Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 9, 2008
Schools may allow students to see preserved bodies
Grade 11 and 12 students study how the body systems work
By RAMON GONZALEZ
Each body viewed is that of a unique individual loved by God and others.
Christians believe in the redemption of the human person, both body and soul, and so the human body retains its dignity even in death.
The Catholic Church does not object to the donation of the body for medical and scientific purposes, but it's with the understanding that such donation is for a limited time and that the body will eventually be given a reverent burial.
The bodies in the exhibit are displayed with the skin removed, which the bishops note obscures their God-given individuality.
"If any Catholics were to visit this exhibit, they should keep in mind that each body viewed is that of a unique individual loved by God and others. It would be appropriate to offer prayers for the repose of their souls."
The bishops counsel any Catholics who choose to view the exhibit to do so critically through the lens of faith.
They said it's up to Catholic parents to decide whether their children should see the exhibit. In consultation with area superintendents it was determined that any school visits will be restricted to high school students with specific conditions.
Nagy said Edmonton Catholic Schools "totally supports the bishops' views" and will use the exhibit to discuss the Church's views on the dignity of the human body.
She said any class that plans to attend Body Worlds would have access to a 50-minute video on the exhibit provided by Telus World of Science "just to prepare them" for what they will see.
The video will be followed by a discussion "just to see if there is any concerns students have and to kind of view the exhibit with a critical eye knowing, of course, what our views as Catholics are."
At a mid-May meeting with principals, superintendent "Joan Carr did discuss our views on the exhibit and we are encouraging high school students to go," Nagy said.
"Even though the exhibit is slated for Grades 5 and up, it's our view that it would be more appropriate for high school students.
"So we have made all principals aware of that so that they know how we feel and how we came to that conclusion."
One reason it may be appropriate for high school students to go "is because of how it matches the biology curriculum," Nagy said. Grade 11 and 12 biology students study in depth how the body works, including the circulatory system and the respiratory system.
"This could be a very good teaching tool as well if high school principals or teachers decide to take their class."
A special letter will be sent to parents of any students whose class plans to attend the exhibit, Nagy said, noting that the final decision as to whether a student attends rests with the parents.
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