Caritas in veritate: bioethics, a crucial challenge of the integral human development


The encyclical Caritas in veritate, in the tradition of the Social Doctrine of the Church, invites us straightaway to gain height by proposing “love in truth” as a key for the integral human development. If this document is in line with the doctrine constituted since Rerum novarum of Leo XIII (1891) with Populorum progressio of Paul VI (1967), the constitution Gaudium and spes (1965) and Centesimus annus of John-Paul II (1991), and marks a particular insistence on the supply of Popularum progressio, Benedict XVI, taking note of the transformations of the world for several decades, wishes that the development is apprehended today in a multipolar way. The true and integral development, founded on the man in his integrity is necessary, and realities as varied as social protection, worker protection, culture, fight against starvation, respect of life, religious freedom, are narrowly related.

 

From knowledge to wisdom
 
The causes of the underdevelopment being multiple, it invites to release from the ideologies to examine with objectivity the human dimension of the problems. All disciplines have to collaborate and in order knowledge becomes wisdom, it has to be guided by the intelligence of love, because the love requirements do not contradict the ones of the reason, but are in line with them. The moral assessments and in particular the scientific research must grow together. The Pope reminds that "the widening of our conception and our use of the reason is indispensable" to lead a new and deep thought and reach a deep and clear-sighted revision of the development model. It has to be noted the insistence with which along the chapters he calls men of good will to consider that economic and technological advances are not sufficient to the promotion of the man and that "to properly work the economy needs ethics (…) a friendly ethic of the person" (No. 45) which would not miss the moral and spiritual force of the man.

 

A crucial challenge
 
On several occasions and in terms that betray a real worry, Benedict XVI mentions the respect of life "which in any case can be separated from questions related to the development of peoples" (No. 28). The policies of demographic control "by the governmental authorities which often spread the contraception and even impose abortion" in poor countries, and the legislations contrary to life, deprive the societies from motivations and energies necessary to work at the service of the real good of the man. "The welcome of life harden the moral energies and enable us to help mutually". "Considering the increase of the population as the main cause of the underdevelopment is incorrect, even from an economic point of view" (No. 44). The respect of rights and duties concerning demography is primordial to allow the real development of peoples and this is in danger when the human rights are debated before a citizen assembly (No. 43). Finally at the end of the encyclical, the Pope reminds that bioethics is "a primordial and crucial field" of the struggle between the technique and the moral responsibility of the man (No. 74). "This is the place where raises with a dramatic force the fundamental question to know if the man produced himself or if he depends of God". Faced with the promotion of manipulations of the living" we cannot minimise the worrying scenarios for the future of the man." "To the tragic and deep wound of abortion, it could be added in the future, and it is already surreptitiously in nuce (in germ), a systematic eugenic planning of births". However "quick with scandal for marginal questions, a lot of people seem tolerate incredible injustices". "While poor people of the world knock on the doors of opulence, there is chance that the rich world may not hear it, its consciousness being from now incapable to recognise the human nature". "Faced with these dramatic problems, the reason and the faith help reciprocally. It is only together that they will save the man”.