POPE BENEDICT XVI’S ENCYCLICAL CARITAS IN VERITATE ON LIFE ISSUES

william_e_may.jpgFirst, I will present Pope Benedict’s teaching on life issues in the encyclical and then offer comments thereon.

The Pope’s Teaching
Pope Benedict XVI addresses issues related to the sanctity of human life and human sexuality in depth in three different areas of his new social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth).
In Chapter 2, titled “Human Development in Our Time,” the Pope begins by saying: “One of the most striking aspects of development in the present day is the important question of respect for life (emphasis in original), which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples. It is an aspect which has acquired increasing prominence in recent times, obliging us to broaden our concept of poverty and underdevelopment to include questions connected with the acceptance of life, especially in cases where it is impeded in a variety of ways (emphasis added) (no. 28, 1). He then goes on to declare:

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PRIMER ON BIOETHICS: Part I of II

130907_master_bioetica_0708_-_th.jpgThe term “bioethics” is of recent coinage. The first to use it was Van Rensselaer of the University of Wisconsin in the late 1960’s, an oncologist who used it in an evolutionary sense somewhat distant from the sense it has acquired. Warren T. Reich, one of the original professors at what was then called the “The Joseph and Rose Kennedy Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and Bioethics” at Georgetown University and editor of the first edition of the 4 volume Encyclopedia of Bioethics, credits André Hellegers, the Dutch obstetrician/fetal physiologist/demographer who founded the Kennedy Institute at Georgetown University as the one “who used the term to apply to the ethics of medicine and the biological sciences in such a way that the name caught on in academic circles and in the mind of the public. He did this initially by seeing to it that the word bioethics appeared in the original name of the Kennedy Institute at its founding in 1971: The Joseph and Rose Kennedy Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and Bioethics” (see Reich’s essay, “How Bioethics Got Its Name” in The Hastings Center Report, Vol. 23, 1993). Read

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The 40th Anniversary of NARAL: Is Life in America Better Today Because of Reproductive “Choice”?

sage.jpgThis year marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the National Abortion Rights and Reproductive Rights Action League (“NARAL”) and its headlining of a reproductive “right” to “choice.”  Since its inception, the efforts of recently-recast NARAL Pro-Choice America have resulted in more than 46 million legal abortions in the United States—a number that should shock the public, but is all too often drowned out by NARAL’s noisy rhetoric of reproductive “choice.”  For Americans that value and seek to protect human life, the question is:  Is life in America better today as a result of NARAL? Read

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“What God Has Joined, Let Not Man Put Asunder”…..Unless ….

nuptials.jpgOne of the most respected American sociologists, Andrew Cherlin, has recently published The Marriage-Go-Round: the State of Marriage and the Family in America. True to his role at Johns Hopkins University, he proposes in his new work, not only a sociologically based characterization of the American family, but also a public policy response. The book is as important and revealing as it is overwhelming and discouraging to supporters of children’s welfare and the overall strength of marriage and families. 
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Summary and Reflections on DIGNITAS PERSONAE

william_e_may.jpgSeptember 8, 2008 is the official date of a new doctrinal document prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and approved by Pope Benedict XVI on bioethical issues.  It is a sequel to the CDF’s February 1987 doctrinal Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origins and on the Dignity of Procreation (Latin title Donum vitae). Dignitas Personae (henceforth DP), formally released for publication on December 12, 2008, is of a doctrinal nature and falls within the category of documents that "participate in the ordinary Magisterium of the successor of Peter" (see Instruction Donum veritatis, no.18), and is to be received by Catholics "with the religious assent of their spirit" (DP, no. 37).

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