A statement from the Diocese of Pittsburgh regarding Bodies … The Exhibition.
…With the assurances that the affidavits provide over the source of the bodies and fetuses, and the understanding that it is morally ethical that bodies unclaimed over a definitive period of time can be used for medical study and education, the Diocese of Pittsburgh concludes the following:
1. Bodies � The Exhibition� can provide worthwhile and effective opportunities to promote learning and to explore issues in the natural sciences, morality and spirituality;
2. �Bodies � The Exhibition� is certainly not appropriate for all audiences. Individuals in general and parents in particular must consider their own and their children�s sensitivities when determining whether or not to attend the exhibit;
3. The discussion generated in the public arena in anticipation of this exhibit is a valuable one that has raised serious questions about the dignity of the human person and how that dignity is expressed, protected and promoted. We applaud this public discourse on a matter so important to the fostering of a good society. We encourage continued dialogue on these important topics and welcome the opportunity to participate in them over the course of the exhibit�s stay in Pittsburgh.
The statement seems to me to be lacking in some of the moral issues concerning this display that go well beyond whether the bodies were obtained legally. Skinning bodies and posing them for entertainment value at the cost of admission is not exactly the same thing as the use of donated bodies for medical use.
Using the excuse that it can provide worthwhile discussions on morality and spirituality seems to be the same old excuse that is thrown out whenever they can’t justify it morally. The same excuse used by some to defend the Da Vinci Code movie and other events. Besides if worthwhile moral discussion were important then why aren’t any made in this letter besides the issue of where they got the bodies?
I would think at least that the dignity of the body would be discussed especially in the context of what has become a billion dollar plus exhibit. Or whether these so-called unclaimed bodies from the unreliable Chinese government really are treated with the respect and charity as specified in the Catechism. Archbishop Burke in St. Louis cancelled Catholic school field trips to the exhibit, but left it up to the parents as to whether this exhibit contradicted the Catholic faith.
First Things magazine had serious discussion on this exhibit with Robert T. Miller (anti) and Claire V. McCusker (pro) on the subject. Maybe this exhibit can be moral, I just wished the diocese letter attempted to address those issues.
Hat tip to the reader that sent this to me and Power Blog.