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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Debate: ESTC v.President, Vatican Life Expert, Professor Thiel to Eurofora: Fraternity+BioEthics

CoE Debate: ESTC v.President, Vatican Life Expert, Professor Thiel to Eurofora: Fraternity+BioEthics

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 30 August 2017
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*Strasbourg/Council of Europe/Angelo Marcopolo/- Speaking to "Eurofora" just after having Chaired an International Conference opened by CoE's deputy Secretary General, (the experienced Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni), Vatican's Pontifical Academy for LIfe new member, University Professor on BioEthics and European Society of Catholic Theologians' vice-President, Marie-Jo Thiel, explained Why "Fraternity" became a so Topical Issue that it was at the Focus of Unexpectedly "Hot" Debates in a 4 Days-Long Conference which started in the CoE with Speeches from ECHR and CoE Social Charter Senior Officers (See Infra), while also Highighting Current Problems on BioEthics and Genetics :

 

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 - There are several Important, Hard and Topical Issues in Nowadays Society, that Theologians too have to address and discuss with scientists, politicians and others. 


 - But, according to the Bible's First Chapter on "Genesis", the 1st Question that God Asked to Cain, was : - "What have you done of your Brother ?", Professor Thiel stressed, in substance.


  She was Replying to an "Eurofora"s Question on the reasons for which "Fraternity", alias "Brotherhood", (or "Adelfosini" in Greek) had been chosen as the Heading of this exceptional 2017 International Conference of Theologians and other University Experts on Human and Moral Sciences, debating at the CoE with an ECHR Judge and CoE's Social Charter's deputy Director, (See Infra).


 - Thiel had Evoked, Earlier Today at the CoE a Pope Francis' explicit Reference to the Value of "Fraternity", made particularly on they 30rd of May 2017, and "Eurofora" remembers that, already, in a landmark Speech to EU Parliament durng his Visist to European Institutions in Strasbourg back on 2014, He had already stressed that "Truth" is "Vital" for "a Society .. truly Free, Human, and Fraternal".


 - And even if, perhaps,"Fraternity" might not have been exactly, in History, a "Founder" Principle on Human Rights' Values, (as, f.ex., "Human Dignity", and/or "Solidarity", etc), nevertheless, it is, at least, a "Founding" Principle, (i.e. able to help complete the foundations also of new, positive developments on Values nowadays), reminded to "Eurofora" Voluntaristically Professor Thiel, pointing to a Dialogue that she had Earlier Today at the University of Strasbourg with Young Candidates to Doctoral PhD Thesis on that matter.


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+ Moreover, even if "Human Dignity" is widely considered as the Basic Moral Foundation of All Human Rights, (a Credo among Christian theorists, but also in EU's Fundamental Rights' book), which can be Distinguished in 3 Main Categories : (A) those stemming from the idea of "Liberty", (B) those related to "Equality", (f.ex. Socio-Economic Rights, etc), and (C) those concerning mostly "Solidarity" or "Fraternity", etc, (alias : "3rd Generation" Rights), however, the Latter is a Different Concept, able to Advance well Beyond, observed, in Conclusion of all Debates, ECHR's Euro-Judge from Portugal, Paulo Pinto Albuquerque.

 

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Resuming Different Opinions which were expressed during relevant Debates at the CoE by Participants from various European and Other Countries, and several Scientific Horizons, ECHR's EuroJudge, who has also a Long Experience as University Professor in Law at Lisbon, Shanghai (China), and Illinois (USA), as well as former Expert of CoE's Anti-Corruption Watchdog "GRECO", (etc), Agreed that "Solidarity" may refer to a kind of "Help" given by "Privileged" Groups/Entities to "Vulnerable" People, (i.e. with a Sense of "Verticality" : i.e. a State vis a vis Poor/Disadvantaged Citizens, etc), while, on the Contrary, "Fraternity" or "Brotherhood" referred more to something ("Horizontal", i.e. as a Common Interest, etc), that many Persons have all Together, between them, as one Group of People or Community, as Members of the same Society, (f.ex. Right to a Healthy Environment, Cultural identity Rights, including of Religious Communities, etc), based on the idea of a Collective Dimension of Rights, which ask for a "Positive" Action from State actors, (f.ex. concerning all "Humanity" or "Humankind", as "Eurofora" points Infra, on the occasion of BioEthics and Genetics).


At any case, the "Essence of Human Rights", even "Civic - Political Rights", "canNot be Guaranteed, withOut Any Guarantee of (key) Social and Cultural Rights  : F.ex. it has No Sense to speak about he Right to Democratic and Fair "Elections", "If" there is Not Any Guarantee, if it's Ruled Out, any Social Right to, at least, an Elementary "Dignified Living", the EuroJudge pointed out. In this regard, the ECHR's case-law inspires itself from UNO's Historic 1949 "Universal Declaration on Human Rights", according also to the "Theological Foundations" of the "Christian Traditions of Europe", he concluded, widely Applauded.


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+ AnOther Topical Issue, concerning "Hot" Stakes in BioEthics :  that of controversial "Genetic Manipulations on Human Embryos", was Raised, afterwards, by a 2nd "Eurofora"s Question to Professor Thiel, pointing, more particularly, to her New Task as Member of Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Life, where she has Recently been appointed by Pope Francis, on June 2017, for a Period of 5 Years, (2017-2022).


- Thiel, (who holds an Initial Experience in pure Medical Science with a 1st PhD Thesis on real, technical Medical Issues, Before studying Theology and presenting there a 2nd PhD Thesis, by an Interesting Coincidence, related also to a Question about "a Status for Human Embryo"), reacted, at First, by Warning that this has become, particularly Nowadays, a "Difficult" Issue :


- In this regard, she pointed at the "current Hopes" of several Medical Researchers to "Advance in Discoveries of efficient ways to "Heal" People from certain Serious Illnesses.


- But Thiel Acknowledged also the Fact that, as "Eurofora" observed, Despite Many Years of Similar Claims by a lot of Controversial Technocrats, and Nonobstant the Long and substantial Spending of Millions and Millions $, nevethertheless, No Cure had been discovered at all, for any illness, by Genetic Manipulations, during the Last Decades... (On the Contrary, Cancer was Spreading as Never before in the History of Humankind, and Other "Strange" illnesses had Emerge : such as "AID" - SIDA-, or "Black Sheep" for Mamal Animals, once found as a result of emanations from a Virus Research Labo in Scotland ; "SARS" reportedly spread from another Labo around Hong Kong ; New, "Mutant" Flu Virus Epidemics attacking Animals from 2004-2005 and Humans on 2009-2010, reportedly Started around a California Research Facility near the Mexican Border, etc)...


- Nevertheless, she estimated that, apparently, Discoveries of New Drugs against some Traditional illnesses might be Now "within Reach", eventualy Ready to be Discovered, particularly through a Recently popularized Technic of controversial Manipulations on Human Genome, called "CRISPR/Cas9", (which, notoriously, is a "Genome Editing Technology ...that allows Permanent Modification of Genes within organisms", including on Humans, according f.ex. to "Wikipedia", a.o.).

 

However, Fears for Dangerous permanent Genetic Alterations on Human beings, able to provoke f.ex. a Genetic "Appart-Heid", Artificially Fabricate Different "Races" or "Categories" of Humans, with "Eugenistic" "Selection", etc.,(Against which, World-Famous Writers as Aldus Huxley, Yevgeny Zamyatin and HG.Wells, etc., already Warned as Early as since the 1920-1930ies !), and/or be Abused as vectors of "Bio-Weapons" in "Bio-Warfare" or "Bio-Terrorism", (i.e. by Provoking various types of "New" or "Classic" illness, Deformations, etc), have already Started to Stimulate various kinds of Reactions, even among specialized Scientists, some of whom asked, at least, for a Global "Moratorium", others for a "Ban", some pushing to Distinguish between Genetic Modifications on "an Individual Person" or also to Next Generations' "Germ-Line" - absolutely Prohibited by CoE's PanEuropean "Oviedo" Convention on BioEthics (1998), etc.

 

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>>> Pope Francis, in a landmark Speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg on 2014 (See "Eurofora"s NewsReport from the spot, then : ...), had Denounced the "Dismay" with which "we see Technical ...Questions Dominating Political Debate, to the Detriment of genuine Concern for Human Beings", where "Men and Women Risk being Reduced to mere Cogs in a Machine". And he Warned MEPs aainst "the Great Mistake made <<when Technology is Allowed to Take Over>>", as he stressed, making a Timely Reference to his Predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict's unforgettable Text "Caritas in Veritate", published as an Encyclic on 29/6/2009 :


 - "A particularly Crucial Battleground in Today's cultural struggle between the Supremacy of Technology, and Human Moral Responsibility is the field of BioEthics", had clearly Denounced Benedict then. "In this most delicate and Critical area", "Scientific Discoveries ...and the possibilities of Technological intervention seem so Advanced as to Force a choice",  "Faced with ...Dramatic Questions" : "Today" it "has become a Radically Anthropological Question, in the sense that it concerns not just how Life is conceived, but also how it is Manipulated, as Bio-Technology places it increasingly under man's control. In Vitro Fertilization, Embryo Research, the possibility of manufacturing Clones and human Hybrids: all this is now Emerging" . "Here we see the clearest expression of Technology's Supremacy". "We must Not Underestimate the Disturbing Scenarios that Threaten our Future, or the Powerful New Instruments that the “culture of Death” has at its disposal". "...We may well have to add in the Future — indeed it is Already Surrepticiously present — the systematic Eugenic Programming of Births", Benedict had Warned. "These Scenarios ... Deny Human Dignity" and show  "Indifference ...towards what is, and is not, Human", with "the Risk ...of a Conscience that can No longer Distinguish what is Human", he had Denounced.

 

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Curiously, Benedict had his Right Hand Broken, by an UnPrecedented "Fall" on July 2009, shortly After Speaking about that Text with former US President Barack Hussein Obama, who had just taken a Controversial Decision to Authorize Federal Funding of Genetic Manipulations on Human Embryo on March 2009, (Cancelling a "Ban" decided, previously, by his precedessor, former US President GWBush on Mid-August 2001, i.e. at the Eve of 9/11 UnPrecedented Massive Deadly Terrorist Attacks on New York and Washington DC, which Killed about 3.000 innocent People and Provoked a Radical Change in Worldwide Politics). And only 1 Month Later, at the End of that Summer 2009, Benedict also Faced then, even ... a 2nd Brutal Attack against his Broken Right Hand, when an allegedly "Mentaly Deranged" Person from Switzerland astonishingly crossed all Security Barriers totally Unhindered and Fell on Him, Throwing the Pope Down to the Floor ! Miraculously, he was Saved, but anOther Old Religious Dignitary, who stood at his Side, had his Leg Broken by that Violent Attack, and underwent a Chirurgical Operation, being closed in a Hospital for more than a Month... Just a Few Months Later, from 2010, a Systematic Massive Media-Campaign Accusing and Slandering the Catholic Church for alleged crimes reportedly committed by some individual Priests a Long Time Ago in the Past : Even 20 or 40 Years in the Past (sic !), suddenly broke out and Persisted as Never Before. On 2012 started Alarming Rumours about various alleged Attempts or "Plots" to Brutaly Eliminate Benedict himself, and at the Beginning of 2013 he notoriously Surprized all the World by Resigning, (a move Never made Before by a Pope, except only once, in very Exceptional circumstances, More than 6 Centuries ago !).


Almost Similarly, mutatis-mutandis, new Pope Francis, Immediately after making a Highly Symbolic and Mediatic Visit to the "Cemetery of UnBorn Childs" (i.e. Human Embryos), on August 2014, learned, on his Flight back to Rome, that his closest Nephew's Family had just been Brutaly Decimated, at his Home-Country of Argentina, when a Heavy Lorry suddenly Fell on his Car, Crashing and Killing his Wife and Children and Wounding him Seriously. By another Coincidence, that Deadly Lorry transported Seeds from a Region where USA's Controversial "MONSANTO" Multinational Company exerted Pressure to Impose an UnPopular "Geneticaly Modified" Crop Against which, the Local Population was Fighting a Hard Struggle, Denouncing serious Dangers on Human Health, including even on Pregnant Womens' Embryos, etc.


All these Facts might, eventually, be a Series of mere Coincidences. It's also True that Pope Francis had already made in Rome a Crystal-clear reference to the Moral need to Protect Human Life from the Inception, up to Natural Death, (i.e. including Human Embryos), in Harmony with his Personal choice to refer to Saint Francis of Assisi, well known also for his Love of Nature and Protection even of Animals, nowadays Notoriously affected by gross Genetic Manipulations, (f.ex. in Latin America, Saudi Arabia, as Horses, etc). But he did Not face Any known Problem, then. However, the above-mentioned Facts, are also Undeniable and Strange, deserving to be Noted, Instead of being Hidden.

 

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=> As far as Human Rights are concerned, ECHR's EuroJudge Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque's previously mentioned reference to a New, "3rd Generation" Category of Rights, and particularly those who Protect Collective Interests and Values, which are Shared by Many and Belong to Groups of People, entire Communities, Nations, Countries or whole Societies, (Comp. Supra), could, Obviously, find here a Fertile Ground for possible Development in the foreseable Future, since they concern, now, the whole Humanity, given that eventual Genetic Manipulations as those evoked above, can Affect all Humankind.  


Thus, "Fraternity" could become also a BioEthical idea !...

 

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(../..)

 

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***

 

("DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version might be published asap). 

 

*** 



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    Before the end of 2009, France and Germany will take strong initiatives to open "new Horizons" needed by Europe and the World, going well beyond the current Crisis' management, anounced French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel, reassuring that both a judgement on Lisbon Treaty by nearby Karlsruhe German Federal Court, and the forthcoming National Elections in Germany would confirm their capacity to act.    

They were replying to Press questions in Berlin, after key-regional elections on Sunday, where Merkel's ChristianDemocratic party kept everywhere a strong 1st and won the possibility to forge a New Majority with Liberals at the largest of 3 Landers : Saxony (4 millions inhabitants), while its main competitor, the Socialdemocrat party fell to unprecedented lows : Tackled by the small "Linke" (left) party in Saarland (1 million inhabitants), it became even smaller than it in Saxony and Thuringen (3 million inhabitants), where SPD arrived only third. While its usual partners, the "Greens" also fell down, contrary to CDU's new partners, the FDP Liberals, who go up.

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    - "At any case, at the end of the year (2009), if things go as scheduled, we shall take strong initiatives, showing that Europe needs a Franco-German axis, as well as the World, even if it never excludes other" countries to join, replied Sarkozy to a question if France and Germany will revive the "European dream", by "relauncing the EU motor" for the Future, with actions going further than the mere management of the global crisis, (as it was done fex. in the Past with the creation of the "Euro" Monetary zone, etc).

    - "I am convinced that the Franco-German friendship must be constantly nourished by New Projects", he added."There are many areas of cooperation where we intend to take, very soon, some Franco-German initiatives, which will allow to open more Horizons" to the EU, Sarkozy stressed.

    But if "we don't speak about that now, it's only in order to avoid interfering in important elections coming in Germany", he observed. However, "we have already started to consider the Future with the (German) Chancellor, and what we can do in order to honour our predecessors". "We are already speaking about that, and we are preparing things". "I am working very well together with Mrs Merkel, and I wish that it goes on", Sarkozy concluded.

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    - "It's important for EU's credibility that France and Germany advance forward together", stressed Merkel from the outset. "Don't worry about Germany's capacity to undertake initiatives" with France, she added. "France and Germany will be perfectly able to make proposals" for the EU.

    -  "After-crisis" plans must be prepared, meanwhile, with measures "advancing progressively", Merkel anounced. And, for the short term, we must deal also with EU Citizens' dismay since they feel that it's a Scandal for some in the Financial Markets to be paid with excessive "Bonuses", etc, she agreed with Sarkozy.

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    Moreover, "Global Trade cannot be correctly dealt, without taking into account also Environmental and Social rules", Sarkozy added, referring to recently expressed positions against Unfair Competition via Environmental and/or Social Dumping, (See earlier "EuroFora"'s publications).

    Such moves are obviously linked to the need to ensure at least an elementary respect for Human Rights by Third Countries, (f.ex. exploitation of Children's work, etc) in order to avoid, precisely, any such Social Dumping.

    - "EU has Values, protecting Human Rights and Human Dignity", and "it cannot close its eyes" in front of grave violations, particularly "Torture and/or killings", added, indeed, Sarkozy.

    Thus, "the time comes, where decisions must be taken". But, in case of "Sanctions", "all International opinion should be convinced of the need to take action", he observed.

    Expressed on the occasion of recent developments in Iran, the same principles should logically apply also to other similar cases, including fex. that of Hundreds of ECHR judgements' condemning f;ex. Turkey for grave crimes, (as Torture, brutal Killings, Enforced "Disappearances", Destruction of Family Homes, harassments and oppressive violations of Freedom of Speech, etc).

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    But MEPs reportedly just "postponed" for 1 week all their previously scheduled group meetings (See : http://www.euractiv.com/en/future-eu/barroso-unveil-summer-homework-week/article-184825 );

    However, while the choice of a new EU Commission's President by EU Parliament is supposed, according to many MEPs' wish, take place according to EU policy issues, paradoxically, this would mean that Barroso's bid would pass before even the anouncement of France and Germany's "initiatives" for EU's "new Horizons"...

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