Without Respect for Life, Science Will Spawn Monsters, Says Vatican Aide

Academy for Life Proposes New Dialogue Between Faith and Science

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ROME, FEB. 26, 2002 (Zenit.org).- If scientific research is not open to life, a gift of God, “it will increasingly generate great monsters until there is total destruction,” warns a Vatican official.

Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, made that assessment of the ethical challenge of medical science, when he addressed the general assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The assembly, which has gathered doctors, scientists, lawyers, philosophers, bioethicists and theologians, opened Monday. The theme of the meeting is “Nature and Dignity of the Human Person and Foundation of the Right to Life: The Challenge in the Contemporary Cultural Context.”

In his address Archbishop Lozano Barragán told the 200 academics that “science and the most advanced technology, even when following their own laws, cannot claim an autonomy that excludes the Creator.”

The assembly began its working sessions from this vantage point, addressing questions such as “The Dignity of the Human Person and Law,” “The Anthropological Question: Is There An Unconditional Truth About Man?” and “Ability of the Human Mind to Know the Natural Law.”

Following the welcome speeches from the academy´s president and vice president, Juan de Dios Vial Correa and Bishop Elio Sgreccia, respectively, the sessions began with the address of Archbishop Julian Herranz, president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts.

The right to life, Archbishop Herranz said, is “a primary right” that cannot be understood as a concession on the part of any authority, nor derogated by it. Its foundation lies in the very nature and dignity of the human person.

He suggested the need for the renewal of dialogue between faith and reason, philosophy and revelation, “capable of recovering the primacy of the person.”

“This dialogue perhaps might appear more difficult today than in the past,” because of the modern tendency “to reject metaphysics, … to marginalize being,” with all the consequences that this entails, he said. However, it is “an intellectual narrow-mindedness that neither faith nor science can accept,” Archbishop Herranz concluded.

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