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Part Three

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.