John Paul II Warns of Misuse of Biomedical Sciences

Says Technology Can Offend Human Dignity If Not Checked

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 20, 2004 ( While applauding the progress made in biomedical sciences, John Paul II warned against the negative consequences that their inappropriate use can have for human life.

The Pope expressed this in a message to the members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, celebrated Thursday. The Vatican press office papal published the message today.

Progress in the biomedical sciences enable one to perceive «promising prospects for the good of humanity and the treatment of serious and distressing illnesses,» the papal message states.

However, this progress not infrequently «presents serious problems in relation to respect of human life and the dignity of the person,» the Holy Father notes.

One witnesses «the growing power of medical technology on processes of human procreation, the discoveries in the field of genetics, and molecular biology, the changes in the therapeutic care of seriously ill patients, together with the spread of currents of thought of utilitarian and hedonist inspiration,» the Pope adds.

These «are factors that can lead to aberrant behavior as well as to the redaction of unjust laws in relation to the dignity of the person and the respect called for, given the inviolability of innocent life,» he warns.

It is a context, the Holy Father writes, in which it «is necessary to increasingly sensitize researchers, especially those in the biomedical realm, on the beneficial enrichment that can arise from combining scientific rigor with the demands of anthropology and Christian ethics.»

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