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Thoughts on Dignitas Infinita | George Weigel

WIt is always well written and often wrong New Yorker hate something, there is a good chance that I will like it – a principle that applies, with some reservations, in the case of Dignitas Infinita, the ‘Declaration of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on Human Dignity’ of April 8. The Declaration underlines the Catholic Church’s commitment to the defense of every human life from conception to natural death, calls on Catholics to compassionate care for the most vulnerable among us, defends the biblical idea of ​​the human person as defined in Genesis 1:27-28, and offers a welcome critique of gender theory and the legion of demons it spawns (the latter being, predictably, what the New Yorker).

What’s not to like about it? Perhaps that is putting it too sharply. The question is whether the Declaration could have been even better. I think that is the case, and in several ways.

The dog that didn’t bark. Dignitas Infinita has 116 endnote references to magisterial teachings cited in the text; more than half of these concern documents and statements from Pope Francis. What is most striking, however, is the absence of any reference to Pope John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical Real splendor (The Splendor of Truth) and its teaching that certain acts are intrinsically evil: gravely wrong by their very nature, regardless of the circumstances. That rationally demonstrable belief – that some actions are wrong, period – is the basis on which the Church condemns sexual abuse, abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide and modern forms of slavery such as sex trafficking. These are all “serious violations of human dignity,” as the Declaration says. But Why is that the case? Not because they hurt our feelings or sensitivities about human dignity, but because we can know through reason that they are always gravely wrong. That should have been clearly stated.

This is evident from the tenderness shown during this pontificate towards moral theologians who reject the doctrine of morality. Real splendor intrinsically evil acts weakens the defense of human dignity that the Declaration seeks to establish.

Defending pre-born human life. Dignitas Infinita is passionate in its rejection of abortion, rightly linking abortion licensing to the erosion of “solid and durable foundations for the defense of human rights.” However, the Declaration would have been stronger if it had learned a lesson from the American bishops, who have been making pro-life arguments for more than half a century by teaching two truths that any reasonable person can understand: 1) It is a scientific fact , and not philosophical speculation, that the product of human conception is a human being with a unique genetic identity. 2) A just society will ensure that innocent people, in all circumstances and stages of life, are protected by the law. And although the Declaration ends the section on abortion with a reference to the “generous . . . commitment to the defense of every human being conceived,” it does not refer to the thousands of U.S. crisis pregnancy centers where women are offered care during pregnancy and support after a child is born. In this way, the essential pro-life addition to public advocacy on behalf of the unborn – solidarity with women in crisis pregnancies – is neglected. Dignitas Infinita.

The “gender reassignment” fraud. The Declaration rightly states that “any gender reassignment intervention generally carries the risk of endangering the unique dignity that the person has received from the moment of conception.” This statement could perhaps have been elaborated further. Very urgent, Dignitas Infinita should have explicitly condemned the ‘transition’ of confused and suffering children and adolescents – the most despicable form of the ‘trans’ phenomenon – as child abuse. If a report commissioned by the British National Health Service could declare this medical malpractice as completely unfounded by clinical evidence, then surely the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith could have drawn attention to the dangers that trans ideologues, woke doctors and adolescents pose to children and adolescents. involve. unscrupulous plastic surgeons.

There are, in fact, just wars. Quoting Pope Francis, the Declaration states that “it is very difficult today to appeal to the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a ‘just war’.” One must respectfully and firmly disagree. These “rational criteria” support Ukraine’s self-defense against a murderous aggression that the Russian aggressor has openly labeled as genocidal. These same criteria form the basis and moral framework for Israel’s defensive war against Hamas, Hezbollah and their Iranian sponsor. The just war criteria would support Taiwan’s resistance to any Chinese communist attempt to destroy the independence of China’s first democracy in millennia.

The global culture war is indeed a struggle to defend and promote human dignity. Dignitas Infinita helps those of us fighting that inevitable war. It could have helped more.

George Weigel’s column “The Catholic Difference” is published by the Catholic from Denverthe official publication of the Archdiocese of Denver.

George Weigel is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.

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Image by Colin licensed through Creative Commons. Image cropped.