Concern for the health
of its citizens requires that society help
in the attainment of living-conditions that allow them to grow and
reach maturity: food and clothing, housing, health care, basic edu
cation, employment, and social assistance.
If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does
not make it an absolute value. It rejects a neo-pagan notion that
tends to promote the
cult of the body,
to sacrifice everything for its
sake, to idolize physical perfection and success at sports. By its
selective preference of the strong over the weak, such a conception
can lead to the perversion of human relationships.
The virtue of temperance disposes us to
avoid every kind of
the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those in
cur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger
their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.
use of drugs
inflicts very grave damage on human
health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is
a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs
are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in
evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to
the moral law.
Respect for the person and scientific research
Scientific, medical, or psychological experiments on hu
man individuals or groups can contribute to healing the sick and
the advancement of public health.
Basic scientific research, as well as applied research, is a signifi
cant expression of man’s dominion over creation. Science and technology
are precious resources when placed at the service of man and promote his
integral development for the benefit of all. By themselves however they
cannot disclose the meaning of existence and of human progress. Science
and technology are ordered to man, from whom they take their origin and
development; hence they find in the person and in his moral values both
evidence of their purpose and awareness of their limits.
It is an illusion to claimmoral neutrality in scientific research and
its applications. On the other hand, guiding principles cannot be inferred
from simple technical efficiency, or from the usefulness accruing to some at
the expense of others or, even worse, from prevailing ideologies. Science
and technology by their very nature require unconditional respect for
fundamental moral criteria. They must be at the service of the human
person, of his inalienable rights, of his true and integral good, in conformity
with the plan and the will of God.