Finding Bioethics in the Bible?

Pontifical Biblical Commission Considers Moral Questions

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 21, 2009 ( The members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission are considering the role of the Bible in giving orientation for moral dilemmas.

During their annual plenary assembly, which began Monday and runs through Friday, the group is dedicated to the consideration of “Inspiration and Truth in the Bible,” a theme that draws from the October synod of bishops on the Word of God.

The work of the commission, which is overseen by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is being directed by Jesuit Father Klemens Stock, secretary, and the prefect of the congregation, Cardinal William Levada.

Father Stock spoke with L’Osservatore Romano about the efforts of the plenary assembly. They are dedicated to publishing in various languages a document that was already released in Italian on the relationship between the Bible and moral acts.

According to Father Stock, the document, “The Bible and Morality: Biblical Roots of Christian Conduct,” aims to offer guidelines for the study of moral questions that the Bible does not explicitly address. He noted the importance of this goal as more and more moral questions arise that Biblical authors could not have imagined, such as in the realm of bioethics.

“Today many moral problems arise that were unknown to the authors of the Bible,” he said. “This [document] proposes the question of if the Bible has something to offer to resolve them, even though one cannot find in it ready-made answers.”

The Jesuit noted that the document “indicates some criteria that can give guidance in the search for just norms for current problems.” It does this, he said, based on the basic criteria of the Bible: “conformity with the biblical vision of the human being and conformity with the example of Jesus.”

“The biblical vision highlights the dignity of the human person and his call to intimate communion with God,” Father Stock said. “For another thing, Jesus is the example of perfect conduct. His behavior and his teachings are the reference point for Christian behavior.”

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