Friday, March 10, 2006

Donum Vitae. One of our readers, who commented on our post on Pregnancy and Moral Labor and whose nom de net is "Daughter of St. John", has pointed me to this publication of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith. The following is from the introduction to that document, which is entitled "Donum Vitae" and well worth reading:

The exposition [of Donum Vitae]is arranged as follows: an introduction will recall the fundamental principles, of an anthropological and moral character, which are necessary for a proper evaluation of the problems [to which artificial procreation and related matters give rise] and for working out replies to those questions; the first part will have as its subject respect for the human being from the first moment of his or her existence; the second part will deal with the moral questions raised by technical interventions on human procreation; the third part will offer some orientations on the relationships between moral law and civil law in terms of the respect due to human embryos and fetuses and as regards the legitimacy of techniques of artificial procreation.

But what is the "Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith"? I emailed my friend and former law partner, John Immer, who is heavy, heavy, into Catholic matters and my local authority on the Catholic Church, "John, is this the Magisterium?" His reply:

"You betcha! Actually, it interprets the tenets of the Catholic
Faith, i.e. the Magisterium. Incidentially, the head of the Congregation
is an American Archbishop from San Francisco who was just made a
cardinal (Leveda). Theoretically, he is second in command to the Pope."

Now it would certainly be nice to have a "Congregation" of well educated, experienced Christians, carefully chosen and full of wisdom, thinking, studying, and praying these questions through and, finally, making a decision. (Provided, of course, that they agreed with you.) Among the things that was so attractive about Jesus was that he "spoke with authority". E.g. Matthew 7:29.

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