Pope says humans amount to more than their DNA
Benedict XVI has said that the dignity of a human being is not identified with his or her DNA genes, and therefore it does not diminish when genetic defects exist.
Zenit reports that the Holy Father's explanation was heard on Saturday by 700 doctors, scientists, philosophers and theologians, who gathered in the Vatican to take part in a three-day conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers on "The Human Genome."
"The people of our time," he said, "sensitised by the terrible vicissitudes that have covered the 20th century and the very beginning of this one in mourning, are able to understand that man's dignity is not identified with his DNA genes and that it does not diminish with the eventual presence of physical differences or genetic defects."
In his Italian-language address, Benedict XVI said: "The principle of 'non-discrimination' in virtue of physical or genetic factors has entered profoundly in consciences and is enunciated formally in the charters on the rights of man."
Quoting the first chapter of Genesis, he affirmed: "This principle has its most authentic foundation in the very dignity of every human being by the fact of having been created in the image and likeness of God."
Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan represented Australian Catholic health care institutions at the conference.
Man Is More Than His DNA, Insists Benedict XVI (Zenit 21/11/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care
Pope to meet with Nobel Peace laureates (Catholic World News 22/11/05)
Catholics must help others see dignity in all human life, pope says (Catholic News Service 21/11/05)
Pope says 'Gaudium et Spes' gave emphasis to church's mission (Catholic News Service 21/11/05)
Pope: 'human dignity is not diminished by genetic defects' (Independent Catholic News 22/11/05)
Man is more than his DNA, insists Benedict XVI (The Universe 22/11/05)
The Pope And The Person (Vatican Radio English Features 22/11/05, audio - requires Real Player)
Pope Benedict XVI: In Harmony (Vatican Radio English Features 22/11/05, audio - requires Real Player)
Benedict XVI Stresses Importance of Human Person in Society (Zenit 21/11/05)
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Secularism Doesn't Have All the Answers, Says Pope (Zenit 21/11/05)
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Papal Address to Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences (Zenit 21/11/05)
23 Nov 2005