Social Doctrine Facing “Unheard of” Attacks

Vatican Official Says an Adequate Response Is Needed

ROME, DEC. 7, 2010 ( Threats to life, especially abortion, euthanasia and the destruction of embryos, have “introduced unheard of challenges for Christian social doctrine and call for adequate answers,” says the president of the Vatican’s health care council.

Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski made this affirmation at an international meeting sponsored by Rome’s Catholic University of the Sacred Heart. L’Osservatore Romano reported today about his intervention at the conference, which was on the topic “Respect of Life and Development of Peoples.”

The archbishop proposed that the ethical emergency caused by these threats to life is slowly being transformed into a political emergency.
The lack of respect for human life has “dramatic implications, in certain aspects, because they directly affect the dignity of the life of individuals and peoples,” he said.
According to Archbishop Zimowski, the social doctrine of the Church must respond to the “social phenomena” generated in the wake of the legalization of abortion and some forms of euthanasia, and the common practice of artificial insemination and the freezing of human embryos.
The archbishop illustrated the breadth of the issue with a few key statistics: 46 million legal abortions are carried out every year in the world; 50,000 children are born every year in the United States through assisted fertilization techniques.
Cultural crisis
Archbishop Zimowski went on to single out three points for analysis. In the first place, he explained that public opinion is influenced by ideological campaigns that lead to perceiving attacks on life as “rights of individual liberty.”
The Vatican official further observed how medical practice socially legitimizes these evils. “The scientific context and the moral authority of the health organizations are largely sufficient, in the eyes of many, to make them acceptable,” he lamented.
And in the third place, the archbishop indicated that “the juridical norm of the state confers on these practices the accrediting of a law approved by the majority, which, hence, dispenses from subsequent scruples of conscience.”
In this context, Archbishop Zimowski affirmed that we are before a genuine cultural crisis, at whose root is the phenomenon of the tendency to disassociate private conscience and the socio-civil systems.

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