Sin and Bioethics: Why a Liturgical Anthropology Is Foundational
Engelhardt, H. Tristram, Jr.
Christian Bioethics 2005 August; 11(2): 221-239
The project of articulating a coherent, canonical, content- full, secular morality-cum-bioethics fails, because it does not acknowledge sin, which is to say, it does not acknowledge the centrality of holiness, which is essential to a non-distorted understanding of human existence and of morality. Secular morality cannot establish a particular moral content, the harmony of the good and the right, or the necessary precedence of morality over prudence, because such is possible only in terms of an ultimate point of reference: God. The necessity of a rightly ordered appreciation of God places centrally the focus on holiness and the avoidance of sin. Because the cardinal relationship of creatures to their Creator is worship, and because the cardinal corporate act of human worship is the Liturgy, morality in general and bioethics in particular can be understood in terms of the conditions necessary, so as worthily to enter into Eucharistic liturgical participation. Morality can be summed up in terms of the requirements of ritual purity. A liturgical anthropology is foundational to an account of the content-full morality and bioethics that should bind humans, since humans are first and foremost creatures obliged to join in rightly ordered worship of their Creator. When humans worship correctly, when they avoid sin and pursue holiness, they participate in restoring created reality.
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