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The topic of Eugenics affects several Catholic Views of Social Justice. One Social Justice in particular that directly affects the view of Catholics is Ecological Justice. Ecological Justice is being concerned with the obligations that humans have to the rest of creation. Eugenics is the science of improving the population of humans by selecting desirable traits and controlling the breeding of undesirable hereditary traits. Ecological Justice is affected because as human beings the basic human rights and the obligations of an individual are lost within humanity. Manipulating and controlling the breeding of an individual for specific traits goes against what God intends for humankind. God loves us all individually and despite having what most individuals believe is something undesirable, artificially selecting characteristics affects this crucial view within the church.
The Casti Connubii is an encyclical by Pope Pius XI, in which it defends the position of the church. A main focus is Eugenics and how the church condemns it. Within Casti Connubii, it states, “Those who act in this way are at fault in losing sight of the fact that the family is more sacred than the State and that men are begotten not for the earth and for time, but for Heaven and eternity.” The church believes that choosing to use eugenics takes away from being a family and loving a child despite, undesirable traits. The encyclical also states that. “The killing of the innocent is unthinkable and contrary to the divine precept promulgated in the words of the Apostle: Evil is not to be done that good may come of it.” Even though eugenics is not directly killing a child, it is preventing the birth of a child with natural hereditary traits, it is also saying that you should not do evil, being the controlling the birth of a child, or sterilizing a mother so that no undesirable traits carry out through a birth when a child being brought into the earth. A child should be loved and cherished as God would as this is the greater good that comes out of conceiving a child. This encyclical strongly represents the position of the church on Eugenics.
Within the Catholic faith it is in our human freedom that we have the right to do whatever an individual pleases. God gave us the freedom to make the right choices and follow what he wills for us to do within life. Ultimately, choosing eugenics and selecting desirable traits for a child could be beneficial, as it is a method of choosing preventable diseases and mental illnesses within a child. Within faith, every human being is seen as a unique individual, illnesses or not. God created everyone individually and loves everyone unconditionally. Within Law, sterilization laws/rights were often declined by government officials since they encouraged people to be sterilized in order to prevent illnesses and undesirable traits to pass onto offspring. Some people in today’s society use this method to prevent their children from having issues such a cancer or future alcohol/drug addictions. Social Sin, plays a role in regards to eugenics. Social sin takes place within a group of individuals. This sin leads victims to do evil in their turn. Eugenics can be normalized within society, an individual can be influenced to choose Eugenics in regards to breeding, as Science and the modern technology of today, has a major influence upon individuals and the type of method used to produce a child.
Within the churches view of Eugenics, there are several Moral Principles that can satisfy the position of the Church. One basic moral principle can be “follow what nature intends”. This means that one should follow the basic natural principles within the world, such as reproduce, educate your offspring, shun ignorance and several other natural principles. Another basic moral principle that can support the position of the church could be “Do good, Avoid evil”. Eugenics within the past has been affiliated with evil people such as Adolf Hitler during WW2, who used Eugenics in a negative way, hoping to create a general population of people with blonde hair and blue eyes. People can often abuse and use the scientific knowledge and practices of Eugenics in a negative way. Changing and using specific traits within an individual can allow one to lose the moral values and the intention of reproduction when having a child and benefiting the parent so that their child will have the characteristics that please them. These basic moral principles can support the churches view directly and show the position the church stands on with the topic of Eugenics.
The topic of Eugenics takes away from the churches view of solidarity. Solidarity is having values in human beings and respecting who they are as individuals. Eugenics takes away from this as people who are choosing to use Eugenics when producing a child neglects the desirable traits within the child as a human and strictly looks at the negative factors the individual can have and remove those factors from their genes and or genetics. Also, eugenics encouraged the sterilization of a woman who had undesirable traits within their hereditary genetics. This devalues an individual as a human being and shuns them for their negative traits. Eugenics can be seen as positive in the way where a child can be prevented from being born with cancer for an example, but it is negative because it devalues individuals and fails to recognize them as human beings.
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