WORKSHOP - Human Life in the Technological Age
Date: 20 September – From Midday
The development of science and technology, this splendid testimony of the human capacity for understanding and for perseverance, does not free humanity from the obligation to ask the ultimate religious questions. Rather, it spurs us on to face the most painful and decisive of struggles, those of the heart and of the moral conscience.
St John Paul II, Veritatis splendor, 1
Nowadays we have many new chances to help human life. There are new medicines, new therapies, new technologies that can help people. Science has always given new perspectives of nature.
However, science discoveries and technologies have to find people wanting to use them for good purposes. Technics and ethics have always to be together, and ethics is always something living in people. Ethics and moral values are important not only to avoid misuses but also to promote the use of these opportunities according to the good and in favor of the person.
For instance, when technology takes over medical practice, people suffer negative consequences. The technique is governed by the efficiency in achieving external purposes. From this point of view, people’s problems are side effects to deal with. If technical processes are not well-oriented, the number of these "side effects" goes up. This includes the lack of respect for life that happens when you want to find a "technical" solution to the problem of an unwanted pregnancy.
Most of the discussions about human life are only about physical life (the aforementioned case of abortion). Which is fine. But it is a very poor perspective.
Being healthy is having the opportunity to live, and to live has to do with carrying out activities, some of them good activities and others much less. But the life the medical doctor must help is the patient's lifestyle, not an ideally healthy life.
Christian faith not only is not against science, but also has always promoted science. Of course, this is part of the understanding of the human vocation as steward of creation, not as a predator.
Ethics based on the dignity of the person should not only order the work of single person but also of the community. Then, it would be important to work so that the laws would reflect the good values. However today there are many new challenges and often it is impossible to guarantee good laws. Nevertheless, we do not have our hope based on laws, but on God’s Grace and on the human heart. How can Christians live their life in technological age as a testimony of good use of it?
Experiments on stem cells, abortion, artificial procreation, assisted suicide and euthanasia are all very important issues that are the other side of the coin.
The workshop will be an opportunity to identify main challenges with their good and dangerous aspects and to focus on them at different levels: education, politics, social care…, but also at the national and European level. Participants will also discuss how the Church should enter in all these debates; and how could Bishops’ conferences coordinate their action at European level; and how to help sciences to develop according to human dignity, how to link ethics with technics.
A main address followed by an open debate.
Chairman: His Excellency Mgr Juan José Omella Omella, Bishop of Calahorra y La Calzada-Logroño
Speaker: Prof. Antonio Pardo Caballos, University of Navarra (Spain)