What is a humane way of life

CONGREGATION FOR THE
DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

INSTRUCTION ABOUT THE BEWARE OF THE
BEGINNING HUMAN LIFE AND THE
WOULD REPRODUCTION

 

FOREWORD

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been consulted by various episcopal conferences as well as by individual bishops, theologians, physicians and representatives of science on the conformity of the principles of Catholic morality with biomedical techniques, the interventions in the early stages of human life and in reproductive processes enable yourself. The present instruction, the result of an extensive questioning and especially a careful evaluation of episcopal declarations, does not intend to present the entire teaching of the Church on the dignity of the beginning human life and procreation, but rather, in the light of the previous statements of the Magisterium, aims to provide specific answers to the in mainly raised questions in this context. The presentation is structured as follows: an introduction recalls the basic anthropological and moral principles necessary to properly assess the problems and elaborate the answers to these questions; the first part deals with respect for human nature from the very first moment of its existence; the second part deals with the moral questions raised by the interference of technology in human reproduction; the third part offers some guidance on the relationship between the moral code and national legislation on the respect due to human embryos and fetuses *) with regard to the admissibility of artificial reproduction techniques.

*) The terms "zygote", "pre-embryo", "embryo" and "fetus" can mean successive stages of development of a human being in the terminology of biology. This instruction makes use of these terms without hesitation, assigning the same ethical meaning to each of them, to denote the fruit of human procreation, visible or not, from the first moment of its existence until birth. The reason for this usage is explained in the text (cf. I, 1).

 

INTRODUCTION

1. Biomedical Research and Teaching of the Church

The gift of life that God as Creator and Father has entrusted to man requires him to become aware of the inestimable value of such life and to take responsibility for it: this fundamental principle must be placed at the center of reflection in order to to clarify and solve moral problems which the artificial interventions in the beginning of life and in the reproductive processes have raised. Thanks to the advancement of biological and medical sciences, man can dispose of increasingly effective therapeutic means, but he can also acquire new powers, with unpredictable consequences for human life at its beginning and in its early stages. Various methods today enable interventions not only to support, but also to control the reproductive processes. Such techniques allow man to “take control of his own destiny,” but they also “tempt him to transcend the limits of rational control over nature.” (1) As much as they are progress in service can mean in humans, they also involve serious risks. Hence, there is an urgent call from many that interventions in procreation protect the values ​​and rights of the human person. The requests for clarification and orientation come not only from the faithful, but also from those who, in any case, are a mission of the Church that is “experienced in all things human” (2) in the service of the “civilization of love” (3) and the Acknowledge life.
The Magisterium of the Church does not act in the name of a special competence in the field of natural sciences, but, after having taken knowledge of the data of research and technology, wants to present moral doctrine, in accordance with its Gospel mandate and its apostolic duty, that of the dignity of the person and himself holistic calling. It does so by setting out the moral criteria of judgment for the application of scientific research, and particularly of technology related to human life and its beginnings. Such criteria are the respect, defense and promotion of man, his "original and fundamental right" to life, (4) his dignity as a person, endowed with a spiritual soul, endowed with moral responsibility (5) and to blessed communion with God called. The Church's intervention in this area is also supported by the love she owes to people, whom she helps to recognize and respect his rights and duties. This love is nourished from the sources of Christ's love: by contemplating the mystery of the Word made flesh, the Church also recognizes the “mystery of man” (6); in proclaiming the gospel of salvation, it reveals to man his dignity and invites him to fully discover his truth. So the church again submits the divine law to do the work of truth and deliverance. For it is out of goodness - to show the way of life - that God gives man his commandments and the grace to obey them; and it is also out of goodness - to help them persevere on the same path - that God always offers his forgiveness to all. Christ has compassion for our frailty: He is our Creator and our Redeemer. May his mind open hearts to the gift of the peace of God and to the understanding of his commandments.

2. Science and technology at the service of the human person

God created man in his image and likeness: “He created them as male and female” (gene 1, 27) and entrusted them with the mandate to "rule the earth" (gene 1, 28). Basic scientific research and applied research are significant expressions of this human rule over creation. Science and technology, valuable aids for human beings when they put themselves at their service and promote their comprehensive development for the benefit of all, cannot for themselves show the meaning of existence and human progress. Aligned to the person to whom they owe their origin and growth, they receive from the person and their moral values ​​the evidence of their goals and the awareness of their limits. It would therefore be illusory to demand the moral neutrality of scientific research and its applications; on the other hand, the standards of orientation cannot be derived from mere technical efficiency, nor from the benefits which they can bring some to the detriment of others, or, worse still, from the prevailing ideologies. Therefore, science and technology, from their innermost destiny, require unconditional respect for the fundamental criteria of morality: They must therefore be at the service of the human person, their inalienable rights and their true and holistic well-being in accordance with the plan and will of God. (7) The rapid development of technological discoveries makes the demand for respect for the criteria mentioned here even more urgent: a science without a conscience can lead to nothing other than the downfall of man. “Our time needs this wisdom more than in the past centuries, so that all new human discoveries become more and more human. The future fate of the world will be in danger if wiser people do not step forward. "(8)

3. Anthropology and interventions in the biomedical field

What moral standards must one apply in order to clarify the problems posed today in the field of biomedicine? The answer to this question presupposes an adequate understanding of the nature of the human person in his bodily dimension. Because only in the direction of their true nature can the human person realize himself as a "unified wholeness" (9): Now this nature is bodily and spiritual at the same time. By virtue of its substantial union with a spiritual soul, the human body can not only be viewed as a structure of tissues, organs and functions, nor can it be evaluated in the same way as the animal body, for it is a constitutive part of the person who manifests and expresses itself through it. The natural law expresses the goals, rights and duties which are based on the physical and spiritual nature of the human person, and thus prescribes them at the same time. Therefore, it cannot be seen as the normativity of the merely biological, but must be defined as a rational order, according to which man is called by the Creator to guide and regulate his life and his actions and in particular to use and dispose of his own body . (10) A first conclusion can be drawn from these principles: An intervention on the human body not only affects the tissues, organs and their functions, but also has to do with the person himself on various levels. And to that extent it also bears moral significance and responsibility, perhaps implicitly, but really. Before the World Medical Association, John Paul II affirmed very clearly: “In his unrepeatable uniqueness, every person consists not only of spirit, but also of body. In this way, in the body and through the body, one touches the person as such in its concrete reality. Respecting human dignity therefore means maintaining this identity of being a human being from body and soul (corpore et anima unus), like the Second Vatican Council (pastoral const. Gaudium et Spes, 14,1) says. On the basis of this anthropological view, one must find the basic criteria for the necessary decisions in the case of interventions that are not strictly therapeutic, for example those aimed at improving the biological condition of man. ”(11) Biology and medicine with its forms of application contribute to the holistic well-being of human life when it comes to the aid of the person suffering from illness and weakness in respect of their dignity as God's creature. No biologist or doctor can reasonably presume on the basis of their scientific competence to decide about the origin and goal of people. This norm must be applied in a special way in the area of ​​sexuality and procreation, in which man and woman realize the basic values ​​of life and love. God, who is love and life, has impressed on man and woman the call to a special participation in his secret of personal community as well as in his work as Creator and Father. (12) Marriage, therefore, has specific goods and values ​​relating to union and procreation that are not comparable to those found in lower forms of life. Such values ​​and meaning of the personal order determine from a moral point of view the meaning and the limits of artificial interventions in the reproduction and the origin of human life. These interventions should not be rejected because they are artificial. To that extent they show the possibilities of the medical art, but one must evaluate it from a moral point of view, relating it to the dignity of the human person who is called to realize the divine vocation to the gift of love and the gift of life.

4. Basic criteria for making a moral judgment

The fundamental values ​​associated with artificial reproduction techniques are two: the life of the human being that is brought into being and the uniqueness of its transmission in marriage. The moral judgment of such techniques of artificial procreation must therefore be formulated with reference to these values. The physical life, through which the human path of life in the world begins, certainly does not exhaust the full value of the person, nor does it represent the highest good of the person who is called to eternity. Nevertheless, in a certain way it is the “fundamental” value, precisely because all other values ​​of the human person are based on physical life and develop from there. (13) The inviolability of the innocent human being's right to life "from the moment of conception until death" (14) is a sign and a requirement of the inviolability of the person himself to whom the Creator has given the gift of life. In comparison with the transmission of the other life forms in the universe, the transmission of human life has its uniqueness, which is derived from the uniqueness of the person himself. “The transmission of human life is by nature entrusted to a personal and conscious act and as such is subject to the most sacred laws of God. These laws are immutable and inviolable; no one may disregard and transgress them. That is why one must not use any means or follow any methods that may be permitted in plant and animal reproduction. ”(15) The advances in technology have now made possible a conception without sexual relationship, by means of the merging of the germ cells in vitro, the were previously won by man and woman. But what is technically possible is not morally acceptable for that reason alone. The reflection of reason on the fundamental values ​​of life and human reproduction is therefore indispensable in order to arrive at a moral evaluation of such interventions by technology on human beings from the first stages of their development.

5. Instruction of the teaching office

The Magisterium of the Church, for its part, offers the light of revelation in this area of ​​human reason too: The doctrine of man, as presented by the Magisterium, contains many elements which illuminate the problems at hand here. From the moment of conception every human being must be absolutely respected because man is the only creature on earth that God “willed for its own sake” (16), and the spirit soul of every person is “created directly by God” “Is (17); his whole being bears the image of the Creator. Human life is sacred because from its beginning it needs “the creative power of God” (18) and remains forever in a special relationship with its Creator, its only goal. (19) Only God is Lord of life from its beginning to its end: no one may, under any circumstances, claim the right to directly destroy an innocent human being. (20) Human procreation requires the responsible cooperation of the married couple with the fruitful love of God (21); the gift of human life must be realized within marriage through the specific and exclusive acts of the spouses, according to the laws impressed on them as persons and on their union. (22)

PART ONE

BEWARE OF THE HUMAN EMBRYO

A careful consideration of this instruction of the Magisterium and the above-mentioned knowledge of reason makes it possible to give an answer to the manifold moral problems which were raised by the technical interventions in the human being in the initial stages of his life and in the processes of his conception.

1. What respect do we owe the human embryo because of its nature and identity?

Every human being - as a person - must be respected from the first moment of its existence. The introduction of artificial insemination techniques has made various types of interventions on human embryos and fetuses possible. The aims pursued are of various kinds, namely diagnostic and therapeutic, scientific and commercial. All of these give rise to serious problems. Can one speak of a right to carry out experiments on human embryos for scientific research purposes? Which standards or which legislation must be drawn up for this matter? The answer to such problems presupposes a deeper reflection on the nature and the true identity - one speaks of the "status" - of the human embryo. For its part, at the Second Vatican Council, the Church once again presented people of today with their consistent and secure teaching, according to which “human life must be protected with the greatest care from conception. Abortion and the killing of the child are despicable crimes. ”(23) Recently, the Charter of Family Rights published by the Holy See declared:“ Human life must be absolutely respected and protected from the moment of conception. ”(24) This Congregation is aware of the current ones Discussions about the beginning of human life, about the individuality of human beings and about the identity of the human person.She recalls the teachings contained in the Declaration on Premature Abortion: “From the moment the egg is fertilized, a new life begins, which is neither that of the father nor that of the mother, but that of a new human Being that develops independently. It would never become human if it hadn't been from that moment on. Newer genetics confirm this fact, which has always been clear. . ., in an impressive way. It has shown that from the very first moment there is a fixed structure of this living being: namely a person, namely this concrete human individual who is already endowed with all of his precisely defined characteristic features. With fertilization begins the adventure of human life, the individual important faculties of which need time to develop properly and become ready for action. ”(25) This teaching remains valid and, if this were still necessary, is supported by recent research results in human biology confirms that recognizes that the zygote * resulting from fertilization has already constituted the biological identity of a new human individual. Certainly no experimental result in itself can be sufficient to reveal a spiritual soul; Nevertheless, the results of embryology provide a valuable indication of how to use reason to perceive a personal presence from this first appearance of a human being: How should a human individual not be a human person? The Magisterium has not specifically committed itself to statements of a philosophical nature, but has consistently affirmed the moral condemnation of any premeditated abortion. This teaching has not changed and is unchangeable. (26) Therefore, from the first moment of its existence, that is, from the formation of the zygote, the fruit of human procreation requires that unconditional respect which is morally owed to the human being in its physical and spiritual wholeness. A human being must be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception, and consequently from that very moment he must be recognized with personal rights, including, above all, the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being. This reference to ecclesiastical teaching provides the fundamental criterion for solving the various problems that have arisen in this field through the development of the biomedical sciences: since it must be treated as a person, the embryo must be treated as much as possible like any other human being be defended, cared for and healed in their integrity within the framework of medical care.

* The zygote is the cell that is created by the union of the two gametes. (Editor's note: gametes are the fertilizable egg cell and the fertilizable sperm cell.)

2. Is antenatal diagnosis morally permissible?

If prenatal diagnosis respects the life and integrity of the embryo and human fetus and is geared towards their individual protection or healing, the answer is positive. The prenatal diagnosis actually reveals the condition of the embryo and the fetus while it is still in the womb. It allows some therapeutic, medical or surgical interventions to be carried out or planned earlier and more effectively. Such a diagnosis is permitted if the methods used - with the consent of the appropriately informed parents - preserve the life and integrity of the embryo and its mother without exposing them to disproportionate risks. (27) But it is gravely contrary to moral law if, depending on the results, it contemplates the possibility of having an abortion. A diagnosis that indicates the existence of a deformity or a hereditary disease must not be equivalent to a death sentence. Therefore, if the results confirmed the presence of a deformity or abnormality, the woman who requested the diagnosis with the specific intent of having an abortion would be acting seriously illicitly. In the same way, the spouse, parent, or anyone else would act contrary to morality if they advised the pregnant woman to be diagnosed with the same aim, or if they required to go to an abortion if necessary. Likewise, the specialist would be guilty of illicit aid which, in making the diagnosis and communicating the result, would deliberately help establish the link between antenatal diagnosis and abortion. Finally, as a violation of the right to life in relation to the unborn child and as an encroachment on the original rights and duties of the spouses, one must condemn a policy or program of the public health authorities or scientific organizations which in any way bridges the connection between prenatal diagnosis and Favor abortion or even induce pregnant women to undergo a scheduled prenatal diagnosis with the aim of destroying fetuses that are affected by malformations or hereditary diseases or that transmit them.

3. Are therapeutic interventions allowed on the human embryo?

As with any medical intervention on patients, the interventions on the human embryo must be regarded as permissible on the condition that they respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but rather its healing, improvement of its state of health or aim for individual survival. Whatever the nature of the medical therapy, be it surgical or of a different nature, the free consent of the parents is required after appropriate information, in accordance with the professional ethical rules provided for in the case of children. The application of this moral principle in the case of the life of embryos or fetuses may require subtle and special precautions. The permissibility and the criteria for such interventions have been clearly stated by John Paul II: “A purely therapeutic intervention, the purpose of which is to cure various diseases - such as those that can be traced back to malformations of the chromosomes - can in principle be regarded as desirable provided that it aims at a true advancement of the personal well-being of the individual without violating his integrity or deteriorating his living conditions. Such an intervention actually corresponds in its logic to the tradition of Christian morality. "(28)

4. How should research and experiments * with human embryos and fetuses be judged morally?

Medical research must refrain from interfering with living embryos unless there is moral certainty that no harm will be done to the life or the integrity of the unborn child and the mother, and provided that the parents have given their information have given free consent to this intervention. It follows that any research, even if it was limited to the examination of the embryo, would be prohibited if, because of the methods used or the effects produced, it represented a danger to the physical integrity or the life of the embryo. With regard to experiments, one must presuppose a general distinction between those who have no direct therapeutic objectives and those which are clearly therapeutic for the subject himself. On the other hand, one has to distinguish between the experiment with living embryos and the experiment with dead embryos. If they are alive, viable or not, they must be respected like all human persons; the not directly therapeutic experiment with embryos is prohibited. (29) No goal setting, even if it is honorable as such, such as the foresight of a benefit to science, to other human beings or to society, can in any way justify experiments with living embryos or fetuses, be they viable or not, in the womb or outside of it. The consent after prior information, which is normally required for clinical trials on adults, cannot be given by the parents; they cannot dispose of the physical integrity or the life of the unborn child. On the other hand, experiments with embryos and fetuses always bring with them the danger, and in the majority of cases even the sure foresight of damage to their physical integrity or even their death. Using the human embryo or fetus as an object or means for experimentation is a crime against their dignity as human beings who have the same right to respect as the already born child and every human person. The Charter of Family Rights published by the Holy See states: “Respect for the dignity of the human being excludes any kind of experimental manipulation or exploitation of the human embryo.” (30) The practice of using human embryos in vivo or in vitro for experimental or commercial use Keeping purposes alive is completely at odds with human dignity. In the case of an unequivocally therapeutic experiment, the use of pharmaceuticals or methods that have not yet been fully tested may be permitted if it involves the use of experimental treatment methods for the benefit of the embryo itself, in order to save its life in a final attempt - in the absence of other safe therapies rescue. (31) The corpses of human embryos and fetuses, whether intentionally aborted or not, must be treated like the remains of other human beings. In particular, they must not be subjected to mutilation or autopsy until their death has been established with certainty, and not without the consent of their parents or mother. In addition, the moral requirement must always remain that there was no aid to a voluntary abortion and that the danger of scandal be avoided. In the case of deceased fetuses, as with adult corpses, any commercial practice must be considered illegal and prohibited.

* As the terms “research” and “experiment” are often used equivalently and ambiguously, it seems necessary to clarify the meaning given to them in this document. 1) Research is understood to mean any inductive-deductive approach that aims to promote the systematic investigation of a given phenomenon in the human area or to check a hypothesis that has emerged from previous investigations. 2) An experiment is understood to mean any research in which the human being (in the various stages of its existence: as an embryo, fetus, child or adult) represents the object by means of or on which the effect of a given treatment method (e.g. pharmacological, theratogenic, surgical etc.), whether known or not yet known, should be examined.

5. How is the use of the embryos obtained through in vitro fertilization for research purposes to be judged morally?

The embryos created in vitro are human beings and legal subjects: their dignity and their right to life must be respected from the very first moment of their existence. It is immoral to produce human embryos for the purpose of recycling as freely available "biological material". In standard in vitro fertilization practice, not all embryos are transferred to the womb; some are destroyed. Just as it condemns premeditated abortion, the Church also forbids any attack on the lives of these human beings. It is necessary to point out the particular severity of the voluntary destruction of human embryos, which have only been produced in vitro for the purpose of research - be it by means of artificial insemination or by means of “twin splitting”. The researcher who acts in this way puts himself in the place of God and makes himself master of the fate of others, even if he is not aware of it, insofar as he chooses at will who he lets live and whom he condemns to death, as well as in so far as he kills defenseless people. For the same reason, methods of observation and experimentation that cause damage to embryos obtained in vitro or expose them to serious and disproportionate risks are morally impermissible. Every human being must be respected for its own sake and must not be degraded to the mere and simple value of a means to the benefit of others. It is therefore not morality to deliberately expose human embryos produced in vitro to death. As a result of the fact that they were produced in vitro, these embryos, which were not transferred to the womb and which are described as “surplus”, remain exposed to an absurd fate, with no possibility of being able to offer them safe and morally impeccable survival opportunities.

6. What is the verdict on the other embryo manipulation techniques related to "human replication techniques"?

In vitro fertilization techniques can open up the possibility of other forms of biological or genetic manipulation of human embryos, namely: attempts or schemes to fertilize between human and animal germ cells and to carry human embryos to the womb of animals; the hypothetical project or plan to construct artificial wombs for the human embryo. These practices contradict the dignity of the embryo as a human being and at the same time violate the right of every person to be conceived and born within and through marriage. (32) Attempts and hypotheses aimed at gaining a human being without any connection with sexuality by means of “twin splitting”, cloning or parthenogenesis are also contrary to morality because they adhere to the dignity of human reproduction as well as that contradict the marital union. The freezing of embryos, even if it is carried out to guarantee the survival of the embryo (cryopreservation), is an insult to the respect due to human beings, insofar as it exposes them to grave dangers of death or damage to their physical integrity, at least temporarily withdraws from maternal acceptance and discharge and exposes her to a situation threatened by further injuries and manipulation. Some attempts to intervene in the chromosomal or genetic property are not therapeutic in nature, but aim at the production of human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined characteristics. These manipulations stand in opposition to the personal dignity of the human being, his integrity and his identity. They can therefore in no way be justified with regard to possible beneficial consequences for future humanity. (33) Every person must be respected for his own sake: this is the dignity and right of every human being from the very beginning.

PART II

INTERVENTIONS IN HUMAN REPRODUCTION

“Artificial reproduction” or “artificial insemination” is understood here to mean the various technical processes that aim to achieve human conception in a way other than through the sexual union of man and woman. The instructions deal with the fertilization of an egg cell in a test tube (in vitro fertilization) and with artificial insemination by transferring previously obtained semen into the woman's sexual organs. A first point for the moral evaluation of such techniques arises from consideration of the circumstances and consequences which they entail with regard to the respect due to the human embryo. The enforcement of the practice of in vitro fertilization has required innumerable fertilizations and destruction of human embryos. Even today, it usually requires increased egg cell formation in women: several egg cells are removed, fertilized and cultured in vitro for a few days. In general, not all are transmitted into the female genital organs; some embryos, commonly referred to as "redundant", are destroyed or frozen. Sometimes some of the implanted embryos are sacrificed for various eugenic, economic or psychological reasons. Such a freely willful destruction of human beings or their utilization for various purposes, to the detriment of their integrity and their lives, contradicts the already remembered teaching regarding the deliberate abortion. The connection between in vitro fertilization and the deliberate destruction of human embryos is all too often confirmed.This is significant: With these procedures, the objectives of which are apparently opposed, life and death are subjected to the decisions of the person who makes himself lord of life and death at will. This dynamic of violence and domination can go unnoticed by those who want to use it and submit to it in the process. The remembered facts and the cold logic that binds them together must be factored in for a moral judgment on FIVET (In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer): The abortion mentality that made it possible leads so - if like it or not - to a rule of man over life and death by his own kind, which can become a radical genesis. But such abuses do not absolve one from a deeper and more extensive ethical reflection on the artificial reproduction techniques, considered in itself, in that one refrains, as far as it is at all possible, from the destruction of the in vitro generated embryos. The present instruction will therefore first consider the problems posed by heterologous artificial insemination (II, 1–3) * and then those associated with homologous artificial insemination (II, 4–6) ** are connected. Before we ethically judge each of them, consider the principles and values ​​that govern the moral judgment of each of these practices.

** Under the term heterologous artificial insemination or conception, the instruction understands the techniques which are aimed at bringing about an artificial human conception, starting from germ cells which come from at least one donor, from the married spouses is different. Such techniques can be of two types: a) Heterologous FIVET: The technique aimed at inducing human conception through the in vitro encounter of germ cells obtained from at least one donor, from those in the Married spouses is different. b) artificial heterologous insemination: the technique aimed at inducing human conception through the transfer into the woman's reproductive organs of semen from a donor other than her husband.

** The instruction understands homologous artificial insemination or conception as the technique which is aimed at bringing about a human conception and which starts from the germ cells of two married couples. Homologous artificial insemination can be achieved using two different methods: a) homologous FIVET: the technique aimed at inducing human conception through the in vitro encounter of the germ cells of married spouses. b) homologous artificial insemination: the technique aimed at inducing human conception through the transfer of the husband's semen into the wife's sex organs.

 

A.
THE HETEROLOGICAL ARTIFICIAL FERTILIZATION

1. Why does human procreation have to take place in marriage?

Every human being must always be received as a gift and blessing from God. From a moral point of view, however, truly responsible procreation towards the unborn must be the fruit of marriage. Because of the personal dignity of parents and children, human procreation has specific properties: the procreation of a new person, through whom man and woman cooperate with the power of the Creator, should be the fruit and sign of the mutual personal gift of the spouses, their love and their loyalty. (34) The fidelity of the spouses in the unity of marriage includes mutual respect for their right to have one father or mother only through the other. The child has a right to be conceived, carried to term, brought into the world and brought up within marriage: It is precisely through the safe and recognized relationship with its own parents that it can discover its own identity and mature humanely. Parents find confirmation and completion of their mutual devotion in the child: it is the living reflection of their love, the lasting sign of their conjugal community, the living and indissoluble unity of their father and motherhood. (35) By virtue of vocation and personal responsibility, the welfare of children and parents contribute to the welfare of society. The vitality and balance of society require that children be born in a family and that it be firmly founded on marriage. Church tradition and anthropological reflection recognize marriage and its indissoluble unity as the only worthy place of truly responsible procreation.

2. Does heterologous artificial insemination correspond to the dignity of the married couple and the truth of marriage?

Through FIVET and heterologous artificial insemination, human conception is brought about through the encounter of germ cells that come from at least one donor who is different from the married couple. Heterologous artificial insemination contradicts the unity of marriage, the dignity of the married couple, the parent's vocation, and the right of the child to be conceived and given birth in and through marriage. (36) Respect for the unity of marriage and conjugal fidelity require that the child be conceived in marriage; the bond that exists between the spouses objectively and inalienably grants them the exclusive right that the one becomes father or mother only through the other. (37) The recourse to the germ cells of a third person in order to have the sperm or egg cell at disposal means a breach of the mutual obligation of the spouses and a grave misconduct with regard to an essential quality of marriage, namely its unity. Heterologous artificial insemination violates the rights of the child, robs them of the child's relationship to their parental origins and can hinder the maturation of their personal identity. It also means an attack on the common vocation of spouses who are called to fatherhood or motherhood: it objectively robs the marital fertility of their unity and integrity; it causes and manifests a rupture between genetic parenthood, voluntary parenthood and responsibility for upbringing. Such a change in personal relationships within the family has an impact on state society: what threatens the unity and stability of the family is a source of strife, disorder and injustice in all social life. These reasons lead to a negative moral judgment about heterologous artificial insemination. Accordingly, the fertilization of a married woman with the semen of a man different from her husband is morally impermissible; The fertilization of the egg cell, which comes from another woman, with the sperm of the husband is also forbidden. In addition, artificial insemination of an unmarried woman, single or widowed, cannot be morally justified, whoever the donor is. The desire to have a child, the love of the married couple, who would like to remedy a sterility that cannot otherwise be overcome, are understandable motives; but subjectively good intentions do not reconcile heterologous artificial insemination with the objective and inalienable characteristics of marriage or with respect for the rights of the child and the married couple.

3. Is "surrogate motherhood" * morally permissible?

* Under the term “surrogate mother” the instruction understands: a) the woman who carries an embryo implanted in her uterus which is genetically foreign to her because it was obtained through the union of the germ cells of “donors” with the obligation to give birth to the child to be handed over after birth to the person who commissioned or agreed to such an event; b) the woman who carries an embryo which she has contributed to the creation of by donating her own egg, which has been fertilized by insemination with the semen of a man different from her husband with the obligation to hand the child over to the person after its birth, who commissioned or agreed the event.

No, and for the same reasons that lead to the rejection of heterologous artificial insemination: because it is in opposition to the unity of marriage and the dignity of the human person's procreation. Surrogate motherhood represents an objective violation of the duties of mother love, conjugal fidelity and responsible motherhood; it offends the dignity and the right of the child to be conceived, carried to life, brought into the world and brought up by its own parents; it introduces, to the detriment of the family, a separation between the physical, psychological and moral elements that make up the family.

 

B.
THE HOMOLOGOUS ARTIFICIAL FERTILIZATION

After heterologous artificial insemination has been declared unacceptable, the question arises of the moral evaluation of the procedures of homologous artificial insemination FIVET and artificial insemination between spouses. A fundamental question must be clarified beforehand.

4. From a moral point of view, what bond is required between procreation and the conjugal act?

a) In its teaching on marriage and human procreation, the Church underlines “the indissoluble connection between the two meanings determined by God - loving union and procreation - both inherent in the conjugal act. Humans are not allowed to break this link on their own initiative. According to its innermost structure, the conjugal act, by uniting the spouses as closely as possible, enables at the same time the creation of new life, according to the laws that are inscribed in the nature of man and woman. ”(38) This on the nature of marriage and the principle based on the intimate connection of their goods has well-known consequences on the level of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. "If the two essential aspects of loving union and procreation are observed, the conjugal act fully retains the meaning of mutual and true love and its alignment with the lofty task of parenthood." of the conjugal act and between the goods of marriage clarifies the moral problem of homologous artificial insemination, for "it is never permissible to separate these different aspects in such a way that one positively excludes either the intention of procreation or the marital relationship". (40) Contraception deliberately deprives the marital act of its opening towards procreation and thus brings about a deliberate separation of the goals of marriage. Homologous artificial insemination objectively brings about an analogous separation between the goods and meaningfulness of marriage by striving for reproduction that is not the result of a specific act of marital union. It is therefore permissible to desire fertilization if it is the result of a “marital act which is inherently suitable for the generation of offspring, to which marriage is by its nature arranged and through which the spouses become one flesh”. (41) But procreation is deprived of its own perfection from a moral point of view if it is not sought as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is, of the specific event of the union of the married couple. b) The moral value of the intimate bond that exists between the goods of marriage and between the meaningfulness of the conjugal act is based on the unity of the human being, the unity of the body and the spiritual soul. (42) The spouses express their personal love for one another in the “language of the body”, which clearly combines the expression of mutual devotion with the determination to be a parent. (43) The conjugal act, through which the spouses announce their self-giving to one another, simultaneously expresses the opening to the gift of life: it is an inseparable physical and spiritual act at the same time. In their bodies and through their bodies the spouses consummate marriage and can become father and mother. In order to respect the language of the body and its natural fullness, conjugal union must take place with respect for the opening towards procreation, and the procreation of a person must be the fruit and goal of conjugal love. The origin of the human being is thus the fruit of a procreation that is "bound not only to the biological but also to the spiritual union of the parents who are united in the covenant of marriage". (44) A fertilization obtained outside the body of the spouses remains deprived of the meaning and values ​​that are expressed in the language of the body and the union of human persons. c) Only respect for the bond that exists between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being permit reproduction in accordance with the dignity of the person. In its unique and unrepeatable origin, the child must be respected and recognized in its personal dignity like those who give it life. The human person must be drawn into the signs of the oneness and love of his or her parents; the procreation of a child must therefore be the fruit of mutual donation (45), which is realized in the conjugal act in which the married couple - as servants and not as masters - take part in the work of Creator Love. (46) The origin of a human person is actually the result of a gift. The recipient must be the fruit of his parents' love. It cannot be wanted or received as the product of an intervention by medical techniques: this would mean degrading it to an object of scientific technology. Nobody should subject the birth of a child to the conditions of technical efficiency, which are assessed according to the standards of control and domination. The moral significance of the bond that exists between the meanings of the conjugal act and between the goods of marriage, the unity of human nature and the dignity of its origin require that the conception of a human person be the fruit of the specifically conjugal act of love between the spouses must be sought. It thus shows the great importance of the link that exists between procreation and the conjugal act, in the anthropological and moral field, and this explains the position of the magisterium on homologous artificial insemination.

5. Is Homologous In Vitro Fertilization Morally Allowed?

The answer to this question depends closely on the principles just mentioned. Certainly one cannot ignore the legitimate concerns of sterile married couples; To some of them, recourse to homologous FIVET appears to be the only means of having a genuinely desired child: one wonders whether in these situations conjugal life as a whole is not sufficient to ensure the dignity of human reproduction. It is recognized that the FIVET is certainly not capable of replacing a lack of marital relationships (47) and should not be preferred to the specific acts of marital union, given the dangers it may pose to the child and the shortcomings of the procedure has in mind. But - one asks - if it were impossible to remedy sterility, which is the cause of suffering, in any other way, then homologous in vitro fertilization cannot provide help, even therapy, and therefore cannot provide its moral Admissibility be accepted? The desire for a child - or at least the willingness to pass on life - is, from a moral point of view, required for responsible human procreation. But this good intention is not sufficient for a morally positive assessment of in vitro fertilization between spouses. The FIVET process must be assessed in itself; it cannot derive its ultimate moral evaluation from the conjugal life in its entirety into which it fits, nor from the marital acts that precede it, nor from those that may follow it. (48) It has already been recalled how, under the circumstances in which it is commonly practiced, FIVET entails the destruction of human beings, a fact which goes against the previously presented doctrine of the illicit abortion. (49) But even if every precaution was taken to avoid the death of human embryos, the homologous FIVET separates the acts of human fertilization from the conjugal act. It is therefore necessary to consider the very nature of the homologous FIVET pull and also disregard the connection to abortion.The homologous FIVET is carried out outside the body of the spouses with the help of the actions of third parties, whose competence and technical performance determine the success of the intervention; it entrusts the life and identity of the embryo to the power of physicians and biologists and establishes a domination of technology over the origin and destination of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that parents and children must have in common. In vitro conception is the result of a technical act that primarily determines fertilization; it is not the expression and fruit of a specific act of conjugal union; it is neither actually brought about in this way nor is it positively striven for as the expression and fruit of a specific act of marital union. Even if one considers them in the context of the actually existing marital relationships, in the homologous FIVET the procreation of the human person is objectively deprived of its own perfection: namely to be the goal and fruit of a marital act through which the spouses “in the giving of life a new human person to co-workers with God ”. (50) These reasons explain why the doctrine of the Church regards the conjugal act of love as the only place worthy of human procreation. For the same reasons, the so-called "simple case" - that is, a homologous FIVET procedure that would be free from any compromising connection with the practice of abortion, the destruction of embryos and masturbation - remains a morally illegal technique because it prevents human reproduction robbed of their own and natural dignity. Certainly homologous FIVET is not burdened with all of the ethical negativity found in extra-marital procreation; Family and marriage remain the space for the birth and upbringing of the child. Nevertheless - in accordance with traditional teaching on the goods of marriage and the dignity of the person - the Church remains morally opposed to homologous in vitro fertilization; this is inherently impermissible and is contrary to the dignity of procreation and conjugal union, even if everything is done to avoid the death of the human embryo. Although the manner in which human conception is brought about in the FIVET cannot be approved, every child born must be accepted as a living gift of divine goodness and raised with love.

6. How is artificial homologous insemination to be assessed from a moral point of view?

Homologous artificial insemination within the marriage cannot be allowed, with the exception of the case in which the technical means would not replace the conjugal act but would facilitate it and help it to achieve its natural goal. The teaching of the Magisterium on this subject has already been given. (51) It is not just an expression of particular historical circumstances, but is based on the teaching of the Church on the link between conjugal union and procreation and on the consideration of the personal nature of the conjugal act. “According to its natural structure, the marital act is a personal act, a simultaneous direct cooperation of the spouses. Because of the nature of those who work here and because of the peculiarity of the act, this is the expression of mutual devotion which, according to a word of the Holy Scriptures, leads to unity in one flesh. ”(52) Therefore, the moral conscience“ rejects ” not necessarily the use of certain artificial aids, which only serve to facilitate the natural act or to help the normally performed act to its goal ”. (53) If the technical means facilitates the marital act or helps it to achieve its natural ends, it can be morally affirmed. If, on the other hand, the technical intervention should take the place of the conjugal act, it is morally impermissible. The artificial insemination that replaces the conjugal act is prohibited because of the voluntary separation between the two meanings of the conjugal act. Masturbation, by which the seed is usually obtained, is another sign of this separation; even if it is done with a view to procreation, this act remains deprived of its meaning towards union: “for it lacks. . . a sexual relationship required by the moral order, namely that which "realizes the full meaning of mutual devotion as well as that of a really humane conception in real love". (54)

7. What moral criterion is to be set with regard to the doctor's intervention in human reproduction?

The medical act must not only be evaluated with regard to its technical dimension, but must also and above all in relation to its goal, which consists in the well-being of the person and in their physical and mental health. The moral guidelines for medical intervention in procreation are derived from the dignity of human persons, their gender and their origin. Medicine, which wants to be aligned with the holistic well-being of the person, must respect the specifically human values ​​of sexuality. (55) The doctor is at the service of persons and human reproduction: he has no authority to dispose of them or to decide over them. Medical intervention respects the dignity of the person if it is aimed at assisting the marital act by facilitating its performance or helping it to achieve its goal once it has been performed in the normal way. (56) In contrast, it sometimes happens that the medical intervention technically replaces the conjugal act in order to bring about a procreation that is neither its result nor its fruit: in this case the medical act is not as it should be in the Service to the conjugal union, but appropriates the function of procreation and thus contradicts the dignity and rights of the married couple and the unborn child. The humanization of medicine, which is strongly demanded by everyone today, requires respect for the holistic dignity of the human person first and foremost in the act and at the moment when the spouses pass on life to a new person. It is therefore logical to make an urgent appeal to Catholic doctors and researchers to give exemplary testimony to the respect that is owed to the human embryo and the dignity of reproduction. Doctors and medical nursing staff in Catholic hospitals and clinics are called upon in a special way to honor the moral obligations they have entered into, which are often also set out in legal statutes. Those in charge of these Catholic hospitals and clinics, many of whom are religious, will wholeheartedly work to ensure that the moral norms of this instruction are carefully followed.

8. The suffering of marital sterility

The suffering of spouses who are unable to have children or who are afraid of having a disabled child is a suffering that all must understand and adequately appreciate. On the part of the married couple, the desire for a child is natural: it expresses the vocation to fatherhood and motherhood that is imprinted on conjugal love. This desire can be even stronger when the couple is suffering from sterility that appears to be incurable. Admittedly, marriage does not grant the spouse the right to have a child, but only the right to perform those natural acts which are in and of themselves directed towards procreation. (57) A right in the true sense of the word to the child would be contrary to the child's dignity and nature. The child is not something owed and cannot be understood as an object of property: it is rather a gift, “the most excellent” (58) and the most freely given of marriage; it is a living testimony to the mutual devotion of his parents. Therefore, as has been recalled, the child has the right to be the fruit of his parents' specific act of conjugal devotion and a right to be respected as a person from the first moment of conception. However, whatever the cause and prognosis, sterility is certainly a tough test. The community of believers is called to illuminate and share in the suffering of those who cannot fulfill a legitimate desire for fatherhood and motherhood. Spouses who find themselves in this painful situation are called to discover in it the opportunity for a special participation in the cross of the Lord, a source of spiritual fruitfulness. The sterile married couples must not forget that “the conjugal life does not lose its value even when the creation of new life is not possible. Bodily infertility can give spouses other important services in human life, such as adoption, various forms of educational work, help for other families, for poor or handicapped children. ”(59) Many researchers have campaigned against sterility. Some, with full respect for the dignity of human reproduction, have achieved results that previously seemed unattainable. Scientists must therefore be encouraged to continue their research in order to prevent and remedy the causes of sterility, so that the sterile married couples can reproduce with respect for their personal dignity and that of the unborn child.

PART III

MORAL AND STATE LEGISLATION

The moral values ​​and duties that state legislation in this area must respect and protect

The inviolable right to life of every innocent human individual, the rights of the family and the institution of marriage are fundamental moral values ​​because they concern the essential condition and holistic vocation of the human person; at the same time they are constitutive elements of state society and its order. For this reason, the new technological possibilities opened up in the field of biomedicine require the intervention of political authorities and legislators, because uncontrolled use of such techniques could lead to unpredictable and harmful consequences for state society. The reference to the conscience of each individual and to the self-restraint of the researcher cannot be sufficient to protect personal rights and public order. If the lawmaker responsible for the common good is not vigilant, it could be robbed of its prerogatives by researchers who pretend to dominate humanity in the name of biological discoveries and alleged "improvement" processes that derive from it . The “generous selection” and the discrimination between people could be legitimized: this would mean a rape and a serious attack against the equality, the dignity and the fundamental rights of the human person. The intervention of political authority must be guided by the principles of reason that govern the relationship between civil and moral law. It is the task of state law to safeguard the common good of people by defending basic rights, promoting peace and promoting public morality. (60) In no area of ​​life may state law take the place of conscience, nor prescribe norms on matters that go beyond its competences; sometimes it has to allow things in terms of public order that it cannot forbid without causing even greater harm. The inalienable rights of the person, however, must be recognized and respected by civil society and political authority: these human rights do not depend on the individual or on the parents, nor do they constitute a concession by society and the state belong to human nature and are rooted in the person by virtue of the act of creation from which it originated.

In this context, one must count among these fundamental rights:

a) the right to life and physical integrity of every human being from the moment of conception until death;
b) the rights of the family and marriage as an institution and, in this context, the right of the child to be conceived, brought into the world and brought up by his or her parents. A few more considerations must be made here on these two topics.

In various states, some laws have allowed the direct elimination of innocent people: the moment a positive law deprives a category of people of the protection civil law must afford them, the state denies the equality of all before the law. If the state power does not place itself at the service of the rights of every citizen, and especially of those who are weakest, then the foundations of the rule of law will be undermined. Political authority, therefore, cannot allow human beings to be brought into existence by means of procedures which expose them to the inadmissible risks recalled above. If positive law and political authorities were to give credit to the artifical transmission of life techniques and experiments, they would widen the breach made by the legalization of abortion even further. As a consequence of the respect and protection that the unborn child must be assured of from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate punitive measures for any deliberate violation of his rights. The law must not tolerate - on the contrary, it must expressly forbid - that human beings, even if they are in the embryonic stage, treated as test objects, mutilated or destroyed on the pretext that they are superfluous or incapable of developing normally. Political authority is required to guarantee the family institution on which society is founded the legal protection to which it is entitled. Precisely because it is at the service of people, political authority must also be at the service of the family. State law must not grant its protection to those techniques of artificial reproduction which, for the benefit of third parties (doctors, biologists, economic circles or government powers), obtain what constitutes an inherent right in the relations of the spouses; furthermore, it must not legally permit the donation of germ cells between persons who are not legitimately married. Since it has to support the family, the legislation must also prohibit embryo banks, post-mortem insemination and “surrogate motherhood”. It is part of the duty of public authority to see that state law is guided by the basic rules of moral law in all that concerns human rights, human life and the institution of the family. By influencing public opinion, politicians must work to achieve the greatest possible consensus in society on these crucial points and to strengthen it where it is weakened or threatens to decline. In many countries, the legalization of abortion and legal tolerance towards unmarried couples make it more difficult to achieve the respect for the fundamental rights recalled in this instruction. It is to be hoped that states do not assume the responsibility of aggravating these harmful situations of social injustice. On the contrary, it is to be hoped that nations and states will all become aware of the cultural, ideological and political entanglements associated with the techniques of artificial reproduction, and that they find the wisdom and courage necessary to adopt more just laws that respect human life and the institution of marriage. In many countries, state legislation today provides unjustified legitimation for certain practices; it turns out to be incapable of guaranteeing that morality which corresponds to the natural requirements of the human person and the "unwritten laws" which the Creator has impressed on the human heart. All people of good will must work, especially in their professional field and in the exercise of their civil rights, to change the morally unacceptable state laws and illicit practical behavior. In addition, the “conscientious objection” to such laws must be encouraged and recognized.Indeed, even more, in the moral consciousness of many, especially among the specialists in biomedical sciences, the demand for passive resistance to the legitimization of practices that are in contradiction to life and human dignity is beginning to flare up sharply.

CONCLUSION

The proliferation of technologies to interfere with the processes of human reproduction raises the most serious moral problems in relation to the respect owed to the human being from conception, for the dignity of the human person, his sexuality and the transmission of life. In fulfilling its task of promoting and protecting the doctrine of the Church, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith makes a new, concerned appeal in this document to all those who, because of their position or commitment, can exert a positive influence in the Family and society, life and love are respected: to those responsible for the formation of consciences and public opinion, to scientists, to medical professionals, to lawyers and to politicians . She wants everyone to understand the incompatibility that exists between recognizing the dignity of the human person and disregarding life and love, between believing in the living God and the desire to arbitrarily determine the origin and fate of a human being . In particular, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sends a trusting invitation and encouragement to theologians, and especially to teachers of morality, that they may deepen the content of the teachings of the Magisterium and make it more and more accessible to the faithful - in the light of a valid anthropology of gender and marriage, in the context of the necessary interdisciplinary approach. In this way one will understand better and better the reasons and the validity of this teaching: By defending man against the excesses of his own power, the Church of God reminds him of his true nobility; Only in this way will we be able to secure tomorrow's human race the opportunity to live in the dignity and freedom that derive from respect for the truth. The precise indications given in these instructions are therefore not intended to stop the effort of reflection, but rather - in the indispensable fidelity to the teaching of the Church - give it a renewed impetus. In the light of the truth about the gift of human life and the moral principles that follow from it, everyone is invited to act like the good Samaritan in his own area of ​​responsibility and to recognize even the smallest of the human children as his neighbor (cf. Lk 10, 29-37). The word of Christ finds a new and special echo here: "What you did for one of the least of my brothers, you did it for me" (Mt 25, 40). 

At an audience given to the undersigned Prefect following the plenary assembly of this Congregation, Pope John Paul II approved the present instruction and ordered its publication.

Rome, at the seat of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on February 22nd, 1987, the feast of St. Peter.

 Joseph Card. Ratzinger
prefect 

Alberto Bovone
Titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Numidia
secretary


GRADE

1 John Paul II, address to the participants of the 81st Congress of the Italian Society of Internal Medicine and the 82nd Congress of the Italian Society of General Surgery, October 27, 1980: AAS 72 (1980) 1126.

2 Paul VI, Address to the United Nations General AssemblyOctober 4, 1965: AAS 57: 878 (1965); Encycl. Populorum progressio, 13: AAS 59: 263 (1967).

3 Paul VI., Homily at Holy Mass at the end of the Holy Year, December 25, 1975: AAS 68 (1976) 145; John Paul II, encycl. Dives in misericordia, 30: AAS 72 (1980) 1224.

4 John Paul II, Address to the participants of the 35th General Assembly of the World Medical Association, October 29, 1983: AAS 76 (1984) 390.

5 See explanation Dignitatis humanae, 2. 

6 pastoral const. Gaudium et Spes, 22; John Paul II, encycl. Redemptor hominis 8: AAS 71 (1979) 270-272.

7 Cf. Pastoralkonst. Gaudium et Spes, 35. 

8 pastoral const. Gaudium et Spes, 15. Cf. also Paul VI., Encycl. Populorum progressio, 20: AAS 59 (1967) 267; John Paul II, encycl. Redemptor hominis, 15: AAS 71 (1979) 286-289; Apost. Write Familiaris consortio, 8: AAS 74 (1982) 89.

9 John Paul II, apost. Write Familiaris consortio, 11: AAS 74 (1982) 92.

10 Cf. Paul VI., Encycl. Humanae vitae, 10: AAS 60 (1968) 487-488.

11 John Paul II, Address to the participants of the 35th General Assembly of the World Medical Association, October 29, 1983: AAS 76 (1984) 393.

12 John Paul II, apost. Write Familiaris consortio, 11: AAS 74 (1982) 91-92. See also Pastoral Const. Gaudium et Spes, 50.

13 Holy Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration of intentional abortion, 9: AAS 66 (1974) 736-737.

14 John Paul II, Address to the participants of the 35th General Assembly of the World Medical Association, October 29, 1983: AAS 76 (1984) 390.

15 John XXIII, encycl. Mater et Magistra, III: AAS 53 (1961) 447.

13 16 Pastoral Const. Gaudium et Spes, 24. 

17 Cf. Pius XII., Encycl. Humani generis: AAS 42 (1950) 575; Paul VI., Professio fidei: AAS 60 (1968) 436.

18 John XXIII, encycl. Mater et Magistra, III: AAS 53 (1961) 447; see John Paul II, Address to the priests participating in a study seminar “On Responsible Parenthood”, September 17, 1983: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VI, 2 (1983) 562: “At the beginning of every human person there is a creative act of God: No human being comes into existence by chance; he is always the goal of God's creative love. "

19 Cf. Pastoralkonst. Gaudium et Spes, 24. 

20 Cf. Pius XII., Address to the medical-biological association “St. Lukas ", November 12, 1944: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi IV (1944-1945) 191-192.

21 Cf. Pastoralkonst. Gaudium et Spes, 24. 

22 Cf. Pastoralkonst. Gaudium et Spes, 51: “If it is a question of the merging of conjugal love and the responsible transmission of life, the moral quality of the behavior depends not only on the good intention and evaluation of the motives, but also on objective criteria that result from the essence devoted to the human person and their acts and who preserve both the full meaning of mutual devotion and that of a truly humane conception in real love. "

23 Pastoral Const. Gaudium et Spes, 51. 

24 Holy Chair, Family Rights Charter, 4: L’Osservatore Romano, November 25, 1983.

25 Holy Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration of intentional abortion, 12-13: AAS 66 (1974) 738.

26 Cf. Paul VI., Address to the participants of the XXIII. National Congress of Catholic Jurists of Italy, December 9, 1972: AAS 64 (1972) 777.

27 The obligation to avoid disproportionate risks requires real respect for human beings and honesty of therapeutic intent. This includes that the doctor “must above all carefully weigh the possible negative consequences which the necessary application of a certain examination technique can have on the embryo, and avoid resorting to diagnostic procedures whose honorable finality and fundamental harmlessness cannot be adequately guaranteed owns. And if - as is often the case with human decisions - a risk must be accepted, he must ensure that it is justified by the real urgency of the diagnosis and the importance of the results that can be obtained with it for the benefit of this embryo " (John Paul II, Address to the participants of the "Movement for Life" conference, December 3, 1982: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, V, 3 [1982] 1512). This specification of the “relative risk” must also be kept in mind in the following sections of this instruction, whenever this term appears.

28 John Paul II, Address to the participants of the 35th General Assembly of the World Medical Association, October 29, 1983: AAS 76 (1984) 392.

29 Cf. John Paul II., Address to the participants in a meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 23, 1982: AAS 75 (1983) 37: "I expressly and officially condemn experimental interventions on the human embryo, since a human being must not be misused for any purpose from the moment of conception until death."

30 Holy Chair, Family Rights Charter, 4 b: L’Osservatore Romano, November 25, 1983.

31 Cf. John Paul II., Address to the participants of the "Movement for Life" conference, December 3, 1982: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, V, 3 (1982) 1511: "Any kind of experiment with the fetus which could damage its integrity or worsen its health is unacceptable, unless it is a final attempt to save it from death." Holy Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on euthanasia, 4: AAS 72 (1980) 550: “In the absence of other means, it is permissible, with the consent of the patient, to use the remedies made available by the advances in medicine, even if these are still in the experimental stage and are not without risk . "

32 Nobody can assert a subjective right to the beginning of his existence before his existence; but it is legitimate to affirm the child's right to have an entirely human origin through conception corresponding to the personal nature of the human being. Life is a gift to which both the subject who receives it and the subjects who pass it on must correspond in a dignified manner. This specification must also be kept in mind for what will be said about artificial human reproduction.

33 See John Paul II, Address to the participants of the 35th General Assembly of the World Medical Association, October 29, 1983: AAS 76 (1984) 391.

34 Cf. Pastoralkonst. Gaudium et Spes, 50. 

35 Cf. John Paul II, Apost. Write Familiaris consortio, 14: AAS 74 (1982) 96.

36 Cf. Pius XII., Address to the participants of the 4th International Congress of Catholic Doctors, September 29, 1949: AAS 41 (1949) 559. According to the Creator's plan, "the man leaves his father and mother and binds himself to his wife, and they become one flesh" (gene 2.2). The unity of marriage, which is tied to the order of creation, is a truth accessible to natural reason. The tradition and magisterium of the Church often refer to the Book of Genesis, both directly and through the New Testament passages that refer to it: Mt 19,4-6; Mk 10, 5-8; Eph 5.31. See Athenagoras, Legatio pro christianis33: PG 6,965-967; St. John Chrysostom, In Matthaeum homiliae, LXII, 19, l; PG 58,597; St. Leo d. Gr., Epistula ad Rusticum, 4: PL 54, 1204; Innocent III, epist. Gaudemus in dominoes: DS 778; Second Council of Lyons, IV sess .: DS 860; Council of Trent, XXIV sess .: DS 1798, 1802; Leo XIII., Encycl. Arcanum divinae sapientiae: ASS 12 (1879-80) 388-391; Pius XI., Encycl. Casti connubii: AAS 22 (1930) 546-547; Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Const. Gaudium et Spes.48; John Paul II, apost. Letter familiaris consortio19: AAS 74 (1982) 101-102; CIC, can. 1056.

37 Cf. Pius XII., Address to the participants of the 4th International Congress of Catholic DoctorsSeptember 29, 1949: AAS 41 (1949) 560; Address to the congress participants of the Italian Catholic Midwifery AssociationOctober 29, 1951: AAS 43 (1951) 850; CIC, can. 1134.

38 Paul VI, encycl. Humanae vitae, 12: AAS 60 (1968) 488-489.

39 Ibid, 489.

40 Pius XII., Address to the participants of the II World Congress in Naples on human fertility and sterilityMay 19, 1956: AAS 48 (1956) 470.

41 CIC, can. 1061. According to this canon, the conjugal act is that by which marriage is consummated when the spouses “have set it together in a human way”.

42 Cf. Pastoralkonst. Gaudium et Spes, 14. 

43 See John Paul II, General audience, January 16, 1980: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, III, 1 (1980) 148-152.

44 John Paul II, Address to the participants of the 35th General Assembly of the World Medical Association, October 29, 1983: AAS 76 (1984) 393.

45 Cf. Pastoralkonst. Gaudium et Spes, 51. 

46 Cf. Pastoralkonst. Gaudium et Spes, 50.

47 Cf. Pius XII., Address to the participants of the 4th International Congress of Catholic Doctors, September 29, 1949: AAS 41 (1949) 560: “It would be wrong to believe that the possibility of resorting to this means (artificial insemination) could validate marriages between persons who are unable to enter into it due to it des 'impedimentum impotentiae'. "

48 A similar question was asked by Paul VI. treated, encycl. Humanae vitae, 14: AAS 60 (1968) 490-491.

49 See above: I, 1 f.

50 John Paul II, apost. Write Familiaris consortio, 14: AAS 74 (1982) 96.

51 Cf. Answer of the Holy Office, March 17, 1897: DS 3323; Pius XII., Address to the participants of the 4th International Congress of Catholic Doctors, September 29, 1949; AAS 41 (1949) 560; Address to the congress participants of the Italian Catholic Midwifery AssociationOctober 29, 1951: AAS 43 (1951) 850; Address to the participants of the II World Congress in Naples on human fertility and sterilityMay 19, 1956: AAS 48 (1956) 471-473; Address to the participants of the VII International Congress of the International Society of Hematology, September 12, 1958: AAS 50 (1958) 733; John XXIII, encycl. Mater et Magistra, III: AAS 53 (1961) 447.

52 Pius XII., Address to the congress participants of the Italian Catholic Midwifery Association, October 29, 1951: AAS 43 (1951) 850.

53 Pius XII., Address to the participants of the 4th International Congress of Catholic Doctors, September 29, 1949: AAS 41 (1949) 560.

54 Holy Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Explanation on some questions of sexual ethics, 9: AAS 68 (1976) 86, which the Pastoralkonst. Gaudium et Spes, 51, cited. See Decree of the Holy Office, August 2, 1929: AAS 21 (1929) 490; Pius XII., Address to the participants of the XXVI. Congress of the Italian Society of Urology, October 8, 1953: AAS 45 (1953) 678.

55 John XXIII., Encycl. Mater et Magistra, III: AAS 53 (1961) 447.

56 Cf. Pius XII., Address to the participants of the 4th International Congress of Catholic Doctors, September 29, 1949: AAS 41 (1949) 560.

57 Cf. Pius XII., Address to the participants of the II World Congress in Naples on human fertility and sterilityMay 19, 1956: AAS 48 (1956) 471-473.

58 Pastoral Const. Gaudium et Spes, 50. 

59 John Paul II, apost. Write Familiaris consortio, 14: AAS 74 (1982) 97.

60 Declaration Dignitatis humanae, 7.