fundamental principle must be placed at the centre of one’s reflection in order to clarify and solve the moral problems raised by artificial interventions on life as it originates and on the processes of procreation.

   1)otitvn citae, qnam Ueus Creator et Pater homini c•ommisit, postulat ut is inaestimabilis eins pretii conscius fiat et officia ei adnexa suscipiat : in hoc primario principio oportet cardo vertatur totius expositionis, ut moral.ia problemata clariore in luce ponantnr ac solvantur, quae gignuntur ex artificiosis interventibus in vita nascenti et in procreationis processibus.

Thanks to the progress of the biological and medical sciences, man has at his disposal ever more effective therapeutic resources; but he can also acquire new powers, with unforeseeable consequences, over human life at its very beginning and in its first stages. Various procedures now make it possible to intervene not only in order to assist but also to dominate the processes of procreation. These techniques can enable man to “take in hand his own destiny”, but they also expose him “to the temptation to go beyond the limits of a reasonable dominion over nature”.(1)

   Ob scientiaruln biologicarnm et medicae artis progressus, homo medendi rationibus nlagis magisque eftic•acibus uti quidem potest, sed potest etialu novas sibi colnparare potestates, qnarnm consectaria praevideri neqwennt, quod attinet ad hnlnauanl vitam in eius initio et in primis eius tentporibus. Diversi proceE3endi modi hodie silutnt interventus, qni non solum arnailiari, sed etiam ilominari possnnt procreationis proc•essibns. IIuinsmoEli tec•hniE•ae ratioues possnnt homini facultatenl tribnere u sortem stlam in manibns habendi ». Sed illum etiam obnoxium efiiciunt u solliritationi praetergraElit,ndi fines dominatus rationi consentanei in naturanl )).'

They might constitute progress in the service of man, but they also involve serious risks. Many people are therefore expressing an urgent appeal that in interventions on procreation the values and rights of the human person be safeguarded. Requests for clarification and guidance are coming not only from the faithful but also from those who recognize the Church as “an expert in humanity “ (2) with a mission to serve the “civilization of love” (3) and of life.  F.aedem, quamqnam conferunt ad hominia progresynm, nillilominus gravia etiam pericula coniuncta habent. pliuc c5t, cur millti instanter 1lagitent ut in interventionibus quae procreatiout•m <Ittingunt, bona et ittra personae humanae sarta tecta serventur. (luar, quidenI clarioris lunlinis et directoriarum normarunl postulationes proveniunt non :3olunl a christifitlelibus, sed ab iis etiam qui Ecclesiae, utpote rerum humanarum expertae »,2 quoquo modo munus agnoscunt deserviendi cc civili amoris cultui » ac vitae.

The Church’s Magisterium does not intervene on the basis of a particular competence in the area of the experimental sciences; but having taken account of the data of research and technology, it intends to put forward, by virtue of its evangelical mission and apostolic duty, the moral teaching corresponding to the dignity of the person and to his or her integral vocation. It intends to do so by expounding the criteria of moral judgment as regards the applications of scientific research and technology, especially in relation to human life and its beginnings. These criteria are the respect, defence and promotion of man, his “primary and fundamental right” to life,(4) his dignity as a person who is endowed with a spiritual soul and with moral responsibility (5) and who is called to beatific communion with God.

   Ecclesia Magisterii sui auctoritatem non interponit vi peculiaris competentiae in regione scientiarum quae in experimentis nituntur ; sed postquam comperta habet elementa, quae investigationibus scientificis et re technica suppeditantur, ipsa, vi muneris evangelici officiique apostolici, moralem intendit doctrinam proponere, quae personae dignitati eiusque integrae vocationi congruat, criteria iudicii moralis exponendo circa investigationum scientificarum et rei technicae applicationes, peculiarique modo circa ea omnia quae ad humanam vitam eiusque exordia attineant. Quae quidem criteria sunt: observantia, defensio et promotio hominis, eius « primarium et fundamentale n ius ad vitam,° eius dignitas personae quae animo spirituali ac morali responsabilitate ditatur 5 et ad beatificam cum Deo communionem vocatur.

The Church’s intervention in this field is inspired also by the Love which she owes to man, helping him to recognize and respect his rights and duties. This love draws from the fount of Christ’s love: as she contemplates the mystery of the Incarnate Word, the Church also comes to understand the “mystery of man”; (6) by proclaiming the Gospel of salvation, she reveals to man his dignity and invites him to discover fully the truth of his own being. Thus the Church once more puts forward the divine law in order to accomplish the work of truth and liberation

   Ecclesia, cum se interponit etiam in hoc campo, amore ducitur, quo hominem prosequi debet, eum adiuvando ad iura officiaque sua cognoscenda atque observanda. Talis amor ad fontes caritatis Christi alitur : contemplans Verbi Incarnati mysterium, Ecclesia percipit etiam (( hominis mysterium )) ; 6 Evangelium salutis annuntians, homini patefacit dignitatem ipsius eumque ad plenam sui veritatem detegendam invitat. Ecclesia hoc modo divinam legem rursus proclamat, ut veritatis et liberationis opus perficiat.

. For it is out of goodness - in order to indicate the path of life - that God gives human beings his commandments and the grace to observe them: and it is likewise out of goodness - in order to help them persevere along the same path - that God always offers to everyone his forgiveness. Christ has compassion on our weaknesses: he is our Creator and Redeemer. May his spirit open men’s hearts to the gift of God’s peace and to an understanding of his precepts. 

   Ac revera ex bonitate Deus — ut rectam vitae semitam ostendat — hominibus mandata sua tradit gratiamque ad ea observanda concedit ; pariter ex caritate — ut eos adiuvet ad perseverandum in hac via — Deus semper offert unicuique veniam suam. Christus infirmitatum nostrarum miseretur : Ipse noster Creator ac Redemptor noster est. Utinam eius Spiritus animos aperiat ad donum pacis quae a Deo manat, et ad eius praecepta intelligenda.

   

2. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 
AT THE
SERVICE OF THE HUMAN PERSON

2. DISCIPLINAE NATURALES ET RES TECHtiICA IN PERSONAE HUMANAE SERVITIUM ADHIBENDAE.

   

God created man in his own image and likeness: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1: 27 ), entrusting to them the task of “having dominion over the earth” (Gen 1:28). Basic scientific research and applied research constitute a significant expression of this dominion of man over creation. Science and technology are valuable resources for man when placed at his service and when they promote his integral development for the benefit of all; but they cannot of themselves show the meaning of existence and of human progress. Being ordered to man, who initiates and develops them, they draw from the person and his moral values the indication of their purpose and the awareness of their limits. 

   Deus ad imaginem et similitudinem suam hominem creavit :« masculum et feminam creavit eos» (Gen 1. Z?l, eis munus committens terram subiciendi (cfr. Gen 1, 28). Scientifica rerum naturae fundamentalis investigatio eiusque applicatio hunc hominis dominatum in res creatas significanter manifestant. Disciplinae naturales et res technica, quae sunt pretiosa hominis adiumenta, si quidem ad eius servitium adhibeantur eiusque integram progressionem promoveant in commune bonum omnium, ex se ipsae non valent ad humanae vitae humanique progressus sensum indicandum. Cum illae ordinentur ad hominem, a quo originem et incrementum suscipiunt, sequitur ut intra humanae personae eiusque moralium bonorum ambitum inveniatur descriptio finium, ad quos ipsae tendunt, et cognitio limitum, quibus continentur.          -

It would on the one hand be illusory to claim that scientific research and its applications are morally neutral; on the other hand one cannot derive criteria for guidance from mere technical efficiency, from research’s possible usefulness to some at the expense of others, or, worse still, from prevailing ideologies. Thus science and technology require, for their own intrinsic meaning, an unconditional respect for the fundamental criteria of the moral law: that is to say, they must be at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights and his true and integral good according to the design and will of God.(7)

   Perperam igitur neutralitas legis moralis vindicatur, cum agitur de investigationibus scientificis earumque applicationibus; ceterum, agendi normae nequaquam sumi possunt e sola rei technicae efficientia, vel ex utilitate quae aliquibus obveniat cum detrimento aliorum, vel, quod peius est, ex ideologiis quae praevalent. Quare disciplinae naturales et res technica ex sua ipsarum intima significatione postulant absolutam criteriorum moralium fundamentalium observantiam ; scilicet deservire debent personae humanae, eius iuribus inalienabilibus eiusque vero atque integro bono, secundum Dei consilium ac voluntatem.'

The rapid development of technological discoveries gives greater urgency to this need to respect the criteria just mentioned: science without conscience can only lead to man’s ruin. “Our era needs such wisdom more than bygone ages if the discoveries made by man are to be further humanized. For the future of the world stands in peril unless wiser people are forthcoming”.(8) 

   Rei technicae velox progressus atque inventa instantius urgent praedictorum criteriorum observantiam : scientia a conscientia officii seiuncta nonnisi ad hominis perniciem conducere potest. «Aetas autem nostra magis quam saecula anteacta, tali sapientia indiget ut humaniora fiant quaecumque nova ab homine deteguntur. Periclitatur enim sors futura mundi nisi sapientiores suscitentur homines ».8

   

3. ANTHROPOLOGY AND PROCEDURES 
IN THE
BIOMEDICAL FIELD

3. ANTHROPOLOGIA ET INTERVENTUS I:V REI BIOMEDICAF. CAMPO.

   

Which moral criteria must be applied in order to clarify the problems posed today in the field of biomedicine? The answer to this question presupposes a proper idea of the nature of the human person in his bodily dimension. 

   Quaenam moralia criteria adhibenda sunt ad problemata in clariore luce ponenda, quae hodie in campo rei biomedicae gignuntur? i't huic quaestioni respondeatur, oportet praevia babeatur recta notio naturae personae humanae quoad ius corpoream rationem.

For it is only in keeping with his true nature that the human person can achieve self-realization as a “unified totality”:(9) and this nature is at the same time corporal and spiritual. By virtue of its substantial union with a spiritual soul, the human body cannot be considered as a mere complex of tissues, organs and functions, nor can it be evaluated in the same way as the body of animals; rather it is a constitutive part of the person who manifests and expresses himself through it.

   Revera persona humana, nonnisi operando secundum veram suam naturam, sese tamquam « unam sui summam n perficere potest ; 9 qnae quidem natura simul est corporea ac spiritualis. Vi substantialis suae unionis cum anima spirituali, eorpus humanum considerari nequit dumtaxat tamquam summa textunm, membrorurn atqne fnnc•tionnm ; neque fas est sicut animalium corpus illud aestinrxre, sed habendum est pars constitutiva personae, quae per illud marufestatur atque exprimitur.

The natural moral law expresses and lays down the purposes, rights and duties which are based upon the bodily and spiritual nature of the human person. Therefore this law cannot be thought of as simply a set of norms on the biological level; rather it must be defined as the rational order whereby man is called by the Creator to direct and regulate his life and actions and in particular to make use of his own body.(10)

   Lex moralis naturalis exprimit atque praescribit fines, iura atque officia, quae in corporali ac spirituali personae humanae natnra innituntur. Ea lex igitur haberi nequit tamquam norma unice biologica, sed definiri debet tamqnam ordo rationis, iuxta quem homo a Creatore vocatur ad vitam suam suasqne actiones moderandas atque ordinandas, peculiarique modo ad utendurn et fruendum corpore suo.'o

A first consequence can be deduced from these principles: an intervention on the human body affects not only the tissues, the organs and their functions but also involves the person himself on different levels. It involves, therefore, perhaps in an implicit but nonetheless real way, a moral significance and responsibility. Pope John Paul II forcefully reaffirmed this to the World Medical Association when he said: “Each human person, in his absolutely unique singularity, is constituted not only by his spirit, but by his body as well. Thus, in the body and through the body, one touches the person himself in his concrete reality. To respect the dignity of man consequently amounts to safeguarding this identity of the man ‘corpore et anima unus’, as the Second Vatican Council says (Gaudium et Spes, 14, par.1). It is on the basis of this anthropological vision that one is to find the fundamental criteria for decision-making in the case of procedures which are not strictly therapeutic, as, for example, those aimed at the improvement of the human biological condition”.(11)

   Ex his principiis hoc prirnum ronsectariunr deduci potest : interventus in corpore bumano non attingit dunrtaxat textus, membr•a eorumque functiones, sed, licet gradibas diversis, ipsam quoque personam afficit; ac prupterea signific•ationem atque officia secnmfert quae ad moralem ordinem spectant, rnodo fortasse non aperto, sed vero. Haec Ioannes Paulus II fortiter asseruit in allocutione habita ad Consociationem Medicorum ex univer5o orbe : a Qnaelibet persona hnmana, in sua indole singnlari absolute unic•a, constat non tantum spiritu sed etiam corpore, ideoque in corpore et per corpus personaattingitur in sua concreta realitate. Quapropter observantia dignitatis borninis secumfert observantiam huius identitatis hominis, qui rorpore et anima unus est, ut Conciliam Vaticanum II affirmavit (Const. Gaudium et spes, 14, 1). Ex har anthropologica consideratione erui debent fundamentalia operandi criteria, si agitur de inter•ventibus non omnino tlrerapeuticis, cuius generis sunt interventus spectantes condicionem biologicam humanam in melius mutandam »."

Applied biology and medicine work together for the integral good of human life when they come to the aid of a person stricken by illness and infirmity and when they respect his or her dignity as a creature of God. No biologist or doctor can reasonably claim, by virtue of his scientific competence, to be able to decide on people’s origin and destiny. This norm must be applied in a particular way in the field of sexuality and procreation, in which man and woman actualize the fundamental values of love and life.

   Biologiaatqtte ars medica. snartun applicationnm ope, ad integrum vitae humanae bonum tunc• conferunt cnm personae morbo atque infirmitate affectae auxiliurn pr<ebent, observau(do dignitatem ei debitam, quatenus est creatura Dei. Nemo biologus vel medicus, vi scientiae ac peritiae suae, rationabiliter arrogare sihi potest fac•ultatem de origine ac sorte hominis deliberandi. Huinsmodi norma peculiari modo servanda est in sexualitatis ac procrt ationis provincia, in qua vir ae mulier primaria bona amoris ac vitae in ac•tnm tradac•unt.

God, who is love and life, has inscribed in man and woman the vocation to share in a special way in his mystery of personal communion and in his work as Creator and Father.(12) For this reason marriage possesses specific goods and values in its union and in procreation which cannot be likened to those existing in lower forms of life. Such values and meanings are of the personal order and determine from the moral point of view the meaning and limits of artificial interventions on procreation and on the origin of human life. These interventions are not to be rejected on the grounds that they are artificial. As such, they bear witness to the possibilities of the art of medicine. But they must be given a moral evaluation in reference to the dignity of the human person, who is called to realize his vocation from God to the gift of love and the gift of life. 

   Deus, qui amor et vita est. viro ac ntulieri vocationem indidit <td participandum speciali modo sunm mysterium personalis c•ommnnionis suumque opus Creatoris et Patris.'~ Hinr est c•nr rnatrimonio insint bona propria unionis atyue procreatiunis, quae tanta pollet dignitate, ut nullo modo comparar•i possint c•~tln iis quae apud cetera inferioris gradus viventia inveniuntur. Haec• bona atque hae signific•ationes, quae ad ordinem persunalem pertinent, definiunt, respectu habito ad legem moralem, etixm significationem ac limites artificiosorum interventnnm in procreatione et in ortu vitae hnmanae. Qui interventus, quatenus artificiosi, respuendi non sunt. Qna tales testantnr quid valeat ars medica ; at eorum moralis aestimatio referatur oportet ad dignitatem humanae personae, cuius est perficere divinam sibi inditam vocationem ad donum- amoris atque ad donum vitae.

   

4. FUNDAMENTAL CRITERIA FOR A MORAL JUDGMENT

4. CRITERIA FIINDAMEITAI.IA AD MORALE IUDICIUM FERENDUM.

   

The fundamental values connected with the techniques of artificial human procreation are two: the life of the human being called into existence and the special nature of the transmission of human life in marriage. The moral judgment on such methods of artificial procreation must therefore be formulated in reference to these values. 

   Bona fnndamentalia qnae cnm methodis procreationis artificialis humanae conectuntur, duo nnmerantur : vita creaturae humanae ad exsistendum vocatae, et singularis indoles transmissionis huius vitae in matrimonio. Horurn igitur bonorum congrua ratio habeatur necesse est, cum morale indicinm est ferendum de huiusmodi methodis procreationis humanae artificialis.

Physical life, with which the course of human life in the world begins, certainly does not itself contain the whole of a person’s value, nor does it represent the supreme good of man who is called to eternal life. However it does constitute in a certain way the “fundamental “ value of life, precisely because upon this physical life all the other values of the person are based and developed.(13) The inviolability of the innocent human being’s right to life “from the moment of conception until death” (14) is a sign and requirement of the very inviolability of the person to whom the Creator has given the gift of life.

   Vita phisica, unde in mundo humanarum vieissitudinum cursus incipit, nullo modo totam explet personae praestantiam, neque habenda est pro supremo bono hominis qni ad vitam sempiternam vocatur. Ipsa tamen ad hominis structuram pertinet qnodammodo tamquam bonum u fundamentale », propterea quod in ipsa vita phisica cetera omnia personae bonanittn(tur atqne explicantur.13 Indoles inviolabilis iuris ad vitam, quo creatura humana innocens gaudet u a conceptus momento usque ad mortem n,14 signum atque postulatum est ipsius inviolabilis indolis personae, cui Creator vitae donum largitus est.

By comparison with the transmission of other forms of life in the universe, the transmission of human life has a special character of its own, which derives from the special nature of the human person. “The transmission of human life is entrusted by nature to a personal and conscious act and as such is subject to the all-holy laws of God: immutable and inviolable laws which must be recognized and observed. For this reason one cannot use means and follow methods which could be licit in the transmission of the life of plants and animals” (15) 

   Respectu habito ad vitae transmissionem qualis apud cetera animantia in mundo universo animadvertitur, transmissio vitae humanae singularem indolem prae se fert, quae ab ipsa singulari personae humanae indole promanat. cc Quoniamque hominis vita aliis hominibus consulto et cogitate traditur, sequitur idcirco, ut hoc agatur ad Dei praeseriptiones firmissimas, sanctissimas, inviolatas ; quas scilicet nemo non agnoscere, non servare debet. Quocirca hac in re nemini omnium licet iis uti viis rationibusque, quibus vel arborum vel animantium vitam prorogare licet ».15

Advances in technology have now made it possible to procreate apart from sexual relations through the meeting in vitro of the germ-cells previously taken from the man and the woman. But what is technically possible is not for that very reason morally admissible. Rational reflection on the fundamental values of life and of human procreation is therefore indispensable for formulating a moral evaluation of such technological interventions on a human being from the first stages of his development. 

   Hodierni rei technicae progressus effecerunt ut procreatio haberi possit absque sexuali coniunctione, per concursum in tubulo vitreo seu in vitro, uti aiunt, cellularum germinalium, quae a viro et muliere antea sumptae sunt. At, quod arte technica fieri potest, non eo ipso lex moralis admittit. Rationis ope perpendere fundamentalia bona vitae et procreationis humanae est necessaria condicio, ut morale iudicium ferri possit de huiusmodi rei technicae interventibus in humano vivente inde a primis gradibus eius vitae processus.

   

5. TEACHINGS OF THE MAGISTERIUM

5. NONNULLA ECCLESIAE MAGISTERII DOCTRINAE CAPITA.

   

On its part, the Magisterium of the Church offers to human reason in this field too the light of Revelation: the doctrine concerning man taught by the Magisterium contains many elements which throw light on the problems being faced here.

   Pro parte sua Ecclesiae Magisterium etiam in hoc campo lumen Revelationis humanae rationi subministrat : doctrina quae de homine a Magisterio traditur, multa complectitur elementa, quae lucem afferunt quaestionibus hic ad solvendum propositis.

From the moment of conception, the life of every human being is to be respected in an absolute way because man is the only creature on earth that God has “wished for himself “ (16) and the spiritual soul of each man is “immediately created” by God; (17) his whole being bears the image of the Creator. Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves “the creative action of God” (18) and it remains forever in a special relationship with she Creator, who is its sole end.(19) God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being. (20)

   Inde a conceptionis momento, vita cuiusvis humanae creaturae omnino est observanda, cum in terris homo sola creatura sit, quam Deus cc propter seipsam voluerit » 16 et anima spiritualis uniuscuiusque hominis cc immediate ereata » a Deo sit ;" homo in se totus Creatoris refert imaginem. Humana vita pro re sacra habenda est, quippe quae inde a suo exordio « Creatoris actionem postulet n 18 ac semper pecu liari necessitudine cum Creatore, unico fine suo, perstet conexa.19 Solus Deus vitae Dominus est ab exordio usque ad exitum : nemo, in nullis rerum adiunctis, sibi vindicare potest ius mortem humanae creaturae innocenti directe afferendi.20

Human procreation requires on the part of the spouses responsible collaboration with the fruitful love of God; (21) the gift of human life must be actualized in marriage through the specific and exclusive acts of husband and wife, in accordance with the laws inscribed in their persons and in their union.(22) 

   Procreatio humana consciam coniugum cooperationem postulat cum fecundo amore Dei ; 21 donum vitae humanae fieri debet in matrimonio per actus proprios atque exclusivos coniugum, iuxta normas in eorum personis in eorumque coniugali vinculo inscriptas.0

   

I. RESPECT FOR HUMAN EMBRYOS

OBSERVANTIA ERGA EMBRYONES HUMANOS

   

Careful reflection on this teaching of the Magisterium and on the evidence of reason, as mentioned above, enables us to respond to the numerous moral problems posed by technical interventions upon the human being in the first phases of his life and upon the processes of his conception. 

   Iis attente perpensis, quae hac Magisterii Doctrina traduntur et quae per rationem cognita supra commemorata sunt, copia datur respondendi multiplicibus moralibus quaestionibus, quas in medio ponunt technici interventus in humano vivente, qui peraguntur in eius vitae primordiis atque in eius conceptionis processibus.

   

1. WHAT RESPECT IS DUE TO THE HUMAN EMBRYO, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT HIS NATURE AND IDENTITY?

1. QUAENAM OBSERVASTIA HUMANO EMBRYONI DEBETUR, RATIONE HABITA F.IUS NATURAE EIUSQUE IDENTITATIS?

   

The human being must be respected - as a person - from the very first instant of his existence.

   Viventi humano, uti personae, observantia debetur inde a primo eius vitae momento.

The implementation of procedures of artificial fertilization has made possible various interventions upon embryos and human foetuses. The aims pursued are of various kinds: diagnostic and therapeutic, scientific and commercial. From all of this, serious problems arise. Can one speak of a right to experimentation upon human embryos for the purpose of scientific research? What norms or laws should be worked out with regard to this matter? The response to these problems presupposes a detailed reflection on the nature and specific identity - the word “status” is used - of the human embryo itself .  

Methodi artificialis fecundationis, quae inductae sunt, effecerunt ut varii interventus haberi possint in embryonibus et fetiblls humanis. Diversas ob causas id fieri contingit : ob morborum diagnosim et curationem, ob scientiae investigationem, ob commercium. Ex his omnibus gravia gignuntur problemata. Licetne admittere ills experimenta in fetibus humanis peragendi, quae scientiae investigationibus deserviant? Quae normae sequendae et quae leges ferendae sunt hac in rerum provincia? Ut huiusmodi quaestionibns responsio detur, praevia diligens investigatio institnenda est de natura deque identitate propria — sermo fit de <<Statu»— embryonis humani.

At the Second Vatican Council, the Church for her part presented once again to modern man her constant and certain doctrine according to which: “Life once conceived, must be protected with the utmost care; abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes”. (23) More recently, the Charter of the Rights of the Family, published by the Holy See, confirmed that “Human life must be absolutely respected and protected from the moment of conception”.(24)

   Pro parte suaEcclesia in Concilio Vaticano II rursus nostrae aetatis hominibus constantem certamque doctrinam suam proposuit, vi cuius vita « inde a conceptione, maxima curatnenda est ; abortus necnon infantieidium nefanda snnt crimina ».23 Recentiore tempore Charta iurium familiae, a Sancta Sede edita, id ipsum confirmavit: « Vita humana prorsus observanda ac tuenda est inde a conceptione ».24

This Congregation is aware of the current debates concerning the beginning of human life, concerning the individuality of the human being and concerning the identity of the human person. The Congregation recalls the teachings found in the Declaration on Procured Abortion: “From the time that the ovum is fertilized, a new life is begun which is neither that of the father nor of the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already. To this perpetual evidence ... modern genetic science brings valuable confirmation. It has demonstrated that, from the first instant, the programme is fixed as to what this living being will be: a man, this individual-man with his characteristic aspects already well determined. Right from fertilization is begun the adventure of a human life, and each of its great capacities requires time ... to find its place and to be in a position to act”. (25) This teaching remains valid and is further confirmed, if confirmation were needed, by recent findings of human biological science which recognize that in the zygote* resulting from fertilization the biological identity of a new human individual is already constituted.

   Haec Congregatio probe compertas habet hodiernas disputationes de vitae humanae initio, de individna viventis humanis indole, deque personae humanae identitate. Ipse commemorat doctrinam, quae in Declaratione de abortu procurato continetur :« Semel atque ovum fecundatum est, iam inchoata est vita, quae neqne patris neque matris est, verum novi viventis humani, qui propter seipsum erescit. Is numquam ltumanus fiet, nisi iam tunc talis fuit. Scientia genetica recentioris temporis praeclare confirmat has res, quae manifesto semper patuerunt ... Ipsa videlicet demonstravit iam a primo momento adesse fixam structuram sen programma geneticum lluius viventis : hominem nempe, omnibus suis notis propriis praefinitisque iam ornatum. Ab ipsa fecundatione iniit mirificus cursus cuiusdam vitae llumanae, cuius singulae potentes facultates tempus poscunt, ut recte ordinentur atque ad agendum praeparentur Quae doctrina perstat valida, eademque, si opus sit, confirmatur recentioribus progressibus humanae biologiae, quae in zygoto * a fecundatione orto agnoscit iam novi individui humani constitutam esse biologicaln identitatem.

Certainly no experimental datum can be in itself sufficient to bring us to the recognition of a spiritual soul; nevertheless, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo provide a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of this first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person?  Fatendum quidem est nullum indicinm ex experimentis deductum per se satis esse ad animam spiritualem demonstrandam ; conclusiones tamen, ad quas pervenerllnt scientificae investigationes de humano embryone, pretiosa suppeditant elementa, ex quibus rationis ope dignosci potest personam iam adesse praesentem inde ab hac prima vitae humanae significatione : cur igitur vivens creatura humana non esset etiam persona humana?

 The Magisterium has not expressly committed itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature, but it constantly reaffirms the moral condemnation of any kind of procured abortion. This teaching has not been changed and is unchangeable.(26)

   Magisterium Ecclesiae expresse auctoritatem suam non interposuit circa hanc affirmationem, quae proprie ad philosophiam pertinet, at constanter moralem reprobationem confirmat cuiusvis abortus procurati. Quae doc•trina neque mutata est neque mntari potest.'‑

Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality.

  Quare fructus generationis humanae, inde a primo temporis momento quo exsistere incipit, hoc est a momento quo formatio zygoti inchoatur, absolutam illam exigit observantiam, quae ex lege morali homini debetur quoad totam suam rationem corporalem atque, spiritualem.

The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life. Creatura humana ut persona observanda atque traetanda est inde ab eius conceptione, ac propterea inde ab illo temporis momento ipsi agnoscenda sunt iura personae, quorum primum recensetur ius inviolabile ad vitam, qno nnusquisque creatura humana innocens gaudet.

This doctrinal reminder provides the fundamental criterion for the solution of the various problems posed by the development of the biomedical sciences in this field: since the embryo must be treated as a person, it must also be defended in its integrity, tended and cared for, to the extent possible, in the same way as any other human being as far as medical assistance is concerned. 

  Doctrinae capita modo exposita criterium praebent fnndamentale ad varia solvenda problemata, quae e progressu disciplinarum biomedicarum gignuntur in hoc campo : quoniam scilicet embryon ut persona tractandus est, inde seqnitur ut ei debeatur etiam snae integritatis defensio, idemque curandus ac sanandus sit sicut quilibet homo, quantum fieri potest, in ambitu medicae assistentiae.

* The zygote is the cell produced when the [nuclei of the] two gametes have fused. 

 • Zygotum est cellula orta a fusione duorum gametum.

   

2. IS PRENATAL DIAGNOSIS MORALLY LICIT?  

2. ESTNE MORALITER I.ICITA DIAGNOSIS PRAENATALIS?

   

If prenatal diagnosis respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human foetus and is directed towards its safeguarding or healing as an individual, then the answer is affirmative.

  Si diagnosis praenatalis tuetur vitam et integritatem embryonis et fetus humani atque spectat ad singulum embryonem servandum et eurandum, responsio est affia-matira.

For prenatal diagnosis makes it possible to know the condition of the embryo and of the foetus when still in the mother’s womb. It permits, or makes it possible to anticipate earlier and more effectively, certain therapeutic, medical or surgical procedures.

  Diagnosis praenatalis, enim, notas facere potest condiciones embryonis aut fetus, cum adhuc in sinu matris gestatar ; permittit vel sinit ut nonnulli intervent.us therapeutici, ope artis medicae vel chirurgicae, maturius atque efficacius praevideantur.

Such diagnosis is permissible, with the consent of the parents after they have been adequately informed, if the methods employed safeguard the life and integrity of the embryo and the mother, without subjecting them to disproportionate risks.(27)

  Huiusmodi diagnosis licita est, si methodis adhibitae, de consensn parentum qui rite rertiores facti sint, vitam et integritatem embryonis ac matris tueantur, vitando ne hi in pericnla hand proportionata committantur."

But this diagnosis is gravely opposed to the moral law when it is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion depending upon the results: a diagnosis which shows the existence of a malformation or a hereditary illness must not be the equivalent of a death-sentence. Thus a woman would be committing a gravely illicit act if she were to request such a diagnosis with the deliberate intention of having an abortion should the results conf rm the existence of a malformation or abnormality. The spouse or relatives or anyone else would similarly be acting in a manner contrary to the moral law if they were to counsel or impose such a diagnostic procedure on the expectant mother with the same intention of possibly proceeding to an abortion. So too the specialist would be guilty of illicit collaboration if, in conducting the diagnosis and in communicating its results, he were deliberately to contribute to establishing or favouring a link between prenatal diagnosis and abortion.

Ea tamen graviter legi morali adversatur, si, prout erit eius exitus, admittat abortum fieri posse : diagnosis, qua corporis deformatio vel morbus hereditarius deteguntur, aequiparanda non est damnationi ad mortem. Quare mulier quae diagnosim exquirit eo proposito, ut abortum procuret, si eius exitus confirmet corporis adesse deformitatem vel anomaliam, actionem committit graviter illicitam. Pariter coniux vel familiares vel quilibet alius dicendi sunt agere contra legem moralem, si mulieri praegnanti diagnosim suadeant vel imponant eodem ducti proposito, ut scilicet, si casns ferat, ad abortum procurandum procedatur. Item culpam illicitae cooperationis in se recipit etiam vir peritus, qui in diagnosi peragenda et in exitu communicando, consulto conferat ad nexum statuendum vel fovendum inter diagnosim praenatalem et abortum.

In conclusion, any directive or programme of the civil and health authorities or of scientific organizations which in any way were to favour a link between prenatal diagnosis and abortion, or which were to go as far as directly to induce expectant mothers to submit to prenatal diagnosis planned for the purpose of eliminating foetuses which are affected by malformations or which are carriers of hereditary illness, is to be condemned as a violation of the unborn child’s right to life and as an abuse of the prior rights and duties of the spouses, 

   Denique damnanda sunt tamquam violatio iuris ad vitam, quo nasciturus gaudet, et tamquam praevaricatio iurium et officiorum, quae ad parentes prae ceteris pertinent, illae directoriae normae vel programmata suscepta a civilibus auctoritatibus et a scientificis consociationibus, qui quoquo modo faveant conexioni inter diagnosim praenatalem et abortum, immo etiam impellant mulieres praegnantes ad se subiciendas diagnosi praenatali iam praestitutae, ut fetus de medio tollantur, qui corporis deformationibus vel morbis hereditariis sint affecti.

   

3. ARE THERAPEUTIC PROCEDURES CARRIED OUT ON THE HUMAN EMBRYO LICIT? 

3. LICETNE THERAPEUTICI INTERVENTUS IN HUMANO EMBRYONE?

   

As with all medical interventions on patients, one must uphold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it but are directed towards its healing, the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.

   Sicut quilibet artis medicae interventus in aegrotis, ita interventus in humano embryone liciti habendi sunt hac condicione, ut embryones vitam integritatemque observent, ne secumferant pericula haud proportionata sed spectent ad morbi curationem, ad salutis statum in melius mutandum et ad ipsius singularis fetus superstitem vitam in tuto ponendam.

Whatever the type of medical, surgical or other therapy, the free and informed consent of the parents is required, according to the deontological rules followed in the case of children. The application of this moral principle may call for delicate and particular precautions in the case of embryonic or foetal life. The legitimacy and criteria of such procedures have been clearly stated by Pope John Paul II: “A strictly therapeutic intervention whose explicit objective is the healing of various maladies such as those stemming from chromosomal defects will, in principle, be considered desirable, provided it is directed to the true promotion of the personal well-being of the individual without doing harm to his integrity or worsening his conditions of life. Such an intervention would indeed fall within the logic of the Christian moral tradition” (28)

    Quaecumque est medica therapia adhibita, ope artis chirurgicae vel alius generis curationis, semper requiritur liber et conscius parentum consensus, iuxta normas deontologicas erga pueros servandas. Huius moralis principii applicatio prudentes ac peculiares cautiones praecipere potest, cum de embryonum vita ac de fetibus agatur. Huiusmodi interventum liceitas et criteria dilucide exposita sunt a Ioanne Paulo II : c< Interventus prorsus therapeuticus intendens diversorum morborum curationem, cuiusmodi sunt morbi ex chromosomatum defectu, re lumine principiorum perpensa, optabilis sane est, dummodo coniunctum propositum habeat reapse consulendi prosperiori personae valetudini, nec damnum eius integritati afferatur aut vitae condiciones deteriores fiant. Huiusmodi interventus cum tradita morali christianorum doctrina plane cohaeret >).z8

4. HOW IS ONE TO EVALUATE MORALLY RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTATION* ON HUMAN EMBRYOS AND FOETUSES? 

4. QUOMODO AD NORMAM LEGIS MORALIS AESTIMANDA SUNT INVESTIGATIONES ATQUE EXPERIMENTA * IN EMBRYONIBUS ET IN FETIBUS HUMANIS?

Medical research must refrain from operations on live embryos, unless there is a moral certainty of not causing harm to the life or integrity of the unborn child and the mother, and on condition that the parents have givers their free and in formed consent to the procedure. It follows that all research, even when limited to the simple observation of the embryo, would become illicit were it to involve risk to the embryo’s physical integrity or life by reason of the methods used or the effects induced.

  Medica investigatio abstinere debet ab interventibus in embryonibus viventibus, nisi certitudine m,orali constet nullum damnum neque vitae neque integritati nascituri ac matris inde oriturum, itemque cautum esse, ut parentes liberum et conscium assensum praestiterint interventui in embryone. Hinc sequitur quamlibet investigationem, etsi ad solam embryonis inspectionem factam, illicitam evadere, quotiescumque, ob methodos adhibitas vel ob effectus inductos, per eam integritas physica aut embryonis vita in discrimen adducitur.

As regards experimentation, and presupposing the general distinction between experi;’nentation for purposes which are not directly therapeutic and experimentation which is clearly therapeutic for the subject himself, in the case in point one must also distinguish between experimentation carried out on embryos which are still alive and experimentation carried out on embryos which are dead. If the embryos are living, whether viable or not, they must be respected just like any other human person; experimentation on embryos which is not directly therapeutic is illicit.(29)

Ad experimenta autem quod attinet, praeter generalem distinctionem inter experimenta non directe therapeutic•aet ea quae directe ad curationem viventis in quo experimentum peragitur spectat, hac in re rursus distinguendum est inter experimeutain embryonibus adhuc viventibus et experimenta in embryonibus mortnis peracta. embryones vivunt, vitae autonomae capaces vel non, illa observantia eis adhibenda est, quae humanis personis debetur; experimenta non directe therapeutica in embryonibus illicita sunt."‑

No objective, even though noble in itself, such as a foreseeable advantage to science, to other human beings or to society, can in any way justify experimentation on living human embryos or foetuses, whether viable or not, either inside or outside the mother’s womb. The informed consent ordinarily required for clinical experimentation on adults cannot be granted by the parents, who may not freely dispose of the physical integrity or life of the unborn child. Moreover, experimentation on embryos and foetuses always involves risk, and indeed in most cases it involves the certain expectation of harm to their physical integrity or even their death.

    Nullus finis, quamvis per se nobilis, cuius generis sunt emolumenta quae obventura praevidentur scientiae, ceteris hominibus vel societati, comprobare ullo modo potest experimenta iu embryonihus vel fetibus humanis vivis, vitae humanae autonomae capacibus vel non, intra vel extra matris sinum degentibus. Conscius consensus, qui communiter requiritur ad experimenta clinica in adultis facienda, praestari non potest a parentibus, cum in eorum potestate non sint neque integritas phisica neque vita nascituri. Ceterum, experimenta in embryonibus vel fetibus semper secumferunt periculum, immo plerumque praevisionem certam damni contra eorum phisicam integritatem, ac vel etiam mortis.

To use human embryos or foetuses as the object or instrument of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings having a right to the same respect that is due to the child already born and to every human person. 

    Embryonem humanum vel fetnm adhibere tarnquam rem vel instrumentum experimentorum, delictunl est c•ontra eorum dignitatem propriam viventium llumanornm, quibus eadem observantia debetur, quae puero iam nato et cuilibet humanae personae est adhibenda.

The Charter of the Rights of the Family published by the Holy See affirms: “Respect for the dignity of the human being excludes all experimental manipulation or exploitation of the human embryo”.(30) The practice of keeping alive human embryos in vivo or in vitro for experimental or commercial purposes is totally opposed to human dignity. In the case of experimentation that is clearly therapeutic, namely, when it is a matter of experimental forms of therapy used for the benefit of the embryo itself in a final attempt to save its life, and in the absence of other reliable forms of therapy, recourse to drugs or procedures not yet fully tested can be licit (31) 

In Charta iurium familiae, a Sancta Sede edita, haec habentur :« Observantia erga viventis humani dignitatem prohibet quamlibet artificiosam tractationem experimenti causa factam et quenilibet abusum embryonis hnmani ».30 Usus viventes embryones humanos servandi, in vivo vel in ritro, uti aiunt, experimenti vel commercii causa, prorsus contrarius est humanat, dignitati. casu licitus esse potest usus pharmacorum vel methodorum, quorum efficacia hucusque nondum omnino confirmata est.31

The corpses of human embryos and foetuses, whether they have been deliberately aborted or not, must be respected just as the remains of other human beings. In particular, they cannot be subjected to mutilation or to autopsies if their death has not yet been verified and without the consent of the parents or of the mother. Furthermore, the moral requirements must be safeguarded that there be no complicity in deliberate abortion and that the risk of scandal be avoided. Also, in the case of dead foetuses, as for the corpses of adult persons, all commercial trafficking must be considered illicit and should be prohibited. 

  Ad embryonum vel fetuum cadarera, voluntarie abortiva zel non, eadem spectat obsert,antia, quae ceterorum mortuorum hominum exuviis adhibetur. Speciatim non licet haec cadavera mutilationibus aut autopsiae subicere, nisi certo constet de morte ac nisi praevius habeatur parentum aut matris consensus. Praeterea, semper salva legis moralis praescriptio esse debet, quae excludit quamlibet cum abortu volontario societatem et scandali periculum. Etiam cum agitur de fetibus mortuis, valent ea quae de adultorum cadaveribus praescribuntur, ac propterea quaevis commercii forma illicita est et prohiberi debet.

* Since the terms “research” and “experimentation” are often used equivalently and ambiguously, it is deemed necessary to specify the exact meaning given them in this document. 

   * Quoniam voces n investigatio » et (( experimentum » saepe usurpantur significatione aequali et ambigua, necessarium videtur explicare quaenam significatio tribuenda sit hisce vocibus in hos documento.

1) By research is meant any inductive-deductive process which aims at promoting the systematic observation of a given phenomenon in the human field or at verifying a hypothesis arising from previous observations. 

  1) Voce investigationis intelligitur quivis procedendi modus inductivus-deductivus eo spectans, ut promoveatur observatio systematica alicuius facti in campo humano, vel ut verificetur hypothesis orta ex praecedentibus observationibus.

2) By experimentation is meant any research in which the human being (in the various stages of his existence: embryo, foetus, child or adult) represents the object through which or upon which one intends to verify the effect, at present unknown or not sufficiently known, of a given treatment (e.g. pharmacological, teratogenic, surgical, etc.). 

  2) Voce experimenti intellegitur quaevis investigatio, in qua creatura humana (in variis temporibus eius exsistentiae: embryon, fetus, puer vel adultus) est id per quod vel super quo dignosci intenditur effectus, adhuc ignotus, vel nondum bene cognitus, alicuius procedendi modi (e. gr. pharmacologici, theratogeni, chirurgici, etc.).

5. HOW IS ONE TO EVALUATE MORALLY THE USE FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES OF EMBRYOS OBTAINED BY FERTILIZATION ‘IN VITRO’? 

5. QUAENAM ESSE DEBET AESTI:VIATIO MORALIS DE USU EMBRYONUM QUI, INVESTIGATIONIS CAUSA, HABENTUR OPE FECUNDATIONIS IN VITRO?

Human embryos obtained in vitro are human beings and subjects with rights: their dignity and right to life must be respected from the first moment of their existence. It is immoral to produce human embryos destined to be exploited as disposable “biological material

  Embryones humani in vitro producti habendi sunt creaturae humanae et iuris capaces : eorum dignitas eorumque ius ad vitam observanda sunt inde a primo eorum vitae momento. Morum igitur honestati contrarium est embryones humanos gignere ad abutendum, scilicet ut efficiantur cc materia biologica », quae praesto sit ad usum.

”. In the usual practice of in vitro fertilization, not all of the embryos are transferred to the woman’s body; some are destroyed.

  Modus, quo communiter fecundatio in vitro obtinetur, non sinit ut omnes embryones in corpus mulieris transferantur ; eorum nonnulli interficiuntur.

Just as the Church condemns induced abortion, so she also forbids acts against the life of these human beings. It is a duty to condemn the particular gravity of the voluntary destruction of human embryos obtained ‘in vitro’ for the sole purpose of research, either by means of artificial insemination of by means of “twin fission”. By acting in this way the researcher usurps the place of God; and, even though he may be unaware of this, he sets himself up as the master of the destiny of others inasmuch as he arbitrarily chooses whom he will allow to live and whom he will send to death and kills defenceless human beings. 

Quare Ecclesia, sicut abortum procuratum damnat, ita etiam prohibet, ne vita harum humanarum creaturarum attentetur. Conscientiae o f ficium postulat, ut palam denuntietur peculiaris gravitas voluntariae interfectionis embryonum humanorum, qui in vitro obtenti sunt ad solum investigationis finem, ope sive fecundationis artificialis, sive « fixionis gemellaris », quam rocant. Hac agendi ratione investigator se in locum Dei substituit atque, licet inconscius, se efficit dominum aliorum sortis, quippe qui arbitratu suo decernat quis vivat et quis morte afflciatur, idemque creaturas humanas interficiat, quae defensione carent.

Methods of observation or experimentation which damage or impose grave and disproportionate risks upon embryos obtained in vitro are morally illicit for the same reasons. every human being is to be respected for himself, and cannot be reduced in worth to a pure and simple instrument for the advantage of others. It is therefore not in conformity with the moral law deliberately to expose to death human embryos obtained ‘in vitro’. In consequence of the fact that they have been produced in vitro, those embryos which art not transferred into the body of the mother and are called “spare” are exposed to an absurd fate, with no possibility of their being offered safe means of survival which can be licitly pursued. 

  Methodi investigationes vel experimenta peragendi, quae damna afferant vel gravia et haud proportionata pericula embryonibus in vitro productis imponant, ob easdem rationes illicitae habendae sunt. Cuilibet humanae creaturae propter se ipsam observantia debetur, neque haec tractanda atque aestimanda est solum sicut instrumentum in aliorum adhibendum. Moralibus igitur normis contradicitur, si data opera embryones humani in vitro producti morti exponuntur. Eo quod in vitro producti sunt, hi embryones, qui in matris corpus non translati « supranumerarii » vocantur, sorti absurdae obnoxii permanent, quippe quibus securae viae non pateant ad superstitem vitam, quas ingredi liceat.

6. WHAT JUDGMENT SHOULD BE MADE ON OTHER PROCEDURES OF MANIPULATING EMBRYOS CONNECTED WITH THE “TECHNIQUES OF HUMAN REPRODUCTION”? 

6. QUOMODO IUDICANDAE SUNT CETERAE FORMAE ARTIFICIOSAE TRACTATIONIS EMBRYONUM, QUAE CONECTUNTUR CUM (( TECHNICIS RATIONIRUS HUMANAE PROCREATIONIS))?

Techniques of fertilization in vitro can open the way to other forms of biological and genetic manipulation of human embryos, such as attempts or plans for fertilization between human and animal gametes and the gestation of human embryos in the uterus of animals, or the hypothesis or project of constructing artificial uteruses for the human embryo. These procedures are contrary to the human dignity proper to the embryo, and at the same time they are contrary to the right of every person to be conceived and to be born within marriage and from marriage.(32) Also, attempts or hypotheses for obtaining a human being without any connection with sexuality through “twin fission”, cloning or parthenogenesis are to be considered contrary to the moral law, since they are in opposition to the dignity both of human procreation and of the conjugal union. 

   Rationes technicae fecundationis in vitro aditum patefacere possunt ad alias formas artificiosae tractationis biologicae vel geneticae embryonum humanorum, cuiusmodi sunt. conatus vel proposita fecundationis inter hominum et animalium gametes, et gestationis embryonum humanorum in uteris animalium ; coniecturae vel consilia artificiales uteros fabricandi ad embryones excipiendos. Huiusmodi procedendi rationes repugnant creaturae humanae dignitati quae ad embryonem spectat, simulque ius laedunt uniuscuiusque personae ut concipiatur et nascatur in matrimonio et ex matrimonio.32 Conatus quoque vel coniecturae eo spectantes ut creatura humana gignatur absque ulla colligatione cum sexualitate per (( fixionem gemellarem )), clonationem, parthenogenesim, uti aiunt, habenda sunt pro re morum honestati contraria, quippe quae cum dignitate sive procreationis humanae sive coniugalis coniunctionis nullo modo cohaereant.

The freezing of embryos, even when carried out in order to preserve the life of an embryo - cryopreservation - constitutes an offence against the respect due to human beings by exposing them to grave risks of death or harm to their physical integrity and depriving them, at least temporarily, of maternal shelter and gestation, thus placing them in a situation in which further offences and manipulation are possible. 

   Ipsa embryonum congelatio, etsi peragatur ad embryones in vita conservandos — quod (( crioconservationem » vocant — observantiam violat viventibus humanis debitam, cum eorum phisicam integritatem in gravia mortis vel damni pericula adducat, eos privet saltem ad tem‑pus materna receptione ac gestatione, eosdemque constituat talibus in adiunctis, ut inde via pateat ad novas violationes novasque artificiosas tractationes.

Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. These manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his or her integrity and identity. Therefore in no way can they be justified on the grounds of possible beneficial consequences for future humanity. (33) Every person must be respected for himself: in this consists the dignity and right of every human being from his or her beginning. 

  Nonnulli conatus interveniendi in patrimonio cromosomico vel genetico non sunt therapeutici, sed spectant ad viventes humanos gignendos, selectos secundum sexum vel alias proprietates iam antea praestitutas. Huiusmodi artificiosae tractationes adversantur personali humanae creaturae dignitati eiusque integritati atque identitati. Eaedem igitur nullo modo comprobari possunt ob commoda, quae in societatis humanae bonum forte inde obvenire posse praevideantur.33 Quaelibet humana persona per se ipsam observanda est : in hoc dignitas et ius consistunt uniuscuiusque creaturae humanae inde ab ipsius initio.

II INTERVENTIONS UPON HUMAN PROCREATION 

II INTERVENTUS IN HUMANA PROCREATIONE

By “artificial procreation” or “ artificial fertilization” are understood here the different technical procedures directed towards obtaining a human conception in a manner other than the sexual union of man and woman. This Instruction deals with fertilization of an ovum in a test-tube (in vitro fertilization) and artificial insemination through transfer into the woman’s genital tracts of previously collected sperm. 

  « Procreationis artificialis » seu « fecundationis artificialis n nomine hic intelleguntur variae technicae rationes eo spectantes, ut humanus conceptus habeatur modo diverso a sexuali coniunctione maris et feminae. Instructio agit de fecundatione ovuli in tubulo vitreo (dicunt « fecundationem in vitro »), ac de satione seminis arte quaesita, per depositionem spermatis, antea collecti, in viis mulieris genitalibus.

A preliminary point for the moral evaluation of such technical procedures is constituted by the consideration of the circumstances and consequences which those procedures involve in relation to the respect due the human embryo. Development of the practice of in vitro fertilization has required innumerable fertilizations and destructions of human embryos. Even today, the usual practice presupposes a hyperovulation on the part of the woman: a number of ova are withdrawn, fertilized and then cultivated in vitro for some days. Usually not all are transferred into the genital tracts of the woman; some embryos, generally called “spare “, are destroyed or frozen. On occasion, some of the implanted embryos are sacrificed for various eugenic, economic or psychological reasons. Such deliberate destruction of human beings or their utilization for different purposes to the detriment of their integrity and life is contrary to the doctrine on procured abortion already recalled.

  Ut autem de talibus technicis artibus iudicari possit secundum legem moralem, oportet sane prius considerentur sive adiuncta sive consectaria ex iis manentia, ratione habita observantiae erga humanum embryonem adhibendae. Usus enim invalescens fecundationis in vitro effecit ut innumerae habitae sint fecundationes et destructiones embryonum humanorum. Hodie quoque haec fecundatio communiter postulat, ut in muliere « hyperovulatio » excitetur : quaedam ovula secernuntur, fecundantur et aluntur in vitro per aliquot dies. Fieri autem solet, ut non omnes embryones collocentur in viis mulieris genitalibus ; quare nonnulli embryonum illorum, quos (( supranumerarios » appellant, aut destruuntur aut congelantur. Ex embryonibus autem in suo loco collocatis, aliqui variis de causis pereunt sive eugeneticis, sive oeconomicis, sive psychologicis. Talis voluntaria creaturarum humanarum clades, aut etiam illarum ad diversa usus, cum detrimento earum integritatis ac vitae, abhorret omnino a doctrina quae memorata iam est, cum de procurato abortu est pertractatum.

The connection between in vitro fertilization and the voluntary destruction of human embryos occurs too often. This is significant: through these procedures, with apparently contrary purposes, life and death are subjected to the decision of man, who thus sets himself up as the giver of life and death by decree. This dynamic of violence and domination may remain unnoticed by those very individuals who, in wishing to utilize this procedure, become subject to it themselves. The facts recorded and the cold logic which links them must be taken into consideration for a moral judgment on IVF and ET (in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer): the abortion-mentality which has made this procedure possible thus leads, whether one wants it or not, to man’s domination over the life and death of his fellow human beings and can lead to a system of radical eugenics. 

  Nexus qui inter fecundationem in vitro et voluntariam peremptionem humanorum embryonum intercedit, nimio plus usu venit. Id est significationis plenum : hisce enim artibus, quamquam contraria appetuntur, mors et vita tandem in hominis voluntatem rediguntur, qui hoc modo se vitae necisqne auctorem constitnit, idque alieno inssu. Haec dynamica conexio violentiae ac dominii fortasse nec ab iis quidem percipitur, qui hisce artibus uti volentes, eisdem revera deserviunt. Quare tum facta supra memorata, tnrn illorum coniunctio, humanitatis expers, plane considerentur oportet, ut morale iudicium fiat de methodo FIVET (hoc est de fecundatione ovuli in vitro et de embryonis translatione) : nam mentis llabitus proclivis ad abortum, qui tandem ad haec conduxit, inducit etiam, velimus nolimus, ad dominium hominis in vita ac morte proximorum, ex quo nasci potest « eugenismns » ad extremam formam adductus.

Nevertheless, such abuses do not exempt one from a further and thorough ethical study of the techniques of artificial procreation considered in themselves, abstracting as far as possible from the destruction of embryos produced in vitro.

  Huiusmodi tamen abusus non sane nos eximunt, ne in ulteriore methodorum procreationis artificialis consideratione immoremur ut sunt in se, praetermissa videlicet nunc, quantum fieri potest, destructione embryonum qui in vitro producti sunt.

The present Instruction will therefore take into consideration in the first place the problems posed by heterologous artificial fertilization (II, 1-3), * and subsequently those linked with homologous artificial fertilization (II, 4-6 )

  In hac igitur Instructione priores in medium venient quaestiones fecundationis artificialis heterologae (II, 1-3)* ; illae, deinde, quae cum fecundatione artificiali homologa collectuntur (I1, 4-6)**.    

.** Before formulating an ethical judgment on each of these procedures, the principles and values which determine the moral evaluation of each of them will be considered. 

Antequam autem morale iudicium feratur de utraque quaestione, principia ac bona ordinis moralis exponuntur, e quibus dependet moralis aestimatio uniuscuiusque harum procedendi rationum.

* By the term heterologous artificial fertilization or procreation, the Instruction means techniques used to obtain a human conception artificially by the use of gametes coming from at least one donor other than the spouses who are joined in marriage. Such techniques can be of two types 

   * Instruetio per verba fecundatio seu procreatio arttificialis heterologa varias rationes intellegit quibus ope technicae artis humanus conceptus obtinetur adhibitis gametibus qui, saltem ex una parte, proveniunt a donatore diverso a coniugibus, qui matrimonio copuL:ntur. Eae artes, seu technicae rationes, binae esse possunt:

a) Heterologous IVF and ET: the technique used to obtain a human conception through the meeting in vitro of gametes taken from at least one donor other than the two spouses joined in marriage. 

  a) FIVET heterologa: ars technica in qua conceptus humanus expetitur per concursurn gametum in vitro qui, saltem ex una parte, e donatore proveniant, qui non eit e numero coniugum, qui matrimonio iunguntur.

b) Heterologous artifical insemination: the technique used to obtain a human conception through the transfer into the genital tracts of the woman of the sperm previously collected from a donor other than the husband. 

   b) Seminatio artificialis heterologa: ars technica eo spectans, ut conceptus hum„nus obtineatur per depositionem virilis seminis, neinpe antea collecti, in viis rnulieris genitalibus, e donatore qui non sit maritus.

** By artificial homologous fertilization or procreation, the Instruction means the technique used to obtain a human conception using the gametes of the two spouses joined in marriage. Homologous artificial fertilization can be carried out by two different methods:

   " Nomine jecundationis seu procreationis artiJlcialis Aomologae Instructio technicam artem intellegit, cuius ope hum::nus conceptus expetitur adhibitis gametibus duorum coniugum matrimonium iunctorurn. Fecundatio artificialis homologa duobus modis obtineri potest:

a) Homologous IVF and ET: the technique used to obtain a human conception through the meeting in vitro of the gametes of the spouses joined in marriage. 

  a) FIVET homologa: ars technica qua conceptus humanus quaeritur per concursurn in vitro gametum qui pertinent ad ipsos eoniuges matrimonio iunctos.

b) Homologous artificial insemination: the technique used to obtain a human conception through the transfer into the genital tracts of a married woman of the sperm previously collected from her husband. 

   b) Seminatio artificiolis homologa: ars technica eo respiciens, ut humanus conceptus habeatur deponendo in viis genitalibus coniugatae mulieris sernen mariti, antea collectum.

A. HETEROLOGOUS ARTIFICIAL FERTILIZATION 

FECUNDATIO ARTIFICIALIS HETEROLOGA

1. WHY MUST HUMAN PROCREATION TAKE PLACE IN MARRIAGE? 

1. CUR HUMANA PROCREATIO I1 MATRIMOtiIO FIERI DEBEAT?

Every human being is always to be accepted as a gift and blessing of God. However, from the moral point of view a truly responsible procreation vis-à-vis the unborn child must be the fruit of marriage. 

  Quaevis humana creatura est semper tamquam Dei donum ac benedictio accipienda. _1ttamen, si ad moralia principia spectetur, dicendum est procreationem vere consciam erga nasciturum e solo matrimonio oriri posse.

For human procreation has specific characteristics by virtue of the personal dignity of the parents and of the children: the procreation of a new person, whereby the man and the woman collaborate with the power of the Creator, must be the fruit and the sign of the mutual self-giving of the spouses, of their love and of their fidelity.(34) The fidelity of the spouses in the unity of marriage involves reciprocal respect of their right to become a father and a mother only through each other.

  Humana enim procreatio notis omnino propriis ab aliis distinguitur ob personalem dignitatem sive parentum sive filiorum : nam novae personae procreatio, in qua vir mulierque suam cnm potentia Creatoris operam sociant, oportet sit simul fructus atque signum mutuae coniugum donationis, simul amoris atque fidelitatis eorum.34 Coniugum autem fidelitas, in unitate matrirnonii, secumfert mutuam observantiam erga ius utriuslibet, ad hoc ut alter pater aut mater fiat solummodo per alterum.

The child has the right to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up within marriage: it is through the secure and recognized relationship to his own parents that the child can discover his own identity and achieve his own proper human development.

  Filius ius habet ut concipiatur, alvo contineatur, nascatur, educetur in matrimonio : is solummodo ad snos parentes referendo, certa atque publica ratione identitatem suam cognoscere potest, atque suam hominis formationem ad maturitatem perducere.

The parents find in their child a confirmation and completion of their reciprocal self-giving: the child is the living image of their love, the permanent sign of their conjugal union, the living and indissoluble concrete expression of their paternity and maternity, (35)

  Parentes autem reperient in filio confirmationem atque complementum mutuae suae ipsorum donationis : est enim ille spirans amoris illorum imago, signum perpetuum coniugalis coniunctionis, summa seu synthesis vivens atque indissolubilis paternitatis ac maternitatis illorum.'s

By reason of the vocation and social responsibilities of the person, the good of the children and of the parents contributes to the good of civil society; the vitality and stability of society require that children come into the world within a family and that the family be firmly based on marriage.

  Vi autem socialis vocationis personae eiusque socialium officiorum, bonum filiorum ac parentum sane confert ad bonum civilis societatis, cuius vitae prosperitas et aequilibritas id poscunt, ut filii enascantur in gremio familiae, et haec in matrimonio stabili innitatur.

The tradition of the Church and anthropological reflection recognize in marriage and in its indissoluble unity the only setting worthy of truly responsible procreation. 

  Traditio Ecclesiae atque consideratio anthropologica solummodo in matrimonio in eiusque indissolubili vinculo agnoscunt dignam sedem vere consciae procreationis.

2. DOES HETEROLOGOUS ARTIFICIAL FERTILIZATION CONFORM TO THE DIGNITY OF THE COUPLE AND TO THE TRUTH OF MARRIAGE? 

2. FECUNDATIO ARTIFICIALIS HETEROLOGA CONGRUITNE CUM DIGNITATE CONIUGUM CUMQUE MATRIMONII VERITATE?

Through IVF and ET and heterologous artificial insemination, human conception is achieved through the fusion of gametes of at least one donor other than the spouses who are united in marriage. Heterologous artificial fertilization is contrary to the unity of marriage, to the dignity of the spouses, to the vocation proper to parents, and to the child’s right to be conceived and brought into the world in marriage and from marriage.(36)

   In methodo FIVET et in seminatione artificiali heterologa humanus conceptus fit per concursum gametum, qui saltem ex una parte e donante proveniant qui sit diversus a coniugibus. At fecundatio artificialis heterologa tum unitati matrimonii, tum coniugum dignitati, tum vocationi parentum propriae aperte contradicit, itemque iuri filii ad quem spectat ut et concipiatur et enascatltr in matrimonio et per matrtimontium.''

Respect for the unity of marriage and for conjugal fidelity demands that the child be conceived in marriage; the bond existing between husband and wife accords the spouses, in an objective and inalienable manner, the exclusive right to become father and mother solely through each other.(37) Recourse to the gametes of a third person, in order to have sperm or ovum available, constitutes a violation of the reciprocal commitment of the spouses and a grave lack in regard to that essential property of marriage which is its unity.

   Reverentia erga matrimonii unitatem et fidem coniugalem id poscit, ut filius in matrimonio concipiatur. Vinculum, quod inter coniuges intercedit, ius exclusivum dat illis obiectivum atque inalienabile, ut uterque fiat pater et mater nonnisi per alterum." Usus gametum extraneae personae, ut ovulum aut sperma comparentur, iam foedus frangit coniugum mutuum, graviterque violat praecipuam matrimonii dotem, quae in unitate consistit.

Heterologous artificial fertilization violates the rights of the child; it deprives him of his filial relationship with his parental origins and can hinder the maturing of his personal identity. Furthermore, it offends the common vocation of the spouses who are called to fatherhood and motherhood: it objectively deprives conjugal fruitfulness of its unity and integrity; it brings about and manifests a rupture between genetic parenthood, gestational parenthood and responsibility for upbringing. Such damage to the personal relationships within the family has repercussions on civil society: what threatens the unity and stability of the family is a source of dissension, disorder and injustice in the whole of social life

   Fecundatio artificialis heterologa filii iura laedit : privat enim illum naturali illa necessitudine, quae inter filium et parentes intercedit, atque officere potest illius personae maturationi. Ad hoc, talis procreatio communem offendit coniugum vocationem, utpote qui ad paternitatem atque maternitatem vocentur; ipsam fecunditatem unitate et integritate re vera destituit ; divortium inducit ac prodit inter cognationem ex generatione, cognationem ex praegnatione, et munus edu‑candi. Ceterum, necessitudinum corruptio quae intercedunt inter personas familiae, in civilem etiam societatem redundat : quidquid enim unitatem stabilitatemque familiae corrumpit, id est etiam origo dissensionum, perturbationum atque iniustitiarum in tota sociali compagine.

. These reasons lead to a negative moral judgment concerning heterologous artificial fertilization: consequently fertilization of a married woman with the sperm of a donor different from her husband and fertilization with the husband’s sperm of an ovum not coming from his wife are morally illicit. Furthermore, the artificial fertilization of a woman who is unmarried or a widow, whoever the donor may be, cannot be morally justified. 

   Haec omnia sane inducunt, ut nonnisi severum iudicium morale de fecunditate artifieiali heterologa detur. Quare est m-oraliter illicita fecundatio mulieris spermate facta viri donantis, qui sit diversus a coniuge; item et fecundatio quae fiat per maritale sperma cum ovulo non propriae mulieris. Praeterea nullimode probari potest fecundatio mulieris non coniugatae, sive nubilis est sive vidua, e quovis donatore.

The desire to have a child and the love between spouses who long to obviate a sterility which cannot be overcome in any other way constitute understandable motivations; but subjectively good intentions do not render heterologous artificial fertilization conformable to the objective and inalienable properties of marriage or respectful of the rights of the child and of the spouses. 

   Nimirum filii habendi desiderium et amor coniugum volentium perpetuae sterilitati obviam ire, cui alio modo mederi non possunt, consideratione sane digna sunt ; sed bona in se voluntas non profecto efficere potest, ut fecundatio artificialis heterologa iudicari possit conveniens qualitatibus matrimonii propriis atque inalienabilibus, pariterque observans iurium filiorum atque coniugum.

3. IS “SURROGATE”* MOTHERHOOD MORALLY LICIT? 

3. MATERNITAS (( SUBSTITUTIVA )) * ESTNE MORALITER LICITA?

No, for the same reasons which lead one to reject heterologous artificial fertilization: for it is contrary to the unity of marriage and to the dignity of the procreation of the human person.

   Nullatenus; et id quidem iisdem de causis, quibus est fecundatio artificialis heterologa reicienda: opponitur enim tum unitati matrimonii, tum etiam dignitati procreationis personae humanae.

Surrogate motherhood represents an objective failure to meet the obligations of maternal love, of conjugal fidelity and of responsible motherhood; it offends the dignity and the right of the child to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up by his own parents; it sets up, to the detriment of families, a division between the physical, psychological and moral elements which constitute those families. 

   A maternitate substitutiva enim abest verum fundamentum, in quo innitantur obligationes propriae tum amoris materni, tum coniugalis fidelitatis, tum consciae maternitatis. Laedit praeterea talis maternitas filii dignitatem, cui ius est ut concipiatur, feratur in sinu, edatur, a parentibusque educetur; eadem divisionem quoque gignit, nimirum cum detrimento familiarum, elementorum physicorum, psychicorum atque moralium, e quibus familiae ipsae coalescunt.

* By “surrogate mother” the Instruction means: 

• Coniunctis verbis mater substitutiva Instructio intendit:

a) the woman who carries in pregnancy an embryo implanted in her uterus and who is genetically a stranger to the embryo because it has been obtained through the union of the gametes of “donors”. She carries the pregnancy with a pledge to surrender the baby once it is born to the party who commissioned or made the agreement for the pregnancy. 

a) mulierem, embryonem gestantecn, qui arte in eius sinu collocatus est, quique proinde, spectatis geneticae legibus, ei extraneus est, cum obtentus fuerit per conenrsum g:ametum donatorucn extraneorum, et ea quidem lege, ut puer qui nascetur ei tiadatur qui talem pregnationem commiserit vel pacto mandaverit.

b) the woman who carries in pregnancy an embryo to whose procreation she has contributed the donation of her own ovum, fertilized through insemination with the sperm of a man other than her husband. She carries the pregnancy with a pledge to surrender the child once it is born to the party who commissioned or made the agreement for the pregnancy. 

b) mulierem, embryonem gestantem, cuius procreationi ipsa proprio contulit ovulo, quidem per seminationem spermatis viri fecundato, qui est alius a marito, ea item . ut puer, cum natus fuerit, ei tradatur qui pregnationem commiserit vel pacto verit.

IIB Homologous Artificial Fertilization

 

 

 

B HOMOLOGOUS ARTIFICIAL FERTILIZATION 

B FECUNDATIO ARTIFICIALIS HODIOLOGA

 

 

Since heterologous artificial fertilization has been declared unacceptable, the question arises of how to evaluate morally the process of homologous artificial fertilization: IVF and ET and artificial insemination between husband and wife. First a question of principle must be clarified. 

  Reprobata fecundatione artificiali heterologa, iam quaeritur quo modo, iuxta leges morales, iudicari debeant artes et viae fecundationis artificialis homologae, id est methodus FIVET atque seminatio artificialis inter coniuges. Quam ad rem oportet sane ut, prooemii ritu, quaestio enucleetur, quae ad ipsa principia pertinet.

 

 

4. WHAT CONNECTION IS REQUIRED FROM THE MORAL POINT OF VIEW BETWEEN PROCREATION AND THE CONJUGAL ACT?

4. QUI NEXUS INTERCEDERE DEBEAT, AD MORUM LEGES, INTER PROCREATIONEM ET ACTUM CONIUGUM PROPRIUM?

 

 

a) The Church’s teaching on marriage and human procreation affirms the “inseparable connection, willed by God and unable to be broken by man on his own initiative, between the two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning. Indeed, by its intimate structure, the conjugal act, while most closely uniting husband and wife, capacitates them for the generation of new lives, according to laws inscribed in the very being of man and of woman”.(38) This principle, which is based upon the nature of marriage and the intimate connection of the goods of marriage, has well-known consequences on the level of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. “By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its ordination towards man’s exalted vocation to parenthood”.(39)

  a) Doctrina Ecclesiae de matrimonio deque humana procreatione docet esse nexum indissolubilem cc a Deo statutum, quem homini sua sponte infrangere non licet, inter significationem Ilnitatis et significationem procreationis, quae ambae in actu coniugali insunt. Etenim propter intimam suam rationem, coniugii actus, dum maritum et uxorem artissimo sociat vinculo, eos idoneos etiam facit ad novam vitam gignendam, secundum leges in ipsa viri et mulieris natura inscriptas ».38 Ex quo principio, in ipsa matrimonii natura innixo atque in intima conexione bonorum eius, bene cognita consectaria enascnntur, quae paternitatem consciamque maternitatem respiciunt. cc Quodsi utraque eiusmodi essentialis ratio, unitatis videlicet et procreationis, servatur, usus matrimonii sensum mutui verique amoris suumque ordinem ad celsissimum paternitatis munus omnino retinet, ad quod homo vocatur ».39

The same doctrine concerning the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and between the goods of marriage throws light on the moral problem of homologous artificial fertilization, since “it is never permitted to separate these different aspects to such a degree as positively to exclude either the procreative intention or the conjugal relation” (40)

  Eadem doctrina quae vincula intercedere ostendit inter significationes actus coniugalis et bona matrimonii propria, quaestionem moralem illustrat de fecundatione artificiali homologa : siquidem a nunquam fas est hos diversos aspectus ita separare, ut consulto excludantur vel intentio procreandi vel coniugum coitus n.40

Contraception deliberately deprives the conjugal act of its openness to procreation and in this way brings about a voluntary dissociation of the ends of marriage. Homologous artificial fertilization, in seeking a procreation which is not the fruit of a specific act of conjugal union, objectively effects an analogous separation between the goods and the meanings of marriage.

  Methodi contra conceptionem ex industria impendiunt, ne actus coniugalis pateat ad procreationem, atque idcirco effieiunt ut voluntarie fines matrimonii dissocientur. Fecundatio vero artificialis homologa, procreationem persequens quae non ex actu proprio unionis conillgalis consequitur, obiective separationem analogam operatur inter bona atque significationes matrimonii.

Thus, fertilization is licitly sought when it is the result of a “conjugal act which is per se suitable for the generation of children to which marriage is ordered by its nature and by which the spouses become one flesh”.(41) But from the moral point of view procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not desired as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say of the specific act of the spouses’ union. 

   Quare, ea fecundatio licite appetitur, quae manat ex actu coniugali qui natura sua aptus sit u ad prolis generationem, ad quem natura sua ordinatur matrimoniurn, et quo coniuges fiunt una caro Eade(n rero procreatio tunc debita sua perfectione destituitur sub aspectu morali, cum animo non intenditur ut fructus coniugalis actus seu illius gestus qui est proprius unionis coniugum. —

b ) The moral value of the intimate link between the goods of marriage and between the meanings of the conjugal act is based upon the unity of the human being, a unity involving body and spiritual soul. (42) Spouses mutually express their personal love in the “language of the body “, which clearly involves both “sponsal meanings” and parental ones.(43) The conjugal act by which the couple mutually express their self-gift at the same time expresses openness to the gift of life. It is an act that is inseparably corporal and spiritual. It is in their bodies and through their bodies that the spouses consummate their marriage and are able to become father and mother. In order to respect the language of their bodies and their natural generosity, the conjugal union must take place with respect for its openness to procreation; and the procreation of a person must be the fruit and the result of married love. The origin of the human being thus follows from a procreation that is “linked to the union, not only biological but also spiritual, of the parents, made one by the bond of marriage”.(44) Fertilization achieved outside the bodies of the couple remains by this very fact deprived of the meanings and the values which are expressed in the language of the body and in the union of human persons. 

  b) Morale antem momentnm interioris vincnli intercedentis inter matrimonii bona et sensus actns coniugalis, innititur in unitate bominis, qni corpore et :u(ima spirituali roalescit.42 Coniuges mutnnm personalem amorem ostendunt u lingua corporis propria », quae clare simul secnmfe.rt significationem ll sponealem », uti dicunt.43 Coningalis actus, quo coniuges mntuo donnm sui manifestant, exprimit sinlnl in se viam patere ad dommm vitae rommmnicandtlrn : est actus indivisibiliter corporalis ac spiritualis. In corpore atqlie per corpus coniuges matrimoninm exercent, ac postilult pater materque fieri. Ut antem lingna corpornm eornmtlae natnralis significatiolnlm nbertas serventnr, oportet roninnctio coningalis ita fiat, ut pateat a(l procreationem, et procreatio personae hnmanae sit frnctns pariter at• terminns roningalis amoris. Itaquc origo creatnrae lulmanae protiriscitnr e tali procreatione u quae ncctitur cnm unione non modo biologica, sed etiam spirituali parentum, matrimonio vinculo iugatormm n.4° Fecllndatio quae extra corpns coningum obtineatur, ob id ipstlm tum significationiblls tum valoribns caret, q)1<le corpornm lingna atque coniunctione personarnm humanarnnl exprimlultnr.

c) Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person. In his unique and irrepeatable origin, the child must be respected and recognized as equal in personal dignity to those who give him life. The human person must be accepted in his parents’ act of union and love; the generation of a child must therefore be the fruit of that mutual giving (45) which is realized in the conjugal act wherein the spouses cooperate as servants and not as masters in the work of the Creator who is Love

  c) Praetereasolummodo observantia erga vincnlnm qnod inter significationes actns colling<ilis intercetlit, et ohservantia erga viventis hnmani nnitate.m id eilicinnt, ut prorreatio babeatur, qnae congrnat cnm humanae personae dignitate. In ana origine, qnae unica est atqne iterari neqnit, filills, qnoad dignitatem personxt•, oportt•t honoretnr et sgnoscatnr aequalis iis, qni ei vitam largilnitur. Persona hnmana excipienda est per gestum unionis et amoris suorum parentum ; ac proinde filii generatio oportet sit mutuae donationis fructus,45 quae comitatur actum coniugalem, in quo quidem coniuges non tamquam domini, sed servorum instar operi Amoris Creatoris sociantur."

. In reality, the origin of a human person is the result of an act of giving. The one conceived must be the fruit of his parents’ love. He cannot be desired or conceived as the product of an intervention of medical or biological techniques; that would be equivalent to reducing him to an object of scientific technology. No one may subject the coming of a child into the world to conditions of technical efficiency which are to be evaluated according to standards of control and dominion.

   Origo humanae personae est reapse donationis efiectus ; conceptusque filius oportet sit fructus amoris suorum parentum. Nequit autem is aut appeti aut concipi tamquam medicarum et biologicarum artium effectus; hoc enim idem esset ac hominem reddere quiddam obnoxium scientiae technologicae. At nemo potest pueri ortum obnoxium facere condicionibus efficacitatis technicae, quae ad normas inspectionis ac dominii mensuratur.

The moral relevance of the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and between the goods of marriage, as well as the unity of the human being and the dignity of his origin, demand that the procreation of a human person be brought about as the fruit of the conjugal act specific to the love between spouses. The link between procreation and the conjugal act is thus shown to be of great importance on the anthropological and moral planes, and it throws light on the positions of the Magisterium with regard to homologous artificial fertilization. 

   Morale igitur momentum ne~us intercedentis inter significationes aetus eoniugali8 et bona matrimonii, itemque unitas humanae creaturae atque dignitas eius originis, id poscunt ut humanae personae procreatio habeatur veluti fructus actus coniugalis, qui est nota propria mutui coniugum amoris. Vinculum ergo procreationem cum actu coniugali copulans, est sane res magni momenti in campo tum anthropologico tum etiam morali ; idque causa est, cur Ecclesiae Magisterium erga fecundationem artificialem homologam ita se habeat.

5. IS HOMOLOGOUS ‘IN VITRO’ FERTILIZATION MORALLY LICIT? 

5. FECIINDATIO HOMOLOGA IN VITRO ESTNE MORALITER LICITA?

The answer to this question is strictly dependent on the principles just mentioned. Certainly one cannot ignore the legitimate aspirations of sterile couples. For some, recourse to homologous IVF and ET appears to be the only way of fulfilling their sincere desire for a child. The question is asked whether the totality of conjugal life in such situations is not sufficient to ensure the dignity proper to human procreation. It is acknowledged that IVF and ET certainly cannot supply for the absence of sexual relations (47) and cannot be preferred to the specific acts of conjugal union, given the risks involved for the child and the difficulties of the procedure. But it is asked whether, when there is no other way of overcoming the sterility which is a source of suffering, homologous in vitro fertilization may not constitute an aid, if not a form of therapy, whereby its moral licitness could be admitted

   Responsio huic interrogationi stricte conectitur cum principiis modo expositis. Non sane neglegi possunt legitima sterilium coniugum desideria; eorum nonnullis methodus FIVET homologa videtur unica ratio obtinendae prolis tantopere desideratae. Iam quaeritur utrum in his condicionibus iam tota coniugalis vita in se considerata non satis sit ad tuendam illam dignitatem, quae procreationem humanam addeceat. Agnoscitur methodum FIVET certe supplere non posse actuum coniugalium absentiam,47 nec praeferri posse actibus matrimonii propriis, ob pericula quibus proles fit obvia, et ob incommoda quae hisce procedendi viis ac rationibus inhaerent. At, cum nulla prorsus alia suppetant remedia sterilitatis, quae angoris causa est, quaeritur utrum hisce in adiunctis fecundatio homologa in vitro considerari possit auxilium, si non therapia, vi cuius possit admitti eius moralis liceitas.

. The desire for a child - or at the very least an openness to the transmission of life - is a necessary prerequisite from the moral point of view for responsible human procreation. But this good intention is not sufficient for making a positive moral evaluation of in vitro fertilization between spouses. The process of IVF and ET must be judged in itself and cannot borrow its definitive moral quality from the totality of conjugal life of which it becomes part nor from the conjugal acts which may precede or follow it.(48) 

   Desiderium prolis, vel saltem animus dispositus ad vitam commnnicandam, necessario requiritnr ut, secundum legem moralem, conscia humana procreatio haberi queat. At bona huiusmodi voluntas satis non est, ut exinde concludatur licitam esse inter coniuges fecundationem in vitro. Procedendi modus in methodo FIVET adhibitus prout est in se aestimari oportet, atqne ultimum de eius liceitate indicium erui non potest neque a totaconiugali vita, cui hic processus inseritur, neque ab actibus coniugalibus antea positis vel postea ponendis."

It has already been recalled that, in the circumstances in which it is regularly practised, IVF and ET involves the destruction of human beings, which is something contrary to the doctrine on the illicitness of abortion previously mentioned.(49) But even in a situation in which every precaution were taken to avoid the death of human embryos, homologous IVF and ET dissociates from the conjugal act the actions which are directed to human fertilization. For this reason the very nature of homologous IVF and ET also must be taken into account, even abstracting from the link with procured abortion.

   Iam supra dictum est methodum FIVET, uti peragitur in communibus rerum adiunctis, secumferre creaturarum humanarum interfectionem, quod quidem doctrinae iam memoratae de abortus illiceitate adversatur.49 Attamen, etiamsi omnes adhibeantur cautiones ad embryonum humanorum mortem vitandam, methodus FIVET homologa separationem inducit gestuum qui spectant ad humanam actus coniugalis fecundationem. Natura igitur propria methodi FIVET homologae consideranda erit etiam seorsum ab eius nexu cum abortu procurato.

Homologous IVF and ET is brought about outside the bodies of the couple through actions of third parties whose competence and technical activity determine the success of the procedure. Such fertilization entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children. 

   Methodus FIVET homologa ad actum deducitur extra coniugum corpus, opera aliorum, a quorum scientia atque technica arte prosper exitus interventus dependet ; eadem vitam identitatemque embryonum humanorum in potestatem redegit medicorum atqne biologorum, sirque rei technicae dominatum quemdam in personae hnmanae originem et sortem instaurat. Huiusmodi dominatus snapte natura contradicit dignitati et aequalitati, quae parentibus et filiis communes esse debent.

Conception in vitro is the result of the technical action which presides over fertilization. Such fertilization is neither in fact achieved nor positively willed as the expression and fruit of a specific act of the conjugal union. In homologous IVF and ET, therefore, even if it is considered in the context of ‘de facto’ existing sexual relations, the generation of the human person is objectively deprived of its proper perfection: namely, that of being the result and fruit of a conjugal act in which the spouses can become “cooperators with God for giving life to a new person”.(50)

   Conceptio in vitro est effectus actionis technicae, per quem evenit fecundatio; ea autem neque re vera obtinetur, neque consulto appetitur tamquam manifestatio ac fructus actus qui est proprius coniunctionis coniugalis. In methodo FIVET homologa, igitur, etsi consideretur in eontextu actuum coniugalium qui reapse exsistunt, nihilominus generatio personae humanae obiective destituitur perfectione sibi propria, qua scilicet illa est terminus et fructus actus coniugalis, per quem coniuges fieri possunt Dei cooperatores tradendo vitae donum novo alicui homini ».50

These reasons enable us to understand why the act of conjugal love is considered in the teaching of the Church as the only setting worthy of human procreation. For the same reasons the so-called “simple case”, i.e. a homologous IVF and ET procedure that is free of any compromise with the abortive practice of destroying embryos and with masturbation, remains a technique which is morally illicit because it deprives human procreation of the dignity which is proper and connatural to it.

  Ex hisce rationibue intellegitnr, cur Ecclesia doceat actum coningali:3 amoris habendum esse unicnm locnm dignum procreationis humanae. Iisdem de causis, (( casus simplex », quem vocant, scilicet ille procedendi modus methodi FIVET homologae, in quo prorsns deyunt tum pragi8 abortiva embryones defitrnendi tum masturbatio, permanet ratio technica moraliter ill.icita, qnippe quae procreationem humanam privet perfectione, quae est ipsi propria atque congenita.

Certainly, homologous IVF and ET fertilization is not marked by all that ethical negativity found in extra-conjugal procreation; the family and marriage continue to constitute the setting for the birth and upbringing of the children.Nevertheless, in conformity with the traditional doctrine relating to the goods of marriage and the dignity of the person, the Church remain opposed from the moral point of view to homologous ‘in vitro’ fertilization. Such fertilization is in itself illicit and in opposition to the dignity of procreation and of the conjugal union, even when everything is done to avoid the death of the human embryo.

  Fatendum sane est in methodum FIVET homologam non cadere omnia admissa contra morum honestatem, quae deprebenduntnr in procreatione extra matrimonium effecta; familia enim et matrimonium pergunt esse ambitnh, in qno filiorum nativitas et educatio continentnr. Attamen, iuxta traditam doctrinam de matrimonii bonis et de personae humanae dignitate, morale Ec•clesiae iudicium perstat contrariurn fecttndationi homol,ogae in ritro: haec est intrinsecus illicita, ac dignitati procreattionis et coniunctionis coniuyalis tunc etiam repugnat, cum >Ri~il omittitur ut embryonis mors praecaveatur.

Although the manner in which human conception is achieved with IVF and ET cannot be approved, every child which comes into the world must in any case be accepted as a living gift of the divine Goodness and must be brought up with love. 

  Etei nullo modo probari possit agendi ratio, qua conceptio humana obtinetur per methodum FIVET, nihilominus puer in lncem editus excipi debet tamquam vivens Bonitatis divinae donnm, et cum amore est educandus.

6. HOW IS HOMOLOGOUS ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION TO BE EVALUATED FROM THE MORAL POINT OF VIEW? 

6. QUOMODO SECUNDM LEGEM MORALEM AESTIMANDA EST SEMINATIO ARTIFICIALIS HOMOLOGA?

Homologous artificial insemination within marriage cannot be admitted except for those cases in which the technical means is not a substitute for the conjugal act but serves to facilitate and to help so that the act attains its natural purpose. 

  Seminatio artifcialis homologa intra ambitum matrimonii admitti nequit, exeepto casu in quo apparatus technicus non sit substitutivus actus coniugalis, sed se praebeat ut adiumeutum ad naturalem eius finem facilius assequendum.

The teaching of the Magisterium on this point has already been stated.(51) This teaching is not just an expression of particular historical circumstances but is based on the Church’s doctrine concerning the connection between the conjugal union and procreation and on a consideration of the personal nature of the conjugal act and of human procreation. “In its natural structure, the conjugal act is a personal action, a simultaneous and immediate cooperation on the part of the husband and wife, which by the very nature of the agents and the proper nature of the act is the expression of the mutual gift which, according to the words of Scripture, brings about union ‘in one flesh’ “.(52) Thus moral conscience “does not necessarily proscribe the use of certain artificial means destined solely either to the facilitating of the natural act or to ensuring that the natural act normally performed achieves its proper end”.(53) If the technical means facilitates the conjugal act or helps it to reach its natural objectives, it can be morally acceptable.

Ad rem quod attinet, Magisterii doctrina iam explicata est : 51 haec autem non solum peculiares exprimit temporis condiciones, sed innititur tum in ipsa Ecclesiae doctrina circa nexum inter unionem coniugalem et procreationem humanam, tum etiam in consideratione indolis personalis, quae ad actum coniugalem et ad procreationem humanam pertinet. (( Actus coniugalis, quoad suam naturalem structuram, est actio personalis, itemque simultanea atque immediata coniugum cooperatio, quae quidem, ob ipsam agentium naturam et propriam actus indolem, illam exprimit mutuam donationem, qua, iuxta Sacram Scripturam, efficitur unio "in carne una" ».52 Conscientia moralis, igitur, « non necessario damnat usum quorumdam mediorum artificialium eo unice spectantium, ut actus naturalis facilius perficiatur, utque idem actus rite expletus finem suum consequi possit ».53 Quare, si medium technicum faciliorem reddit actum coniugalem aut eum adiuvat ad fines suos naturales assequendos, licite adhiberi potest.

If, on the other hand, the procedure were to replace the conjugal act, it is morally illicit. Artificial insemination as a substitute for the conjugal act is prohibited by reason of the voluntarily achieved dissociation of the two meanings of the conjugal act. Masturbation, through which the sperm is normally obtained, is another sign of this dissociation: even when it is done for the purpose of procreation, the act remains deprived of its unitive meaning: “It lacks the sexual relationship called for by the moral order, namely the relationship which realizes ‘the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love’ “.(54)

 Si, ex contrario, est substitutivum actus coniugalis, lege morali prohibetur. Seminatio artificialis, substitutiva actus coniugalis, vetita est, quippe quae separationem voluntarie inducat inter binas coniugalis actus significationes. Masturbatio, (pia sperma procurari solet, aliud signum est huiusmodi separationis ; hic gestus, etiamsi ad procreationem obtinendam ponatur, semper tamen perstat sua significatione unitiva destitutus: «In eo namque deest relatio sexualis, quae ordine morali postulatur, quae nempe ad effectum deducit integrum sensum mutuae donationis ac humanae procreationis in contextu veri amoris ».5 4

7. WHAT MORAL CRITERION CAN BE PROPOSED WITH REGARD TO MEDICAL INTERVENTION IN HUMAN PROCREATION? 

  7. QUODNAM CRITERIUM MORALE ADHIBENDUM EST CIRCA MEDICI INTERVENTUM IN HUMANA 1'ROCREATIONE?

The medical act must be evaluated not only with reference to its technical dimension but also and above all in relation to its goal which is the good of persons and their bodily and psychological health. The moral criteria for medical intervention in procreation are deduced from the dignity of human persons, of their sexuality and of their origin.

 Actus a medico positus aestimandis est non tantum quoad solam eius rationem technicam, sed etiam ac praesertim quoad eius finem, qui respicere debet bonum personarum earumque corporis et animi sanitatem. Criteria autem moralia, quibus medici interventus dirigantur oportet in procreatone, desumuntur a personarum humanarum dignitate, ab earum sexualitate et ab earundem ortu.

Medicine which seeks to be ordered to the integral good of the person must respect the specifically human values of sexuality.(55) The doctor is at the service of persons and of human procreation. He does not have the authority to dispose of them or to decide their fate. 

Ars medica, cui propositum sit integro personae humanae bono deservire, bona proprie humana sexualitatis tueri debet.5* Medicus munere fungitur deserviendi bono personarum et humanae procreationi; quoad haec, ille nec disponendi nec decernendi potestatem habet.

A medical intervention respects the dignity of persons when it seeks to assist the conjugal act either in order to facilitate its performance or in order to enable it to achieve its objective once it has been normally performed”,(56)

Medicus interventus tunc personarum dignitatem tuetur, cum actum coniugalem adiuvare studet, sive ut facilins expleatur, sive ut idem, iam rite expletus, finem suum assequi possit."  

On the other hand, it sometimes happens that a medical procedure technologically replaces the conjugal act in order to obtain a procreation which is neither its result nor its fruit. In this case the medical act is not, as it should be, at the service of conjugal union but rather appropriates to itself the procreative function and thus contradicts the dignity and the inalienable rights of the spouses and of the child to be born.

Ex contrario, quandoque fit ut medicus interventus, artis te.chnicae ope, substitutivus sit actus coniugalis ad procreationem obtinendam, quae propterea neque effectus est neque fructus einsdem actus : quo in caeu, actus medicus non videtur deservire, sicut oportet, coniugali iunctioni, sed procreandi munus sibi arrogat, sicque dignitati atqne inalienabilibus iuribus coniugum .ac nascituri contradicit.

The humanization of medicine, which is insisted upon today by everyone, requires respect for the integral dignity of the human person first of all in the act and at the moment in which the spouses transmit life to a new person. It is only logical therefore to address an urgent appeal to Catholic doctors and scientists that they bear exemplary witness to the respect due to the human embryo and to the dignity of procreation. The medical and nursing staff of Catholic hospitals and clinics are in a special way urged to do justice to the moral obligations which they have assumed, frequently also, as part of their contract. Those who are in charge of Catholic hospitals and clinics and who are often Religious will take special care to safeguard and promote a diligent observance of the moral norms recalled in the present Instruction. 

   Humanior artis medieae ratio, quae ab omnibus hodie instanter expostulatur, exigit ut in tuto ponatur integra personae humanae dignitas, praesertim in eo actu in eoque 'temporis momento, quo coniuges novae personae vitam transmittnnt. Consentanettm igitur est, hac data occasione, instantem etiam adhortationem medicis rerumque naturae investigatoribus catholicis admoveri ut exemplo suo praeclarum exhibeant testimoninm observantiae, quae embryoni humano et procreationis dignitati debetur. Peculiari modo apud catholica valetudinaria ac nosocomia, medicorum coetus ceterique omnes qui infirmorum curae sunt addicti, invitantur ut cum honore suscepta moralia officia persolvant, quibus ipsi saepe etiam vi statntorum instituti obstringuntur. Valetudinariorum deniqne nosocomiorumque catholicorum moderatores, qui saepe ad religiosas familias pertinent, sedlilam adhibeant curam, ut obtemperatio moralibus normis, qnae per hanc Instructionem impertitae sunt, in tuto ponantur ac promoveantur.

8. THE SUFFERING CAUSED BY INFERTILITY IN MARRIAGE 

8. DOLOR EX CONIUGALI STERILITATE.

The suffering of spouses who cannot have children or who are afraid of bringing a handicapped child into the world is a suffering that everyone must understand and properly evaluate. 

   Coniuges, qui procreare prolem non valent, vel timent ne liberos gignant impeditos, dolore anguntur, qui ab omnibus intellegi et adaequate perpendi debet.

On the part of the spouses, the desire for a child is natural: it expresses the vocation to fatherhood and motherhood inscribed in conjugal love. This desire can be even stronger if the couple is affected by sterility which appears incurable. Nevertheless, marriage does not confer upon the spouses the right to have a child, but only the right to perform those natural acts which are per se ordered to procreation.(57)

   Congruum naturae est coniuges filium desiderare : id manifestat vocationem ad paternitatem et ad maternitatem insitam amori coningali. Hoc autem desiderium vehementius etiam fieri potest, si coniuges sterilitate laborant, quae insanabilis apparet. Matrimonium tamen minime coniugibus ius confert ad filium habendum, sed ius dat dumtaxat ad ar•tus naturales ponendos, qui per se ad procreationem ordinantur.57

A true and proper right to a child would be contrary to the child’s dignity and nature. The child is not an object to which one has a right, nor can he be considered as an object of ownership: rather, a child is a gift, “the supreme gift” (58) and the most gratuitous gift of marriage, and is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents. For this reason, the child has the right, as already mentioned, to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents; and he also has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception. 

  Verum ac proprium ius ad filium, ipsius filii dignitati atque naturae adrersatur. P'ilius nullo rnodo aliquid est quod debetlu•, neque considerari potest ut obieeturn proprietatis; ipse potius est donum, et quidem « praestantissirntlm » 58 et maxime gratuiturn matrimonii, idemque rirens est testimoniu7rt mrutuae donationis eius parentum. Qua de causa, filius — ut supra nlemoratum est — ius habet ad exsistendum tamquam fruetus proreniens e.r aetu eoniugalis amoris proprio suorum parerttutn, idemque ius habet ad obserrantiam sibi tamquarn personae tribuerldarn inde a montento c•oneeptionis.

Nevertheless, whatever its cause or prognosis, sterility is certainly a difficult trial. The community of believers is called to shed light upon and support the suffering of those who are unable to fulfill their legitimate aspiration to motherhood and fatherhood. Spouses who find themselves in this sad situation are called to find in it an opportunity for sharing in a particular way in the Lord’s Cross, the source of spiritual fruitfulness. Sterile couples must not forget that “even when procreation is not possible, conjugal life does not for this reason lose its value. Physical sterility in fact can be for spouses the occasion for other important services to the life of the human person, for example, adoption, various forms of educational work, and assistance to other families and to poor or handicapped children”.(59)

  Nihilominus sterilitas, quaec•nmqne est eins causa <tc progno:,is, casus acerbus profecto est. ('hristiana commnnitas vocatur ad illuminandum tolerabilemque reddendum dolorem eorum, quibus datum non est legitimuni maternitatis ac paternitatis desiderium explere. Ooniuges autem, qui in his dolendis rernm adiunctis versantur, vicissim voc•antnr ad eernendam in iisdem adiunc•tis orcasionem sibi oblatxm sese peculiari modo ittngendi rruci Domini, quae spiritualis fecnnditatis fous est. Iisdem praeterea oblivisrendum non est « etiam cum procreatio evenire non possit, non eam ob cansam sua praestantia destitui vitam coniugalem. Corporis enim sterilitas occasio coningibus esse potest aliorum magni momenti ministeriorum personae immanae praestandorum enius generis sunt adoptio variaeyue rationes edueandi operunn, auxilia aliis familiis vel infantibus pauperibns impeditisve praestanda ».59

Many researchers are engaged in the fight against sterility. While fully safeguarding the dignity of human procreation, some have achieved results which previously seemed unattainable. Scientists therefore are to be encouraged to continue their research with the aim of preventing the causes of sterility and of being able to remedy them so that sterile couples will be able to procreate in full respect for their own personal dignity and that of the child to be born. 

  Plures scientiae investigatores stndia sua confernnt ad sterilitatem debellandam. Lorum uonnulli, plana salva diguitate procreationis humanae, tales exitus rousecuti sunt, qui anteactis temporibus nullo modo attingi posse videbantur. Scientiarum periti, igitur, adhortaudi sunt ad suas investigationes prosequendas, dncti proposito sterilitatis causas praeveniendi vel iisdem remedia comparandi, ita qnidem, ut coniuges steriles ad procreandum habiles fiant, sua ipsorum ac nascituri personali dignitate servata.

III. MORAL AND CIVIL LAW 

III DE RE MORALI AC CIVILI LEGE

THE VALUES AND MORAL OBLIGATIONS 
THAT CIVIL LEGISLATION 
MUST RESPECT AND SANCTION IN THIS MATTER 

BONA ATQUE OBLIGATIONES MORALIA LEGE CIVILI OBSERVANDA AC SANCIF.NDA IN HAC MATERIA

The inviolable right to life of every innocent human individual and the rights of the family and of the institution of marriage constitute fundamental moral values, because they concern the natural condition and integral vocation of the human person; at the same time they are constitutive elements of civil society and its order.

  Ius inviolabile ad vitam uniuscuiusque hominis innocentis atque iura familiae institutique matrimonialis, bona moralia fundamentalia censenda sunt, quippe quae condic.ionem naturalem et integram vocation?m personae humanae respiciant; suntque simul elementa quae pertinent ad ipsam civilis societatis structuram atque ordinationem.

For this reason the new technological possibilities which have opened up in the field of biomedicine require the intervention of the political authorities and of the legislator, since an uncontrolled application of such techniques could lead to unforeseeable and damaging consequences for civil society. Recourse to the conscience of each individual and to the self-regulation of researchers cannot be sufficient for ensuring respect for personal rights and public order. If the legislator responsible for the common good were not watchful, he could be deprived of his prerogatives by researchers claiming to govern humanity in the name of the biological discoveries and the alleged “improvement” processes which they would draw from those discoveries. “Eugenism” and forms of discrimination between human beings could come to be legitimized: this would constitute an act of violence and a serious offense to the equality, dignity and fundamental rights of the human person.

  Hac de causa, novaquae progrediens res technica portendit fieri posse in campo scientiae biomedicae, requirunt ut ii, penes quos snnt civilia muneraet potestas leges ferendi, auctoritatem suam interponant, quia harum technicarum rationum usus, vigilantiae non obnoxius, perduc.ere poterit ad consectaria, quae praevideri nequeunt, et detrimentum afferre civili societati. Appellatio ad nniuscuiusqne conscientiam et ad normas sibi voluntarie impositas, a scientiae investigatoribus satis non sunt ad personalia iura et reipublicae ordinem tucnda. Si legislator, in quem onus communis boni recidit, invigilare omittat, ipse expoliari possit suis praerogativis ab investigatoribns arrogantibus sibi munus gubernandi homines, nomine novoraln inventorum biologicorum et o prosperioris vitae condicionum n, quae praesumuntur ex illis manare. Ita u eugenismus » et iniusta inter Creaturas humanas discriminarata haberi possint ; id vim gravemque ininriam inferat aequalitati, dignitati et primariis iuribus personae humanae.

The intervention of the public authority must be inspired by the rational principles which regulate the relationships between civil law and moral law. The task of the civil law is to ensure the common good of people through the recognition of and the defence of fundamental rights and through the promotion of peace and of public morality.(60) In no sphere of life can the civil law take the place of conscience or dictate norms concerning things which are outside its competence. It must sometimes tolerate, for the sake of public order, things which it cannot forbid without a greater evil resulting. However, the inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the State: they pertain to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his of her origin.: 

  Publicae auctoritatis interventus obtemperare debet principiis rationis, quibus necessitudines reguntur inter civilem legern et legem moralem. Civilis legis nnums est in tuto ponere commune hominum bonum per agnitionem et defensionem iurium fundamentalium, atque pacis et publicae morum honestatis promotionem.6' In nullo vitae spatio lex civilis se substituere potest in locum conscientiae, nec•, normas edere, quae ipsius competentiam excedant ; interdnm, ad civitatis ordinem servandum, ea tolerare cogitur quae prohibere non valet sine gravioris mali pericolo. Attamen inalienabilia personae iura agnosci atque observari debent a civili societate et a publicis auctoritatibns. Quae iura neque a singulis hominibus pendent, neque a parentibus, ac ne sunt quidem concessio a societate et a Civitate facta : verum ea pertinent ad humanam naturam, atque personae inhaerent vi creatricis actionis, a qua persona ipsa originem duxit.

Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard

Inter haec fundamentalia iura, ad rem quod attinet, recolere oportet :

a) every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death;

a) ius ad vitam et ad corporis integritatem, (pno unaquaeque creatnrahnmana gaudet a conceptionis momento usque ad mortem ;

b) the rights of the family and of marriage as an institution and, in this area, the child’s right to be conceived, brought into the world and brought up by his parents. To each of these two themes it is necessary here to give some further consideration. 

b) iura familiae et matrimonii quatenus snnt instituta atque, intra hnnc ambitum, ius filii ut concipiatur, in lncem edatur et educetur a parentibus suis. Circa singula haec duo argumenta necesse est quaedam fusius explicare.

In various States certain laws have authorized the direct suppression of innocents: the moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation must accord them, the State is denying the equality of all before the law. When the State does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a State based on law are undermined. The political authority consequently cannot give approval to the calling of human beings into existence through procedures which would expose them to those very grave risks noted previously. The possible recognition by positive law and the political authorities of techniques of artificial transmission of life and the experimentation connected with it would widen the breach already opened by the legalization of abortion.

  In variis Nationibns nonnnllae leges latae sunt, quibus rata habetur directa occisio innocentium : cnm lex civilis cuidam hominnm coetui praesidium aufert, quod lex praebere debet, eo ipso tunc respublica negat omnium civium aequalitatem coram lege. Cum respublica vim suam non adhibet ad iura uninscuiusqne civis tuenda, maxime debiliorum, tunc labefiunt ipsa ipsa fundamenta Civitatis legitime constitutae. Inde sequitur, ut auctoritas pnblica probare nequeat creaturas hnmanas ad exsistendum vocari iis viis ac rationibus, quae ad gravissima pericula supra exposita eas adducant. Quodsi lex civilis et publicae auctoritates forte approbent technicas rationes artificiose vitam communicandi et experimenta eis conexa, hinc profecto fiat, ut latius iter illud patefiat, quod calamitose apertum est per abortus ratihabitationem.

As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of his conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights. The law cannot tolerate - indeed it must expressly forbid - that human beings, even at the embryonic stage, should be treated as objects of experimentation, be mutilated or destroyed with the excuse that they are superfluous or incapable of developing normally.  

  Ex observantia atque tutela quae nascituro debentur, inde a conceptionis momento, consequitur ut lex congruas poenas praevideat contra quamlibet deliberatam violationem iurium ipaius. Lex tolerare non poterit — immo expresse vetare debebit — creaturas humanas, licet in statu embryonis viventes, tamqaam res tractari experimentis obnoxias, mutilari vel destrui, praetextu allato eas superfluas esse aut ineptas ad maturitatem rite asaequendam.

The political authority is bound to guarantee to the institution of the family, upon which society is based, the juridical protection to which it has a right. From the very fact that it is at the service of people, the political authority must also be at the service of the family.

  Auctoritatis publieae munus est instituto familiari, in quo societas nititur, tutelam iuridicam praebere, ad quam ius habet. Cnm auctoritas publica ministrare debeat personis, eo ipso etiam familiae ministrare tenetur.

Civil law cannot grant approval to techniques of artificial procreation which, for the benefit of third parties (doctors, biologists, economic or governmental powers), take away what is a right inherent in the relationship between spouses; and therefore civil law cannot legalize the donation of gametes between persons who are not legitimately united in marriage.

  Lex civilis sponsionem facere non poterit de methodis artificiosae proereationis, qnibus in commodum aliorum (qui sunt medici, biologi, rei oeconomicae vel Civitatis moderatores) id subtrahitur, quod est ius inhaerens mutnae inter coniuges relationi ; itemque ratum habere non poterit gametum donum inter eos qni non sint legitimo matrimonio iuncti.

Legislation must also prohibit, by virtue of the support which is due to the family, embryo banks, post mortem insemination and “surrogate motherhood”.

  Praeterea leges, utpote quod spectent ad domestici convictas tutel?m, vetare debebunt mensas embryonum, seminationem post mortem, « maternitatem substitutivam ».

It is part of the duty of the public authority to ensure that the civil law is regulated according to the fundamental norms of the moral law in matters concerning human rights, human life and the institution of the family. Politicians must commit themselves, through their interventions upon public opinion, to securing in society the widest possible consensus on such essential points and to consolidating this consensus wherever it risks being weakened or is in danger of collapse. 

  Inter propria publicae auctoritatis officia, hoc etiam recenseudum est, quod ipsa ita operari debet, ut lex civilis conformetur normis fundamentalibus legis rnoralis in iis quae attinent ad iura homiuis, humanae vitae et instituti familiaris. Viri publicae rei addicti oportebit dent operam ut, populi opinionem permovendo, de his rebus summi momenti quam latissimus societatis consensus obtineatur, idemque solidetur, ubi debilitari aut deficere videatur.

In many countries, the legalization of abortion and juridical tolerance of unmarried couples makes it more difficult to secure respect for the fundamental rights recalled by this Instruction. It is to be hoped that States will not become responsible for aggravating these socially damaging situations of injustice. It is rather to be hoped that nations and States will realize all the cultural, ideological and political implications connected with the techniques of artificial procreation and will find the wisdom and courage necessary for issuing laws which are more just and more respectful of human life and the institution of the family.

  In multis regionibus ratihabitio abortus ac tolerantia iuridica erga virorum ac mulierum paria quae matrimonio iuncta non sunt, difficiliorem efficiunt inrium fnndamentalinm observantiam, quae in hac Instructione affirmata sunt. In votis est, ut Nationes onus in se ipsas ne recipiant graviores reddendi has iniustas rerum condiciones, sociali bono perniciosas. Ex c.ontrario, optandum est ut Nationes ac Civitates consciae fiant, quantopere metbodi artifieiosae prorreationis vim habeant, quod attinet ad c•ultnram, ad r,ogitandi modos et ad rem politicam ; simulqne eaedem sapientiam et animum invenire queant, quibus opus est ad leges ferendas, quae iustitiae magis congruant vitamque humanam ac familiare institutum efficacius observent.

The civil legislation of many states confers an undue legitimation upon certain practices in the eyes of many today; it is seen to be incapable of guaranteeing that morality which is in conformity with the natural exigencies of the human person and with the “unwritten laws” etched by the Creator upon the human heart. All men of good will must commit themselves, particularly within their prof essional field and in the exercise of their civil rights, to ensuring the reform of morally unacceptable civil laws and the correction of illicit practices. In addition, “conscientious objection” vis-à-vis such laws must be supported and recognized. A movement of passive resistence to the legitimation of practices contrary to human life and dignity is beginning to make an ever sharper impression upon the moral conscience of many, especially among specialists in the biomedical sciences. 

  Leges civiles plurium Nationurn hodie, secundum ntultorumopiniortem, certis rei technicae ntethodis approbationem concedunt, quae non debetur; eaedem ineptas se praebent ad tuertdameam morum honestatem, quae respondet naturalibus postulatis personae humanae ac « legibus non scriptis », quae a Creatore in corde hominis inditae sunt. Omnes bonae voluntatis homines operam praestare debent, peeuliari modo in suae quisque professionis sede et in suorum eivilium iurium exercitio, ut civiles leges moraliter improbandae reformentur, et illiciti technicarum artium usus emendetur. Praeterea, contra huiusmodi leges proponenda atque agnoscenda est « obieetio conscientiae », quam vocant. .lcrius etiam a multis, praesertim a seientiarum, biomedicarum peritis, persentiri coepta est instantia morali.s conscientiae quae poscit, ut per « resistentiam passivam n, uti dicunt, obsistatur iuridicae appr•obationi earum technicarum rationum, quae hominis vitae ac dignitati adversantur.

CONCLUSION

CONCLUSIO

The spread of technologies of intervention in the processes of human procreation raises very serious moral problems in relation to the respect due to the human being from the moment of conception, to the dignity of the person, of his or her sexuality, and of the transmission of life.

   Diffusio teehnicarum artium spectantes interventus it( humanae procreationis processibns gravissima gignit moralia problemata, quod attinet ad observantiam c•reaturae hnmanae dehitam inde ab eius coneeptione, atque ad dignitatem personae, eius sexualitatis vitaeque transmissionis.

With this Instruction the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in fulfilling its responsibility to promote and defend the Church’s teaching in so serious a matter, addresses a new and heartfelt invitation to all those who, by reason of their role and their commitment, can exercise a positive influence and ensure that, in the family and in society, due respect is accorded to life and love. It addresses this invitation to those responsible for the formation of consciences and of public opinion, to scientists and medical professionals, to jurists and politicians. It hopes that all will understand the incompatibility between recognition of the dignity of the human person and contempt for life and love, between faith in the living God and the claim to decide arbitrarily the origin and fate of a human being. 

   Hoc documento Congregatio pro Doc•trina Fidei it(tendit conereditum sibi persolvere munus tatandi ac promovendi Ecc•lesiae doctrinam in re tam gravis momenti ; novam igitur adhortationem, sollicitudinis plenam, ad eos omnes dirigit qui, pro sua quisque parte atque otT'icio, efflcacem operam praestare possunt ut in familia atque in soeietate debita tribnatnr observantia vitae atqne amori : ad eos scilic•et, quibus rnunus ineumbit conscientias et puhlic•am opinionem formandi ; ad eos qui scientiam exc•olunt et medicinam exereent ; ad iuris peritos, et ad rei politicae addictos. Quibus onrnibns ipsa exoptat, ut intellegant nullo modo com1-(oui posse agnitionem dignitatis personat• ln(manae eum vitae et amoris c•ontemptu, atque fidem in Deum vivum eum arroganti proposito de ortu ae sorte creaturae humanae ad arbitrinm decernendi.

In particular, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith addresses an invitation with confidence and encouragement to theologians, and above all to moralists, that they study more deeply and make eves more accessible to the faithful the contents of the teaching of the Church’s Magisterium in the light of a valid anthropology in the matter of sexuality and marriage and in the context of the necessary interdisciplinary approach. Thus they will make it possible to understand ever more clearly the reasons for and the validity of this teaching. By defending man against the excesses of his own power, the Church of God reminds him of the reasons for his true nobility; only in this way can the possibility of living and loving with that dignity and liberty which derive from respect for the truth be ensured for the men and women of tomorrow. The precise indications which are offered in the present Instruction therefore are not meant to halt the effort of reflection but rather to give it a renewed impulse in unrenounceable fidelity to the teaching of the Church. 

   Pecnliari modo ('ongregatio pro Doctrina Fidei eum fidueia invitat atque instimulat tbeologos, ac nominatim moralis doc•trinae cnitores, ut quae de hac re a Magisterio Ecclesiae doeentur, altius ea investigent ae magis magisque eaptui christifidelinm accommodent, snb lumine sane doctrinae anthropologieae in re sexuali et matrimoniali, ac necessaria inter varias disc•iplinas relatione servata. Poternnt ita melius percipi huius dortrinae argumenta ac robur : Feclesia Dei, cum defendit hominem contra snae ipsius potestatis abusnm, simnl eum commonefaeit, quae sint verae suae nobilitatis rationes; tantum hoc modo futurae hominum communitati facultas praebetnr vivendi et amandi in iis dignitatis ac libertatis condic•ionibns, qu<)e a veritatis obseqnio proficiscuntnr. Definitae igitur agendi rationes, quae per hanc Instrnctionem impertinntur, minime intendunt investigationum nisns cohibere, sed potius renovatnm earum studinm excitare, necessaria erga Eeclesiae doctrinam fidelitate servata.

In the light of the truth about the gift of human life and in the light of the moral principles which flow from that truth, everyone is invited to act in the area of responsibility proper to each and, like the good Samaritan, to recognize as a neighbour even the littlest among the children of men (Cf . Lk 10: 2 9-37). Here Christ’s words find a new and particular echo: “What you do to one of the least of my brethren, you do unto me” (Mt 25:40). 

   Sub lurnine veritatis de humanae vitae dor(o princ•ipiorumque moralium inde lluentium, unusquisque invitatur ut, pro ofliciorum suorum parte, instar boui tiamxritani se gerat, atque vel minimnm filiorum I(ominun) tx)nqnam snnm proximum agnoscat (cf. Lc 10, 29-37I. Novo ac peculiari modo hic resonat Christi sententia :                Quamdiu fecistis uni de his fratribus meis minimis, mihi fecistis n(1tt 25, 40).

During an audience granted to the undersigned Prefect after the plenary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, approved this Instruction and ordered it to be published. 

  Summus Pontifex Ioannes Paulus II, in .ludientia infrascripto Praefeeto post Conrentum huius Congreqationis concessa, ratam habuit praesentem Instructionem eamque edi iussit.

Given at Rome, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, February 22, 1987, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the Apostle. 

  Romae, ex Aedibus Congregationis pro Doctrina Fidei, die. 22 Februarii anno 1987, in festo Cathedrae S. Petri Apostoli.

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Youth and

Family

 

 

   
   

 

 

JOSEPH Card. RATZINGER 
Prefect
 

ALBERTO BOVONE 
Titular Archbishop of
Caesarea in Numidia Secretary


(1) POPE JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to those taking part in the 81st Congress of the Italian Society of Internal Medicine and the 82nd Congress of the Italian Society of General Surgery, 27 October 1980: AAS 72 (1980) 1126. 

(2) POPE PAUL VI, Discourse to the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization, 4 October 1965: AAS 57 (1965) 878; Encyclical Populorum Progressio, 13: AAS 59 (1967) 263.

(3) POPE PAUL VI, Homily during the Mass closing the Holy Year, 25 December 1975: AAS 68 (1976) 145; POPE JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Dives in Misericordia, 30: AAS 72 (1980) 1224. 

(4) POPE JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to those taking part in the 35th General Assembly of the World Medical Association, 29 October 1983: AAS 76 (1984) 390. 

(5) Cf. Declaration Dignitatis Humanae, 2. 

(6) Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 22; POPE JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, 8: AAS 71 (1979) 270-272. 

(7) Cf. Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 35. 

(8) Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 15; cf. also POPE PAUL VI, Encyclical Populorum Progressio, 20: AAS 59 (1967) 267; POPE JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, 15: AAS 71 (1979) 286-289; Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 8: AAS 74 (1982) 89. 

(9) POPE JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 11: AAS 74 (1982) 92.

(10) Cf. POPE PAUL VI, Encyclical Humanae Vitae, 10: AAS 60 (1968) 487-488. 

(11) POPE JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to the members of the 35th General Assembly of the World Medical Association, 29 October 1983: AAS 76 (1984) 393. 

(12) Cf. POPE JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 11: AAS 74 (1982) 91-92; cf. also Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 50.

(13) SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Declaration on Procured Abortion, 9, AAS 66 (1974) 736-737. 

(14) POPE JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to those taking part in the 35th General Assembly of the World Medical Association, 29 October 1983: AAS 76 (1984) 390. 

(15) POPE JOHN XXIII, Encyclical Mater et Magistra, III: AAS 53 (1961) 447. 

(16) Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 24. 

(17) Cf. POPE PIUS XII, Encyclical Humani Generis: AAS 42 (1950) 575; POPE PAUL VI, Professio Fidei: AAS 60 (1968) 436. 

(18) POPE JOHN XXIII, Encyclical Mater et Magistra, III: AAS 53 (1961) 447; cf. POPE JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to priests participating in a seminar on “Responsible Procreation”, 17 September 1983, Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VI, 2 (1983) 562: “At the origin of each human person there is a creative act of God: no man comes into existence by chance; he is always the result of the creative love of God”. 

(19) Cf. Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 24. 

(20) Cf. POPE PIUS XII, Discourse to the Saint Luke Medical-Biological Union, 12 November 1944: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi VI (1944-1945) 191-192. 

(21) Cf. Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 50. 

(22) Cf. Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 51: “When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral character of one’s behaviour does not depend only on the good intention and the evaluation of the motives: the objective criteria must be used, criteria drawn from the nature of the human person and human acts, criteria which respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love”. 

(23) Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 51. 

(24) HOLY SEE, Charter of the Rights of the Family, 4: L’Osservatore Romano, 25 November 1983. 

(25) SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Declaration on Procured Abortion, 12-13: AAS 66 (1974) 738. 

(26) Cf. POPE PAUL VI, Discourse to participants in the Twenty-third National Congress of Italian Catholic Jurists, 9 December 1972: AAS 64 ( 1972) 777. 

(27) The obligation to avoid disproportionate risks involves an authentic respect for human beings and the uprightness of therapeutic intentions. It implies that the doctor “above all ... must carefully evaluate the possible negative consequences which the necessary use of a particular exploratory technique may have upon the unborn child and avoid recourse to diagnostic procedures which do not offer sufficient guarantees of their honest purpose and substantial harmlessness. And if, as often happens in human choices, a degree of risk must be undertaken, he will take care to assure that it is justified by a truly urgent need for the diagnosis and by the importance of the results that can be achieved by it for the benefit of the unborn child himself” (POPE JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to Participants in the Pro-Life Movement Congress, 3 December 1982: Insegnantenti di Giovanni Paolo II, V, 3 [1982] 1512). This clarification concerning “proportionate risk” is also to be kept in mind in the following sections of the present Instruction, whenever this term appears. 

(28) POPE JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to the Participants in the 35th General Assembly of the World Medical Association, 29 October 1983: AAS 76 (1984) 392. 

(29) Cf. POPE JOHN PAUL II, Address to a Meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 23 October 1982: AAS 75 (1983) 37: “I condemn, in the most explicit and formal way, experimental manipulations of the human embryo, since the human being, from conception to death, cannot be exploited for any purpose whatsoever”.

(30) HOLY SEE, Charter of the Rights of the Family, 4b: L’Osservatore Romano, 25 November 1983. 

(31) Cf. POPE JOHN PAUL II, Address to the Participants in the Convention of the Pro-Life Movement, 3 December 1982: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, V, 3 (1982) 1511: “Any form of experimentation on the foetus that may damage its integrity or worsen its condition is unacceptable, except in the case of a final effort to save it from death”. SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Declaration on Euthanasia, 4: AAS 72 (1980) 550: “In the absence of other sufficient remedies, it is permitted, with the patient’s consent, to have recourse to the means provided by the most advanced medical techniques, even if these means are still at the experimental stage and are not without a certain risk”. 

(32) No one, before coming into existence, can claim a subjective right to begin to exist; nevertheless, it is legitimate to affirm the right of the child to have a fully human origin through conception in conformity with the personal nature of the human being. Life is a gift that must be bestowed in a manner worthy both of the subject receiving it and of the subjects transmitting it. This statement is to be borne in mind also for what will be explained concerning artificial human procreation. 

(33) Cf. POPE JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to those taking part in the 35th General Assembly of the World Medical Association, 29 October 1983: AAS 76 (1984) 391. 

(34) Cf. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern world, Gaudium et Spes, 50. 

(35) Cf. POPE JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 14: AAS 74 ( 1982) 96.  

(36) Cf. POPE PIUS XII, Discourse to those taking part in the 4th International Congress of Catholic Doctors, 29 September 1949: AAS 41 (1949) 559. According to the plan of the Creator, “A man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). The unity of marriage, bound to the order of creation, is a truth accessible to natural reason. The Church’s Tradition and Magisterium frequently make reference to the Book of Genesis, both directly and through the passages of the New Testament that refer to it: Mt 19: 4-6; Mk: 10:5-8; Eph 5: 31. Cf. ATHENAGORAS, Legatio pro christianis, 33: PG 6, 965-967; ST CHRYSOSTOM, In Matthaeum homiliae, LXII, 19, 1: PG 58 597; ST LEO THE GREAT, Epist. ad Rusticum, 4: PL 54, 1204; INNOCENT III, Epist. Gaudemus in Domino: DS 778; COUNCIL OF LYONS II, IV Session: DS 860; COUNCIL OF TRENT, XXIV , Session: DS 1798. 1802; POPE LEO XIII, Encyclical Arcanum Divinae Sapientiae: ASS 12 (1879/80) 388-391; POPE PIUS XI, Encyclical Casti Connubii: AAS 22 (1930) 546-547; SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Gaudium et Spes, 48; POPE JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 19: AAS 74 (1982) 101-102; Code of Canon Law, Can.1056. 

(37) Cf. POPE PIUS XII, Discourse to those taking part in the 4th International Congress of Catholic Doctors, 29 September 1949: AAS 41 (1949) 560; Discourse to those taking part in the Congress of the Italian Catholic Union of Midwives, 29 October 1951: AAS 43 (1951) 850; Code of Canon Law, Can. 1134. 

(38) POPE PAUL VI, Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae, 12: AAS 60 (1968) 488-489. 

(39) Loc. cit., ibid., 489.

(40) POPE PIUS XII, Discourse to those taking part in the Second Naples World Congress on Fertility and Human Sterility, 19 May 1956: AAS 48 (1956) 470. 

(41) Code of Canon Law, Can. 1061. According to this Canon, the conjugal act is that by which the marriage is consummated if the couple “have performed (it) between themselves in a human manner”. 

(42) Cf. Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 14. 

(43) Cf. POPE JOHN PAUL II, General Audience on 16 January 1980: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, III, 1 (1980) 148-152. 

(44) POPE JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to those taking part in the 35th General Assembly of the World Medical Association, 29 October 1983: AAS 76 (1984) 393. 

(45) Cf. Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 51. 

(46) Cf. Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 50. 

 (47) Cf. POPE PIUS XII, Discourse to those taking part in the 4th International Congress of Catholic Doctors, 29 September 1949: AAS 41 (1949) 560: “It would be erroneous ... to think that the possibility of resorting to this means (artificial fertilization) might render valid a marriage between persons unable to contract it because of the impedimentum impotentiae”. 

(48) A similar question was dealt with by POPE PAUL VI, Encyclical Humanae Vitae, 14: AAS 60 (1968) 490-491. 

(49) Cf. supra: I, 1 ff. 

(50) POPE JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio. 14: AAS 74 (1982) 96. 

(51) Cf. Response of the Holy Office, 17 March 1897: DS 3323; POPE PIUS XII, Discourse to those taking part in the 4th International Congress of Catholic Doctors, 29 September 1949: AAS 41 (1949) 560; Discourse to the Italian Catholic Union of Midwives, 29 October 1951: AAS 43 (1951) 850; Discourse to those taking part in the Second Naples World Congress on Fertility and Human Sterility, 19 May 1956: AAS 48 (1956) 471-473; Discourse to those taking part in the 7th International Congress of the International Society of Haematology, 12 September 1958: AAS 50 (1958) 733; POPE JOHN XXIII, Encyclical Mater et Magistra, III: AAS 53 (1961) 447.

(52) POPE PIUS XII, Discourse to the Italian Catholic Union of Midwives, 29 October 1951: AAS 43 ( 1951 ) 850.

(53) POPE PIUS XII, Discourse to those taking part in the 4th International Congress of Catholic Doctors, 29 September 1949: AAS 41 (1949) 560.

(54) SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual ethics, 9: AAS 68 (1976) 86, which quotes the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 51. Cf. Decree of the Holy Office, 2 August 1929: AAS 21 (1929) 490; POPE PIUS XII, Discourse to those taking part in the 26th Congress of the Italian Society of Urology, 8 October 1953: AAS 45 (1953) 678.

(55) Cf. POPE JOHN XXIII, Encyclical Mater et Magistra, III: AAS 53 (1961) 447.

(56) Cf. POPE PIUS XII, Discourse to those taking part in the 4th International Congress of Catholic Doctors, 29 September 1949: AAS 41 (1949), 560.

(57) Cf. POPE PIUS XII, Discourse to the taking part in the Second Naples World Congress on Fertility and Human Sterility, 19 May 1956: AAS 48 (1956) 471-473.

(58) Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 50.

(59) POPE JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 14: AAS 74 (1982) 97.

 (60) Cf. Declaration Dignitatis Humanae, 7.

 

 

 

 


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