Says that science, like any activity, must respect certain limits
One of the “basic principles” of medical research is that “not everything technically possible or doable is thereby ethically acceptable,” Pope Francis told the 700 participants at the 4th International Vatican ConferenceUnite to Cure: A Global Health Care Initiative.
The pontiff received them in audience last week at the Vatican, in the presence of Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
As scientific research has enabled the discovery and dissemination of new treatments, noted the pope, there are significant advances in the “delicate problem of rare, autoimmune, or neurodegenerative diseases.”
Thus, knowledge progresses at the same pace as the means and technologies available to us, said the pope; these advances now permit us even to change our DNA. In this context, “we see the need for an increased awareness of our ethical responsibility towards humanity and the environment in which we live.”
“The Church applauds every effort in research and application directed to the care of our suffering brothers and sisters,” Francis said. However, he reminded his listeners that a basic principles is that “not everything technically possible or doable is thereby ethically acceptable.”
Science, like any activity, must respect certain limits for the good of humanity: the true measure of progress, declared Pope Francis, quoting Blessed Paul VI, is that it be “directed to the good of every man and the whole man.”
In this perspective, we need to think about human health within “a broader context, not only in relation to scientific research but also to our ability to preserve and protect the natural environment.” In this process, Peter’s Successor called for giving priority to the inclusion of those whose social and cultural difficulties make their health and their access to care precarious.
Organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture, the conference was held from April 26 to 28 at the Vatican, in collaboration with the Cura Foundation in particular. This foundation is actively involved in research in regenerative medicine.