ZENIT reports that Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, has warned that everything technologically possible need not be ethically permissible, and that for this we need a bioethics that is open to the transcendent..
In a lecture titled “The Future for Health Care: Putting Technology at the Service of Man,” the 74-year-old cardinal said: “We know that biomedical technology holds a great deal of promise in the areas of diagnosis and treatment of diseases. But we must also be aware of the fact that technology and medicine are only a part of the health care system and undue insistence on their capabilities may give more emphasis in meeting the demands of the providers than that of the human persons.”
Cardinal Lozano Barragán continued: “The ultimate criterion in the use of all technologies must be the good of man. In discussing the sciences of life and reflecting on the experimental sciences that manipulate life, one wonders about correct human behavior in relation to human life, deficiency in human life, increase in human life, improvement in human life, procedures to be followed to obtain this improvement and deviations to be avoided.
“Thus, technology left to itself can build or destroy man, technology in itself is blind, even if it appears to be the most advanced and the most marvelous. In itself, biotechnology is blind and ambivalent.”
“Therefore,” Cardinal Lozano Barragán highlighted, “in order to have a true code of bioethics, which provides us with rules of behavior in the area of health and life, the first question we must ask ourselves concerns the project for man, which involves the manipulation of life and health.”
“Authentic bioethics must appear as the project to improve human life and includes all the life and health sciences as its base,” said the Mexican cardinal.
“In Catholic thought,” he continued, “this ethics that is open, ‘objective,’ real, and with no constrictions, opens up to full communication with God the Almighty Father. The basis for a true universal objective ethics, a true global ethics should be founded on human nature taken in the entirety of its complexity and therefore on natural law.”
2 October 2007