The morality of dissecting humans


#1

I’m a first-year med student and a new convert to Catholicism, and I was wondering what people knew about the Church’s attitude (now and historically) towards dissecting cadavers?

It’s the kind of topic I can’t find much on in the catechism or on apologetics web sites. But even though the soul has left the body, there is still a sanctity to it, right? It’s the same body that will be raised (we hope, for each individual person) on the Last day, after all.

JMJ


#2

It doesn’t seem to be a problem …

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
2296. Organ transplants are in conformity with the moral law if the physical and psychological dangers and risks to the donor are proportionate to the good that is sought for the recipient. Organ donation after death is a noble and meritorious act and is to be encouraged as an expression of generous solidarity. It is not morally acceptable if the donor or his proxy has not given explicit consent. Moreover, it is not morally admissible directly to bring about the disabling mutilation or death of a human being, even in order to delay the death of other persons.
. . .
2300. The bodies of the dead must be treated with respect and charity, in faith and hope of the Resurrection. The burial of the dead is a corporal work of mercy; it honors the children of God, who are temples of the Holy Spirit.
2301. Autopsies can be morally permitted for legal inquests or scientific research. The free gift of organs after death is legitimate and can be meritorious. The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body.


#3

Good one, Todd.

The Catholic Medical Students’ Association is an organization seeking to promote spiritual and moral values, foster the development of spiritual life and worship, and provide an opportunity for medical students to congregate and share their experiences. The organization is interested in integrating medical education with faith and ethics. We publish a quarterly medical ethics newsletter and host lectures in conjunction with regional guilds of the Catholic Medical Association. cathmsa.org/

Medical Ethics in the Catholic Tradition

Foundations: The work of the first two lectures will be spent putting into place the foundations of medical ethics in the Catholic tradition. Consideration of the foundations is essential, if the discussion is not to be reduced to bare casuistry or situation ethics and if the tradition is to serve as a guide for issues not yet within the contemporary horizon. So the starting point will be the background out of which the Catholic Medical Ethics grew. Once the background of the tradition, which originated in the ancient world, is in place, the modern situation and its failure will be described and the contemporaneous need for the religious traditions to exercise their appropriate influence will be affirmed.
home.comcast.net/~icuweb/c04101.htm

Everyday we read and hear about the constant onslaught of controversial medical issues, e.g., euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, test-tube babies, cloning and stem cell research, creating monsters in the lab, etc. — it is all coming down very fastcatholiceducation.org/articles/medical_ethics/me0007.html

www.petersnet.net/research/ retrieve.cfm?RecNum=2774
www.che.org/ethics/index.php?id=2


#4

[quote=manwhoisthursdy]I’m a first-year med student and a new convert to Catholicism, and I was wondering what people knew about the Church’s attitude (now and historically) towards dissecting cadavers?

It’s the kind of topic I can’t find much on in the catechism or on apologetics web sites. But even though the soul has left the body, there is still a sanctity to it, right? It’s the same body that will be raised (we hope, for each individual person) on the Last day, after all.

JMJ
[/quote]

If they are Christian the body is to be treated with respect and when science is finished with it it is to receive a Christian burial. (either the body or the ashes)


#5

[quote=manwhoisthursdy]It’s the same body that will be raised (we hope, for each individual person) on the Last day, after all.
[/quote]

Not quite the same body, actually… but a glorified, spiritual one. From the CCC:

**997 **What is “rising”? In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus’ Resurrection.

999 How? Christ is raised with his own body: “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself”;553 but he did not return to an earthly life. So, in him, “all of them will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear,” but Christ “will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body,” into a “spiritual body”:554

In other words, not our frail elderly bodies (should we live that long); or our sick, injured, or otherwise physically deformed bodies (should that be the case at the moment).

I for one am looking forward to getting all my hair back :stuck_out_tongue:


#6

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