Donum Vitae (The Gift of Life)

Author: Pope Benedict XVI

February 22, 1987

Donum Vitae (The Gift of Life) is a document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that offers specific replies to common questions about the Catholic Church's position on the dignity of human life. Composed in 1987 by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger prior to his election as Pope Benedict XVI, it attempts to apply general moral teachings of the Catholic Church to specific issues and concerns within biomedical ethics of the time. The document is divided into three parts: the first principles of the respect for human life, moral questions on technical interventions on human procreation, and reflections on human embryos and fetuses. The arguments and concerns addressed foreshadow much of the debate about bioethics with Catholicism over the following twenty years.

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