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Living the Gospel of Life -- Study Guide

Paragraph Eight


This section speaks of ambiguity in the American spirit as it influences the rest of the world. It is not evil and it is not purely good either; rather, it is mixed. There are, in an image used by our Holy Father, "lights and shadows" in what we offer the world. The culture of death is truly global, and one of the ways that battle rages is in debates in Congress and in the United Nations regarding whether the United States will fund population programs that are coercive, such as China's, or that use abortion as a means of "family planning." Abortion advocates constantly push for such funds, while pro-life elected officials work to prevent the exportation of abortion.

We have already entered into the "next century" of which this document speaks. What will the "discourse about the sanctity of human life" be like in this century? It will increasingly be centered around nothing less than the re-making of the human species. The mapping of the human genome, cloning, genetic therapy and manipulation, and the combination of human genetic material with that of other species and with robotics and artificial intelligence create a cluster of bio-ethical challenges that bring us to the most fundamental questions: Who are we? What does it mean to be made in the "image of God?" How far can we go in tampering with that "image" before we destroy ourselves?

Discussion Questions

What are some examples of how America imprints its spirit, for good and for bad, upon the rest of the world?

Listen to a homily given by Fr. Frank Pavone on the re-making of the human species through bio-technology. [Listen here.]

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