MESSAGE OF JOHN PAUL II
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
1. I warmly greet each one of you on the occasion of this study meeting, promoted by the Pontifical Academy for Life in order to examine the delicate problem related to the lawfulness of transplanting animal organs to human beings. I direct a special greeting to the dear Bishop Elio Sgreccia, Vice President of the Academy and leader of your group.
The goal of your work is, first of all, of human interest, since it is prompted by the necessity of resolving the problem of the grave insufficiency of human organs which are suitable for transplants: it is known that such an insufficiency means the death of a high percentage of sick people on waiting lists, who could be saved by the transplant. The transplants could prolong a life which is still good.
In these sectors, science is a necessary guide and valuable light. Scientific research must nevertheless be placed in the right perspective, being directed to the good of man and the safeguarding of his health.
3. Anthropology and ethics, in their turn, are ever more called to intervene in order to offer a necessary and complementary contribution, defining values and criteria to follow and, at the same time, establishing the conditions for an harmonious ordering of priorities, which must exist among them.
It is recognized more and more, as is clear from your very presence and from the composition of your group, that the alliance between science and ethics enriches both the branches of knowledge and calls them to converge when it comes to lending their help to everyone and to society.
The precautions and the clear conditions for progress in trnsplanting animal organs, which you have highlighted, are the fruit of the dialogue and of the convergence.
The Church, therefore, will always offer the proper support and help to those who search for the authentic good of the human person with the effort of reason, illumined by faith: "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth" (Fides et ratio, Intro.).
In expressing to you my appreciation for the work you have carried out and for the efforts accomplished with generosity and in a spirit of service to suffering humanity, I invoke on you, your families and the persons with whom you carry out your research the blessings of the God of all knowledge and of every goodness.
From the Vatican, 1 July 2001