Life in Christ
Research or experimentation on the human being cannot
legitimate acts that are in themselves contrary to the dignity of
persons and to the moral law. The subjects’ potential consent does
not justify such acts. Experimentation on human beings is not
morally legitimate if it exposes the subject’s life or physical and
psychological integrity to disproportionate or avoidable risks. Ex
perimentation on human beings does not conform to the dignity
of the person if it takes place without the informed consent of the
subject or those who legitimately speak for him.
are in conformity with the moral law if the
physical and psychological dangers and risks to the donor are proportion
ate to the good that is sought for the recipient. Organ donation after death
is a noble and meritorous act and is to be encouraged as an expression of
generous solidarity. It is not morally acceptable if the donor or his proxy
has not given explicit consent. Moreover, it is not morally admissible
directly to bring about the disabling mutilation or death of a human being,
even in order to delay the death of other persons.
Respect for bodily integrity
bring on a reign of terror; by
means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures.
They are morally wrong.
threatens, wounds, and kills in
discriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity.
which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, pun
ish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to
respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when per
formed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended
performed on innocent
persons are against the moral law.
In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate
governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the
Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the
prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts
are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She
forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that
these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in confor
mity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary,
these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work
for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.
91 Cf. DS 3722.