Biotechnology, Religion, Modern Science and Law: Shaping or Testing the New Modernity? The Curse of Itching Ears

22 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2008  

George P. Smith II

Catholic University of America (CUA) - Columbus School of Law

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

This paper assesses how the modern Church of Rome, while maintaining its anchor in faith, is taking a balanced and-indeed-enlightened approach in dealing with complex challenges presented by the "New Biology." This assessment is undertaken specifically within three contentious issues: evolution; condom use where one partner in a marriage is infected with AIDS; and the transplantation of animal organs into humans. These three issues bring into dramatic focus the question of change and immutability in Church doctrine. As well, these areas demonstrate-clearly-a refreshing openness and willingness of the Church to engage in honest dialogue with the laity. The contrasting attitudes of His Holiness Pope John Paul II and His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI regarding the outreach of science and of faith is analyzed and the conclusion reached that an ongoing ethical and compassionate discourse into the vexatious issues of modernity and post modernity is being undertaken within a framework of enlightened reason which underscores the dignity of personhood. And, interestingly, the framework for this discourse is to be found in the work of The Pontifical Academy of Sciences reconstituted by His Holiness Pope Pius XI in 1936.

Suggested Citation

Smith, George P., Biotechnology, Religion, Modern Science and Law: Shaping or Testing the New Modernity? The Curse of Itching Ears (2006). CUA Columbus School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2008-30. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1277344 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1277344

George P. Smith II (Contact Author)

Catholic University of America (CUA) - Columbus School of Law ( email )

3600 John McCormack Rd., NE
Washington, DC 20064
United States

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