Pope Reminds Science About Imperative to Respect Human Life

Addresses Participants of General Assembly of Pontifical Academy

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II emphasized that scientific and biomedical research must avoid all temptations to manipulate human beings.

The Pope stressed this imperative today when he received the participants of the 9th General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, meeting in Rome until Wednesday to discuss ethics in biomedical research.

During his address, the Pope expressed his gratitude to all those scientists dedicated to biomedical research for their many contributions to humanity, such as the defeat of lethal epidemics and many other serious illnesses.

Scientific research enjoys the support and respect of the Church when it has a genuinely humanistic orientation, «avoiding every form of instrumentalization or destruction of the human being, and keeping itself free of the slavery of political and economic interests,» the Holy Father said.

In this context, John Paul II underlined not only the objectives but also the methods and means of scientific research, which must respect the insuperable limits of the protection of life, the integrity and dignity of every human being «at any stage of his development and at every phase of experimentation.»

«I am convinced that it is not permitted to anyone, much less so the Church, to be silent in face of certain achievements or pretensions of experimentation with man,» the Pope said.

John Paul II stressed the continued importance of Paul VI’s encyclical «Humanae Vitae,» and the growing urgent need to find «natural» solutions to the problems of conjugal infertility.

The Pope mentioned Catholic institutions and universities especially in his address, calling them to maintain the values they had at their origin.

Lastly, the Holy Father voiced his concern over the «very grave and unacceptable» gap that separates the developing world from the developed in the area of biomedical research and health care.

Referring in particular to AIDS, which is serious in many African countries, John Paul II warned that «to leave these populations without the resources of science and culture means to condemn them to poverty, economic exploitation, and the lack of health organizations.»

Moreover, this attitude would represent «an injustice and would fuel a long-term threat to the globalized world,» he asserted.

«To value endogenous human resources means to guarantee sanitary balance and, in short, to contribute to the peace of the whole world,» the Holy Father explained.

The Pope established the Pontifical Academy for Life in 1994 to study and shed light on the principal problems of biomedicine and law relating to the promotion and defense of life, especially in the relation these have with Christian morality and the magisterium of the Church.

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