The Value of Human Life: All of it and for Everyone

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The Value of Human Life: All of it and for Everyone
Taipei, September I2, 2010
I feel greatly honoured to address this august assembly on the topic: The Value of Human Life: All of it and for Everyone.

Indeed the subject of the value of human life is one of the most complex questions of recent decades and in particular way of recent years. An incontestable proof of this is a very recent study (March 2009) drawn up by the Interdisciplinary Group of Bioethics (GIB) of the Borja Institute of Bioethics (IBB) on the biological, ethical and juridical questions relating to the embryo and the beginning of human life.

I find that it is interesting to emphasise the point of departure of this document because it is very relevant to its conclusion. We live in a pluralistic society and no longer a society guided by a single ethical code. Thus to these questions can be given not only differentiated answers but also, and even, opposing answers.

Thus it should not surprise us that in a social and cultural context that is so diverse there is no longer unanimity, not even as regards the answers to fundamental questions regarding the

beginning, the end and the limits of the right to life.1

This ethical relativism is by now so accepted that the same diversity of answers is also true in the case of abortion, that is to say the question of the reproductive autonomy of women. To summarise: these are the challenges of our contemporary society and one cannot impose maximalist ethics for everyone. In fact, one should, rather, try to obtain ethical minimums that can be shared and which then assure co‑existence in society.2

Beginning with this assumption, my paper is organised into three parts: 1. the contemporary challenges; 2. the responses of the Church; and 3. ecclesial service to life from its beginning until its natural end.

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