Dignitas Personae

The Vatican has released a new “instruction” document. The English translation of the title is “The Dignity of a Person” and the subject is bioethics.

Here is one of several places where you may read it, as well as explanatory material about it.

http://www.usccb.org/comm/Dignitaspersonae/ 
(includes a link to a Spanish translation)

An Instruction from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) on ethical issues arising from biomedical research, provides guidance on how to respect human life and human procreation in our heavily scientific age.

That site also provides a Q & A file. Here is the first question-and-answer to help you understand the type of document:

1. What kind of document is this?

It is an “instruction” from the Catholic Church’s highest doctrinal agency, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), applying timeless moral principles to some new issues and situations arising from biotechnology. It does not declare a new infallibly defined dogma, but is approved by Pope Benedict XVI and has his authority. Like most Church teachings, its moral judgments are part of the “universal ordinary magisterium.” Catholics are called to inform their consciences with such teaching, adhering to it with “religious assent” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 892).

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