“The Dignity of the Person”

Dignitas Personae, a new document on bioethics was released yesterday from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  (Its title, which comes from the document’s opening phase, “the dignity of the person,” is not to be confused with Dignitatis Humanae, the Second Vatican Council’s landmark 1965 Declaration on Religious Freedom — the opening phrase of which is “the dignity of the human person.”)

The full text is here (in .pdf form), and a helpful Q & A (also in .pdf form) released with it is here.  Beyond that, I’d refer you to Thomas Peters at American Papist for some interesting links on the document and the initial coverage it has received in the press.

It is a highly technical document that touches on topics that include cloning, embryo adoption, and “Altered Nuclear Transfer.”  Yikes.  Certainly much of it is directed to specialists in moral theology and Catholics (as well as, as the document puts it, “all who seek the truth”) who become interested in such questions because of specific circumstances of their own lives.

But I think the conclusion is especially well-written and worth some reflection by just about anyone.  That’s the section I’ll take a look at with my own eleventh grade Religion students (the topic of the year is, after all, morality) this coming week.


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