Select Page

POPE PIUS XII – 1952 / The Moral Limits Of Medical Research And Treatment

POPE PIUS XII – 1952 / The Moral Limits Of Medical Research And Treatment
Advertisement

http://www.papalencyclicals.net/pius12/p12psych.htm

 

The Moral Limits Of Medical Research And Treatment

 

An address giv­en Sep­tem­ber 14, 1952 by His Holi­ness Pope Pius XII to the First Inter­na­tion­al Con­gress on the Histopathol­o­gy of the Ner­vous System.

 

1. The “First Inter­na­tion­al Con­gress on the Histopathol­o­gy of the Ner­vous Sys­tem” has suc­ceed­ed in cov­er­ing a tru­ly vast amount of mate­r­i­al. Through detailed expla­na­tion and demon­stra­tion it had to put into exact per­spec­tive the caus­es and first begin­nings of the dis­eases of the ner­vous sys­tem prop­er­ly so called and of the dis­eases we call psy­chic. A report was read and an exchange of views held on recent ideas and dis­cov­er­ies con­cern­ing lesions of the brain and oth­er organs, which are the ori­gin and cause of ner­vous dis­eases as well as of psy­cho­path­ic ill­ness. These dis­cov­er­ies have been made, part­ly, through entire­ly new means and meth­ods. The num­ber and nation­al­i­ty of the par­tic­i­pants in the Con­gress, and espe­cial­ly of the speak­ers, show that spe­cial­ists of the most diverse coun­tries and nation­al­i­ties have exchanged expe­ri­ences for their own mutu­al ben­e­fit and to pro­mote the inter­ests of sci­ence, the inter­ests of the indi­vid­ual patient and the inter­ests of the community.

2. You do not expect Us to dis­cuss the med­ical ques­tions which con­cern you. Those are your domain. Dur­ing the past few days you have tak­en a gen­er­al view of the vast field of research and work which is yours. Now, in answer to the wish you your­selves have expressed, We want to draw your atten­tion to the lim­its of this field-not the lim­its of med­ical pos­si­bil­i­ties, of the­o­ret­i­cal and prac­ti­cal med­ical knowl­edge, but the lim­its of moral rights and duties. We wish to make Our­self the inter­preter of the moral con­science of the research work­er, the spe­cial­ist and the prac­tion­er and of the man and Chris­t­ian who fol­lows the same path.

3. In your reports and dis­cus­sions you have caught sight of many new roads, but there remain a num­ber of ques­tions still unsolved. The bold spir­it of research incites one to fol­low new­ly dis­cov­ered roads, to extend them, to cre­ate new ones and to renew meth­ods. A seri­ous, com­pe­tent doc­tor will often see with a sort of spon­ta­neous intu­ition the moral legal­i­ty of what he pro­pos­es to do and will act accord­ing to his con­science. But there are oth­er instances where he does not have this secu­ri­ty, where he may see or think he sees the con­trary with cer­tain­ty or where he doubts and wavers between Yes and No. In the most seri­ous and pro­found mat­ters, the man in the physi­cian is not con­tent with exam­in­ing from a med­ical point of view what he can attempt and suc­ceed in. He also wants to see his way clear­ly in regard to moral pos­si­bil­i­ties and obligations.

4. We would like to set forth briefly the essen­tial prin­ci­ples which per­mit an answer to be giv­en to this ques­tion. The appli­ca­tion to spe­cif­ic cas­es you will make your­selves in your role of doc­tor, because only the doc­tor under­stands the med­ical evi­dence thor­ough­ly both in itself and in its effects and because with­out exact knowl­edge of the med­ical facts it is impos­si­ble to deter­mine what moral prin­ci­ple applies to the treat­ment under dis­cus­sion. The doc­tor, there­fore, looks at the med­ical aspect of the case, the moral­ist, the laws of moral­i­ty. Ordi­nar­i­ly, when explained and com­plet­ed mutu­al­ly, the med­ical and moral evi­dence will make pos­si­ble a reli­able deci­sion as to the moral legal­i­ty of the case in all its con­crete aspects.

5. In order to jus­ti­fy the moral­i­ty of new pro­ce­dures, new attempts and meth­ods of research and med­ical treat­ment, three main prin­ci­ples must be kept in mind:

1) The inter­ests of med­ical science.

2) The inter­ests of the indi­vid­ual patient to be treated.

3) The inter­ests of the com­mu­ni­ty, the “bon­um commune.”

6. We ask whether these three inter­ests, tak­en singly or even togeth­er, have absolute val­ue in moti­vat­ing and jus­ti­fy­ing med­ical treat­ment or whether they are valid mere­ly with­in cer­tain deter­mined lim­its? In the lat­ter case, what are these lim­its? To this We shall try to give a brief answer.

I. The Inter­ests of Sci­ence as Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for Research and the Use of New Methods.

7. Sci­en­tif­ic knowl­edge has its own val­ue in the domain of med­ical sci­ence no less than in oth­er sci­en­tif­ic domains, such as, for exam­ple, physics, chem­istry, cos­mol­o­gy and psy­chol­o­gy. It is a val­ue which must cer­tain­ly not be min­i­mized, a val­ue exist­ing quite inde­pen­dent­ly of the use­ful­ness or use of the acquired knowl­edge. More­over, knowl­edge as such and the full under­stand­ing of any truth raise no moral objec­tion. By virtue of this prin­ci­ple, research and the acqui­si­tion of truth for arriv­ing at new, wider and deep­er knowl­edge and under­stand­ing of the same truth are in them­selves in accor­dance with the moral order.

8. But this does not mean that all meth­ods, or any sin­gle method, arrived at by sci­en­tif­ic and tech­ni­cal research offers every moral guar­an­tee. Nor, more­over, does it mean that every method becomes lic­it because it increas­es and deep­ens our knowl­edge. Some­times it hap­pens that a method can­not be used with­out injur­ing the rights of oth­ers or with­out vio­lat­ing some moral rule of absolute val­ue. In such a case, although one right­ly envis­ages and pur­sues the increase of knowl­edge, moral­ly the method is not admis­si­ble. Why not? Because sci­ence is not the high­est val­ue, that to which all oth­er orders of val­ues-or in the same order of val­ue, all par­tic­u­lar val­ues-should be sub­or­di­nat­ed. Sci­ence itself, there­fore, as well as its research and acqui­si­tions, must be insert­ed in the order of val­ues. Here there are well defined lim­its which even med­ical sci­ence can­not trans­gress with­out vio­lat­ing high­er moral rules. The con­fi­den­tial rela­tions between doc­tor and patient, the per­son­al right of the patient to the life of his body and soul in its psy­chic and moral integri­ty are just some of the many val­ues supe­ri­or to sci­en­tif­ic inter­est. This point will become more obvi­ous as We proceed.

9. Although one must rec­og­nize in the “inter­ests of sci­ence” a true val­ue that the moral law allows man to pre­serve, increase and widen, one can­not con­cede the fol­low­ing state­ment: “Grant­ed, obvi­ous­ly, that the doctor’s inter­ven­tion is deter­mined by sci­en­tif­ic inter­est and that he observes the rules of his pro­fes­sion, there are no lim­its to the meth­ods for increas­ing and deep­en­ing med­ical sci­ence.” Even on this con­di­tion, one can­not just con­cede this principle.

II. The Inter­ests of the Patient as Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of New Med­ical Meth­ods of Research and Treatment.

10. In this con­nec­tion, the basic con­sid­er­a­tions may be set out in the fol­low­ing form: “The med­ical treat­ment of the patient demands tak­ing a cer­tain step. This in itself proves its moral legal­i­ty.” Or else: “A cer­tain new method hith­er­to neglect­ed or lit­tle used will give pos­si­ble, prob­a­ble or sure results. All eth­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions as to the lic­it­ness of this method are obso­lete and should be treat­ed as pointless.”

11. How can any­one fail to see that in these state­ments truth and false­hood are inter­min­gled? In a very large num­ber of cas­es the “inter­ests of the patient” do pro­vide the moral jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of the doctor’s con­duct. Here again, the ques­tion con­cerns the absolute val­ue of this prin­ci­ple. Does it prove by itself, does it make it evi­dent that what the doc­tor wants to do con­forms to the moral law?

12. In the first place it must be assumed that, as a pri­vate per­son, the doc­tor can take no mea­sure or try no course of action with­out the con­sent of the patient. The doc­tor has no oth­er rights or pow­er over the patient than those which the lat­ter gives him, explic­it­ly or implic­it­ly and tac­it­ly. On his side, the patient can­not con­fer rights he does not pos­sess. In this dis­cus­sion the deci­sive point is the moral lic­it­ness of the right a patient has to dis­pose of him­self. Here is the moral lim­it to the doctor’s action tak­en with the con­sent of the patient.

13. As for the patient, he is not absolute mas­ter of him­self, of his body or of his soul. He can­not, there­fore, freely dis­pose of him­self as he pleas­es. Even the rea­son for which he acts is of itself nei­ther suf­fi­cient nor deter­min­ing. The patient is bound to the imma­nent tele­ol­o­gy laid down by nature. He has the right of use, lim­it­ed by nat­ur­al final­i­ty, of the fac­ul­ties and pow­ers of his human nature. Because he is a user and not a pro­pri­etor, he does not have unlim­it­ed pow­er to destroy or muti­late his body and its func­tions. Nev­er­the­less, by virtue of the prin­ci­ple of total­i­ty, by virtue of his right to use the ser­vices of his organ­ism as a whole, the patient can allow indi­vid­ual parts to be destroyed or muti­lat­ed when and to the extent nec­es­sary for the good of his being as a whole. He may do so to ensure his being’s exis­tence and to avoid or, nat­u­ral­ly, to repair seri­ous and last­ing dam­age which can­not oth­er­wise be avoid­ed or repaired.

14. The patient, then, has no right to involve his phys­i­cal or psy­chic integri­ty in med­ical exper­i­ments or research when they entail seri­ous destruc­tion, muti­la­tion, wounds or per­ils. 15. More­over, in exer­cis­ing his right to dis­pose of him­self, his fac­ul­ties and his organs, the indi­vid­ual must observe the hier­ar­chy of the orders of val­ues-or with­in a sin­gle order of val­ues, the hier­ar­chy of par­tic­u­lar rights ‑inso­far as the rules of moral­i­ty demand. Thus, for exam­ple, a man can­not per­form on him­self or allow doc­tors to per­form acts of a phys­i­cal or somat­ic nature which doubt­less relieve heavy phys­i­cal or psy­chic bur­dens or infir­mi­ties, but which bring about at the same time per­ma­nent abo­li­tion or con­sid­er­able and durable diminu­tion of his free­dom, that is, of his human per­son­al­i­ty in its typ­i­cal and char­ac­ter­is­tic func­tion. Such an act degrades a man to the lev­el of a being react­ing only to acquired reflex­es or to a liv­ing automa­tion. The moral law does not allow such a rever­sal of val­ues. Here it sets up its lim­its to the “med­ical inter­ests of the patient.”

16. Here is anoth­er exam­ple. In order to rid him­self of repres­sions, inhi­bi­tions or psy­chic com­plex­es man is not free to arouse in him­self for ther­a­peu­tic pur­pos­es each and every appetite of a sex­u­al order which is being excit­ed or has been excit­ed in his being, appetites whose impure waves flood his uncon­scious or sub­con­scious mind. He can­not make them the object of his thoughts and ful­ly con­scious desires with all the shocks and reper­cus­sions such a process entails. For a man and a Chris­t­ian there is a law of integri­ty and per­son­al puri­ty, of self-respect, for­bid­ding him to plunge so deeply into the world of sex­u­al sug­ges­tions and ten­den­cies. Here the “med­ical and psy­chother­a­peu­tic inter­ests of the patient” find a moral lim­it. It is not proved-it is, in fact, incor­rect-that the pan­sex­u­al method of a cer­tain school of psy­cho­analy­sis is an indis­pens­able inte­grat­ing part of all psy­chother­a­py which is seri­ous and wor­thy of the name. It is not proved that past neglect of this method has caused grave psy­chic dam­age, errors in doc­trine and appli­ca­tion in edu­ca­tion, in psy­chother­a­py and still less in pas­toral prac­tice. It is not proved that it is urgent to fill this gap and to ini­ti­ate all those inter­est­ed in psy­chic ques­tions in its key ideas and even, if nec­es­sary, in the prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tion of this tech­nique of sexuality.

17. We speak this way because today these asser­tions are too often made with apo­d­ic­tic assur­ance. Where instincts are con­cerned it would be bet­ter to pay more atten­tion to indi­rect treat­ment and to the action of the con­scious psy­che on the whole of imag­i­na­tive and affec­tive activ­i­ty. This tech­nique avoids the devi­a­tions We have men­tioned. It tends to enlight­en, cure and guide; it also influ­ences the dynam­ic of sex­u­al­i­ty, on which peo­ple insist so much and which they say is to be found, or real­ly exists, in the uncon­scious or subconscious.

18. Up to now We have spo­ken direct­ly of the patient, not of the doc­tor. We have explained at what point the per­son­al right of the patient to dis­pose of him­self, his mind, his body, his fac­ul­ties, organs and func­tions, meets a moral lim­it. But at the same time We have answered the ques­tion: Where does the doc­tor find a moral lim­it in research into and use of new meth­ods and pro­ce­dures in the “inter­ests of the patient?” The lim­it is the same as that for the patient. It is that which is fixed by the judg­ment of sound rea­son, which is set by the demands of the nat­ur­al moral law, which is deduced from the nat­ur­al tele­ol­o­gy inscribed in beings and from the scale of val­ues expressed by the nature of things. The lim­it is the same for the doc­tor as for the patient because, as We have already said, the doc­tor as a pri­vate indi­vid­ual dis­pos­es only of the rights giv­en him by the patient and because the patient can give only what he him­self possesses.

19. What We say here must be extend­ed to the legal rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the per­son inca­pable of car­ing for him­self and his affairs: chil­dren below the age of rea­son, the fee­ble­mind­ed and the insane. These legal rep­re­sen­ta­tives, autho­rized by pri­vate deci­sion or by pub­lic author­i­ty have no oth­er rights over the body and life of those they rep­re­sent than those peo­ple would have them­selves if they were capa­ble. And they have those rights to the same extent. They can­not, there­fore, give the doc­tor per­mis­sion to dis­pose of them out­side those limits.

III. The Inter­ests of the Com­mu­ni­ty as Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of New Med­ical Meth­ods of Research and Treatment.

20. For the moral jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of the doctor’s right to try new approach­es, new meth­ods and pro­ce­dures We invoke a third inter­est, the inter­est of the com­mu­ni­ty, of human soci­ety, the com­mon good or “bon­um com­mune,” as the philoso­pher and social stu­dent would say.

21. There is no doubt­ing the exis­tence of such a com­mon good. Nor can we ques­tion the fact that it calls for and jus­ti­fies fur­ther research. The two inter­ests of which We have already spo­ken, that of sci­ence and that of the patient, are close­ly allied to the gen­er­al interest.

22. Nev­er­the­less, for the third time we come back to the ques­tion: Is there any moral lim­it to the “med­ical inter­ests of the com­mu­ni­ty” in con­tent or exten­sion? Are there “full pow­ers” over the liv­ing man in every seri­ous med­ical case? Does it raise bar­ri­ers that are still valid in the inter­ests of sci­ence or the indi­vid­ual? Or, stat­ed dif­fer­ent­ly: Can pub­lic author­i­ty, on which rests respon­si­bil­i­ty for the com­mon good, give the doc­tor the pow­er to exper­i­ment on the indi­vid­ual in the inter­ests of sci­ence and the com­mu­ni­ty in order to dis­cov­er and try out new meth­ods and pro­ce­dures when these exper­i­ments trans­gress the right of the indi­vid­ual to dis­pose of him­self? In the inter­ests of the com­mu­ni­ty, can pub­lic author­i­ty real­ly lim­it or even sup­press the right of the indi­vid­ual over his body and life, his bod­i­ly and psy­chic integrity?

23. To fore­stall an objec­tion, We assume that it is a ques­tion of seri­ous research, of hon­est efforts to pro­mote the the­o­ry and prac­tice of med­i­cine, not of a maneu­ver serv­ing as a sci­en­tif­ic pre­text to mask oth­er ends and achieve them with impunity.

24. In regard to these ques­tions many peo­ple have been of the opin­ion and are still of the opin­ion today, that the answer must be in the affir­ma­tive. To give weight to their con­tention they cite the fact that the indi­vid­ual is sub­or­di­nat­ed to the com­mu­ni­ty, that the good of the indi­vid­ual must give way to the com­mon good and be sac­ri­ficed to it. They add that the sac­ri­fice of an indi­vid­ual for pur­pos­es of research and sci­en­tif­ic inves­ti­ga­tion prof­its the indi­vid­ual in the long run.

25. The great post­war tri­als brought to light a ter­ri­fy­ing num­ber of doc­u­ments tes­ti­fy­ing to the sac­ri­fice of the indi­vid­ual in the “med­ical inter­ests of the com­mu­ni­ty.” In the min­utes of these tri­als one finds tes­ti­mo­ny and reports show­ing how, with the con­sent and, at times, even under the for­mal order of pub­lic author­i­ty, cer­tain research cen­ters sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly demand­ed to be fur­nished with per­sons from con­cen­tra­tion camps for their med­ical exper­i­ments. One finds how they were deliv­ered to such cen­ters, so many men, so many women, so many for one exper­i­ment, so many for anoth­er. There are reports on the con­duct and the results of such exper­i­ments, of the sub­jec­tive and objec­tive symp­toms observed dur­ing the dif­fer­ent phas­es of the exper­i­ments. One can­not read these reports with­out feel­ing a pro­found com­pas­sion for the vic­tims, many of whom went to their deaths, and with­out being fright­ened by such an aber­ra­tion of the human mind and heart. But We can also add that those respon­si­ble for these atro­cious deeds did no more than to reply in the affir­ma­tive to the ques­tion We have asked and to accept the prac­ti­cal con­se­quences of their affirmation.

26. At this point is the inter­est of the indi­vid­ual sub­or­di­nat­ed to the community’s med­ical inter­ests, or is there here a trans­gres­sion, per­haps in good faith, against the most ele­men­tary demands of the nat­ur­al law, a trans­gres­sion that per­mits no med­ical research?

27. One would have to shut one’s eyes to real­i­ty to believe that at the present time one could find no one in the med­ical world to hold and defend the ideas that gave rise to the facts We have cit­ed. It is enough to fol­low for a short time the reports on med­ical efforts and exper­i­ments to con­vince one­self of the con­trary. Invol­un­tar­i­ly one asks one­self what has autho­rized, and what could ever autho­rize, any doctor’s dar­ing to try such an exper­i­ment. The exper­i­ment is described in all its stages and effects with calm objec­tiv­i­ty. What is ver­i­fied and what is not is not­ed. But there is not a word on its moral legal­i­ty. Nev­er­the­less, this ques­tion exists, and one can­not sup­press it by pass­ing it over in silence.

28. In the above men­tioned cas­es, inso­far as the moral jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of the exper­i­ments rests on the man­date of pub­lic author­i­ty, and there­fore on the sub­or­di­na­tion of the indi­vid­ual to the com­mu­ni­ty, of the individual’s wel­fare to the com­mon wel­fare, it is based on an erro­neous expla­na­tion of this prin­ci­ple. It must be not­ed that, in his per­son­al being, man is not final­ly ordered to use­ful­ness to soci­ety. On the con­trary, the com­mu­ni­ty exists for man.

29. The com­mu­ni­ty is the great means intend­ed by nature and God to reg­u­late the exchange of mutu­al needs and to aid each man to devel­op his per­son­al­i­ty ful­ly accord­ing to his indi­vid­ual and social abil­i­ties. Con­sid­ered as a whole, the com­mu­ni­ty is not a phys­i­cal uni­ty sub­sist­ing in itself and its indi­vid­ual mem­bers are not inte­gral parts of it. Con­sid­ered as a whole, the phys­i­cal organ­ism of liv­ing beings, of plants, ani­mals or man, has a uni­ty sub­sist­ing in itself. Each of the mem­bers, for exam­ple, the hand, the foot, the heart, the eye, is an inte­gral part des­tined by all its being to be insert­ed in the whole organ­ism. Out­side the organ­ism it has not, by its very nature, any sense, any final­i­ty. It is whol­ly absorbed by the total­i­ty of the organ­ism to which it is attached.

30. In the moral com­mu­ni­ty and in every organ­ism of a pure­ly moral char­ac­ter, it is an entire­ly dif­fer­ent sto­ry. Here the whole has no uni­ty sub­sist­ing in itself, but a sim­ple uni­ty of final­i­ty and action. In the com­mu­ni­ty indi­vid­u­als are mere­ly col­lab­o­ra­tors and instru­ments for the real­iza­tion of the com­mon end.

31. What results as far as the phys­i­cal organ­ism is con­cerned? The mas­ter and user of this organ­ism, which pos­sess­es a sub­sist­ing uni­ty, can dis­pose direct­ly and imme­di­ate­ly of inte­gral parts, mem­bers and organs with­in the scope of their nat­ur­al final­i­ty. He can also inter­vene, as often as and to the extent that the good of the whole demands, to par­a­lyze, destroy, muti­late and sep­a­rate the mem­bers. But, on the con­trary, when the whole has only a uni­ty of final­i­ty and action, its head-in the present case, the pub­lic author­i­ty-doubtless­ly holds direct author­i­ty and the right to make demands upon the activ­i­ties of the parts, but in no case can it dis­pose of its phys­i­cal being. Indeed, every direct attempt upon its essence con­sti­tutes an abuse of the pow­er of authority.

32. Now med­ical exper­i­ments-the sub­ject We are dis­cussing here imme­di­ate­ly and direct­ly affect the phys­i­cal being, either of the whole or of the sev­er­al organs, of the human organ­ism. But, by virtue of the prin­ci­ple We have cit­ed, pub­lic author­i­ty has no pow­er in this sphere. It can­not, there­fore, pass it on to research work­ers and doc­tors. It is from the State, how­ev­er, that the doc­tor must receive autho­riza­tion when he acts upon the organ­ism of the indi­vid­ual in the “inter­ests of the com­mu­ni­ty.” For then he does not act as a pri­vate indi­vid­ual, but as a manda­to­ry of the pub­lic pow­er. The lat­ter can­not, how­ev­er, pass on a right that it does not pos­sess, save in the case already men­tioned when it acts as a deputy, as the legal rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a minor for as long as he can­not make his own deci­sions, of a per­son of fee­ble mind or of a lunatic.

33. Even when it is a ques­tion of the exe­cu­tion of a con­demned man, the State does not dis­pose of the individual’s right to life. In this case it is reserved to the pub­lic pow­er to deprive the con­demned per­son of the enjoy­ment of life in expi­a­tion of his crime when, by his crime, he has already dis­posed him­self of his right to live.

34. We can­not refrain from explain­ing once more the point treat­ed in this third part in the light of the prin­ci­ple to which one cus­tom­ar­i­ly appeals in like cas­es. We mean the prin­ci­ple of total­i­ty. This prin­ci­ple asserts that the part exists for the whole and that, con­se­quent­ly, the good of the part remains sub­or­di­nat­ed to the good of the whole, that the whole is a deter­min­ing fac­tor for the part and can dis­pose of it in its own inter­est. This prin­ci­ple flows from the essence of ideas and things and must, there­fore, have an absolute value.

35. We respect the prin­ci­ple of total­i­ty in itself but, in order to be able to apply it cor­rect­ly, one must always explain cer­tain premis­es first. The basic premise is that of clar­i­fy­ing the quaes­tio fac­to, the ques­tion of fact. Are the objects to which the prin­ci­ple is applied in the rela­tion of a whole to its parts? A sec­ond premise is the clar­i­fi­ca­tion of the nature, exten­sion and lim­i­ta­tion of this rela­tion­ship. Is it on the lev­el of essence or mere­ly on that of action, or on both? Does it apply to the part under a cer­tain aspect or in all its rela­tions? And, in the field where it applies, does it absorb the part com­plete­ly or still leave it a lim­it­ed final­i­ty, a lim­it­ed inde­pen­dence? The answers to these ques­tions can nev­er be inferred from the prin­ci­ple of total­i­ty itself. That would be a vicious cir­cle. They must be drawn from oth­er facts and oth­er knowl­edge. The prin­ci­ple of total­i­ty itself affirms only this: where the rela­tion­ship of a whole to its part holds good, and in the exact mea­sure it holds good, the part is sub­or­di­nat­ed to the whole and the whole, in its own inter­est, can dis­pose of the part. Too often, unfor­tu­nate­ly, in invok­ing the prin­ci­ple of total­i­ty, peo­ple leave these con­sid­er­a­tions aside, not only in the field of the­o­ret­i­cal study and the field of appli­ca­tion of law, soci­ol­o­gy, physics, biol­o­gy and med­i­cine, but also of log­ic, psy­chol­o­gy and metaphysics.

36. Our plan was to draw your atten­tion to cer­tain prin­ci­ples of deon­tol­ogy which define the lim­its and con­fines of research and exper­i­men­ta­tion in regard to new med­ical meth­ods to be imme­di­ate­ly applied to liv­ing men.

37. In the domain of your sci­ence it is an obvi­ous law that the appli­ca­tion of new meth­ods to liv­ing men must be pre­ced­ed by research on cadav­ers or the mod­el of study and exper­i­men­ta­tion on ani­mals. Some­times, how­ev­er, this pro­ce­dure is found to be impos­si­ble, insuf­fi­cient or not fea­si­ble from a prac­ti­cal point of view. In this case, med­ical research will try to work on its imme­di­ate object, the liv­ing man, in the inter­ests of sci­ence, in the inter­ests of the patient and in the inter­ests of the com­mu­ni­ty. Such a pro­ce­dure is not to be reject­ed with­out fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion. But you must stop at the lim­its laid down by the moral prin­ci­ples We have explained.

38. With­out doubt, before giv­ing moral autho­riza­tion to the use of new meth­ods, one can­not ask that any dan­ger or any risk be exclud­ed. That would exceed human pos­si­bil­i­ties, par­a­lyze all seri­ous sci­en­tif­ic research and very fre­quent­ly be to the detri­ment of the patient. In these cas­es the weigh­ing of the dan­ger must be left to the judg­ment of the tried and com­pe­tent doc­tor. Nev­er­the­less, as Our expla­na­tion has shown, there is a degree of dan­ger that moral­i­ty can­not allow. In doubt­ful cas­es, when means already known have failed, it may hap­pen that a new method still insuf­fi­cient­ly tried offers, togeth­er with very dan­ger­ous ele­ments, appre­cia­ble chances of suc­cess. If the patient gives his con­sent, the use of the pro­ce­dure in ques­tion is lic­it. But this way of act­ing can­not be upheld as a line of con­duct in nor­mal cases.

39. Peo­ple will per­haps object that the ideas set forth here present a seri­ous obsta­cle to sci­en­tif­ic research and work. Nev­er­the­less, the lim­its We have out­lined are not by def­i­n­i­tion an obsta­cle to progress. The field of med­i­cine can­not be dif­fer­ent in this respect from oth­er fields of man’s research, inves­ti­ga­tions and work. The great moral demands force the impetu­ous flow of human thought and will to flow, like water from the moun­tains, into cer­tain chan­nels. They con­tain the flow to increase its effi­cien­cy and use­ful­ness. They dam it so that it does not over­flow and cause rav­ages that can nev­er be com­pen­sat­ed for by the spe­cial good it seeks. In appear­ance, moral demands are a brake. In fact, they con­tribute to the best and most beau­ti­ful of what man has pro­duced for sci­ence, the indi­vid­ual and the community.

40. May Almighty God in His benev­o­lent Prov­i­dence give you His bless­ing and grace to this end.

ADLAUDATOSI INTEGRAL ECOLOGY FORUM WEBINARS

OUR MISSION:

THE PURPOSE IS TO SHARE BEST PRACTICES AND PROMOTE ACTIONS AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

WE MAKE AVAILABLE TO YOU GUIDES AND RESEARCH ON TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS FROM THE MOST RECOGNISED LEGAL AND OPERATIONAL ACTORS.

  • BIOETHICS
  • SUPPLY CHAINS

Human Trafficking — Interview with Prof. Michel Veuthey, Order of Malta — 44th UN Human Right Council 2020

POPE’S PAYER INTENTION FOR FEBRUARY 2020: Hear the cries of migrants victims of human trafficking

FRANCE — BLOG DU COLLECTIF “CONTRE LA TRAITE DES ÊTRES HUMAINS”

Church on the frontlines in fight against human trafficking

Holy See — PUBLICATION OF PASTORAL ORIENTATIONS ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING 2019

RIGHT TO LIFE AND HUMAN DIGNITY GUIDEBOOK

Catholic social teaching

Doctrine sociale de l’Église catholique

That Moment Your Inner Activist Awakens: Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi

Pope Francis joins religious leaders of different faiths, in fight against modern slavery

Michel Veuthey talks about the Order of Malta’s involvement in fighting human trafficking

Register to our series of webinars adlaudatosi on Human Trafficking

 
 

You have successfully registered !