Genome Known, but Meaning of Life Lost?

Cardinal Ruini Addresses Families

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ROME, NOV. 28, 2005 ( The Pope’s vicar for Rome has drawn attention to what he sees as a striking paradox of modernity.

The paradox is that technical advances have made it possible to draw the map of the human genome, precisely at the same time when the meaning of life is being lost.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini made that assessment Saturday in an address to the families of Rome and the surrounding areas.

«Beyond that, and before all possible economic, cultural, scientific and technological development,» the cardinal said, «the future of man is linked to his capacity to rediscover, protect and enhance the primary and irreplaceable good of human love.»

In his address, delivered at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, the cardinal mentioned the 10 years since the publication of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical «Evangelium Vitae» and the centenary of the wedding anniversary of Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchis, spouses who were beatified in 2001.

«It is paradoxical, and at the same time very significant, that exactly when the technical-scientific capacity has been made stronger to intervene in the human being, man runs the risk of losing sight of the meaning and value of life itself,» Cardinal Ruini, 74, lamented.

He gave a present-day example of the human genome, the total genetic information present in man.

The most essential

«The map of the human genome is being drawn, which certainly represents a great acquisition, with consequences of great interest for man’s future,» the cardinal said. «But precisely now it seems that the map of human existence is being lost, that the coordinates of dignity and the end of human life are being lost.

«To know man better from the scientific point of view is not automatically the same as knowing more about the value and meaning of his existence; rather, the multiplicity of focuses, with the tendency to absolutize the point of view of each of them, might make one lose sight of the most essential.»

As an aid to surmount these contradictions, Cardinal Ruini pointed to John Paul II’s teaching on the family, as expressed, in particular, in his documents «Redemptor Hominis,» «Familiaris Consortio,» «Mulieris Dignitatem,» «Letter to Families» and «Letter to Women.»

The cardinal said John Paul II should be thanked for having developed the «appropriate anthropology … that allows us today to understand better, in its different hues, the meaning of complementarity and reciprocity which describe the relationship of love between man and woman.»

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