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Pope says some science shatters human dignity
Scientific American ^ | January 30, 2008 | Philip Pullella

Posted on 01/31/2008 1:34:58 PM PST by NYer

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Thursday that embryonic stem cell research, artificial insemination and the prospect of human cloning had "shattered" human dignity.

In an address to members of the Vatican department on doctrinal matters, Benedict said the Church had a duty to defend the "great values at stake" in the field of bioethics.

The speech was the latest in a series in which the conservative Pope has told his listeners that scientific progress should not be accepted uncritically.

Benedict, who headed the same department for years before his election in 2005, said the Church was not against scientific progress but wanted it based on "ethical-moral principles."

He said this included total respect for the human being as a person "from conception until natural death," and respect for the natural transmission of life through sexual intercourse.

Practices like freezing embryos, suppression of embryos in multiple pregnancies, embryonic stem cell research, the prospect of human cloning and artificial insemination outside the body had "shattered the barriers meant to protect human dignity," he said.

"When human beings in the weakest and most defenseless state of their existence are selected, abandoned, killed or used as pure 'biological material,' how can one deny that they are being treated not as 'someone' but as 'something,"' he said.

Such practices "questioned the very concept of the dignity of man," he said in the speech to the department known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Widespread interest in medicine by the general public, who get most of their information from the media, had made it even more imperative for the Church to take a stand, he said.

Embryonic stem cell research involves the destruction of embryos. Scientists hope to use stem cells to transform medicine, providing regenerative treatments for injuries and seeking new insights into diseases like cancer and AIDS.

Last year scientists reported they had tricked ordinary skin cells into behaving like embryonic stem cells.

The Pope said the Church "appreciates and encourages" research on stem cells that come from other parts of the body and do not involve embryos or their destruction.

He rejected accusations from critics who say the Church is an obstacle to science and human progress, saying growing concern about cloning and other practices showed it was right to raise the alarm.

It was the Pope's latest foray into scientific issues. On Monday he warned against the "seductive" powers of science, saying it was important that science did not become the sole criteria for goodness.

U.S. Cardinal William Levada, Benedict's successor as head of the doctrinal department, said it was mulling the possibility of preparing a new Vatican document on bioethical issues.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: benedictxvi; catholic; human; humanity; pope; science; whatistobehuman
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1 posted on 01/31/2008 1:34:59 PM PST by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...
Catholic Ping
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


2 posted on 01/31/2008 1:35:36 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer
To some extent, that is the case. Even on non-abortion/euthanasia topics.

Take plain 'ole genetics, for instance. So many behavioral and personality aspects and characteristics are being treated as based on genetics or epigenetics. And then there are chemicals from diets and malformed body parts (organs, glands, etc.). On one level, those things probably do influence personality, behavior, temperment, etc., but there's danger in ascribing everything to chemical reactions.

There's more to humanity than hormones and neurotransmitters.

3 posted on 01/31/2008 1:42:44 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: NYer

It’s my personal belief that man will cross the red line one day with all this human cloning stuff and that is when the end of the world will be.


4 posted on 01/31/2008 1:45:10 PM PST by Berlin_Freeper (WAA! Bush is not conservative! - Let's vote for FLIP Romney!!)
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To: NYer

No one, not even the Pope, knows the meaning of the word ‘dignity’ but we use it all the time. Some kind of verbal ornament.


5 posted on 01/31/2008 1:48:17 PM PST by RightWhale (oil--the world currency)
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To: NYer

Raw science does not shatter human dignity. What people do with it does though. How they go about practicing it can also do it.


6 posted on 01/31/2008 1:50:09 PM PST by RobRoy
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To: RightWhale

Bob Dylan wrote a song about it.

Dignity.

Bob knows.


7 posted on 01/31/2008 1:50:54 PM PST by don-o (Do the RIGHT thing. Become a monthly donor. End Freepathons forever)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Help us out. What IS dignity?


8 posted on 01/31/2008 1:51:59 PM PST by don-o (Do the RIGHT thing. Become a monthly donor. End Freepathons forever)
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To: don-o

Bob knows a lot more than he lets on.


9 posted on 01/31/2008 1:53:03 PM PST by RightWhale (oil--the world currency)
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To: NYer

Mankind crossed a line when Satan tempted with the words “ye shall be as Gods.” They were cast out of Paradise.

Clearly, to play God would be to place the future of your soul at risk. The Pope is in the business of delivering as many of these souls to Paradise as possible. Therefore, we should not play God, we should not fiddle around with God’s Creation in such a manner, and the Church’s teaching on abortion/euthanasia/contraception/embryonic stem cells is so clear in this area, it baffles me that more people do not understand it.

Of course, there are those who do not worry about the fate of their soul, because they do not believe. I pray that God tears down the imperfect walls these people have constructed around their hardened hearts (I say imperfect, because humans aren’t perfect, and God will find a way to bring your walls down).


10 posted on 01/31/2008 1:54:07 PM PST by BaBaStooey (I heart Emma Caulfield.)
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To: RightWhale
I know, I know! dig·ni·ty /ˈdɪgnɪti/ Pronunciation[dig-ni-tee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun, plural -ties. 1. bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation. 2. nobility or elevation of character; worthiness: dignity of sentiments. 3. elevated rank, office, station, etc. 4. relative standing; rank. 5. a sign or token of respect: an impertinent question unworthy of the dignity of an answer. 6. Archaic. a. person of high rank or title. b. such persons collectively. What do I win?
11 posted on 01/31/2008 2:09:47 PM PST by CTK YKC
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To: CTK YKC

Sorry, but your definitions although multitudinous are not even in the ballpark except for #6 which indicates the direction for further research.


12 posted on 01/31/2008 2:12:34 PM PST by RightWhale (oil--the world currency)
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To: BaBaStooey

First of all, I’m against all government research that has no direct military applications. That said...

What exactly does it mean to “play God”? Change what God made? Last time I checked that’s how humans thrive, changing their surroundings. Why is changing ourselves such a huge leap?

If I can’t have a child the ‘natural’ way, I’m glad science can help. If I have a genetic defect that takes a pill to cure, why wouldn’t I take it. If I can have my heart cloned when the ticker is running out on the one I have, why wouldn’t I do it? Because it’s ‘playing God’? All I see is another excuse for some people to tell others how to live their lives. If no ones individual rights are being violated then no one has the right to tell another what to do.


13 posted on 01/31/2008 2:23:29 PM PST by Raymann
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To: RightWhale

Tell us. What does “dignity” mean? Or are you proposing that it has no meaning: ain’t no such thing?


14 posted on 01/31/2008 2:29:15 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o (It takes courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

No, I will not tell. It is used in various learned works where the meanings given as above have no meaning whatsoever. It shall remain a secret sign of recognition among the seekers.


15 posted on 01/31/2008 2:32:22 PM PST by RightWhale (oil--the world currency)
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To: Raymann

I’m not saying that all science or all pharmacy is playing God. I have a degree in Chemistry myself. What I am saying is that we as human beings should not control life in such a way. If we attempt to concieve, it is God’s will if it happens. Otherwise, adoption is a very noble thing. And concerning death, God will call us home when He decides. Natural conception to natural death, that is God’s way.

In these cases, no one seems to care whether or not the unborn’s rights are being violated. Or whether or not people considered to be in a “vegetative state” are having their rights violated.


16 posted on 01/31/2008 2:47:31 PM PST by BaBaStooey (I heart Emma Caulfield.)
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To: NYer

God bless the Pope. Ave Maria.


17 posted on 01/31/2008 3:02:40 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (what would the founders do?)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

In a lot of ways, the punishment of man’s sin is found in the sin itself. i.e., I don’t think there’s one single line in the sand that will precipitate the end. But the continuing dehumanization and collateralization of life will lead to greater and greater acts of inhumanity and atrocity as societal “norms”.

Some may argue that the 20th century may never be paralleled in the kind of worldwide savagery that spanned two world wars, the concentration camps, the gulags, S.E. Asia, Africa, etc. But those were all atrocities committed during war, power consolidation, and general upheaval. We’re talking about normal, “civilized” society with a scoreboard of aborted babies that would make your run of the mill political tyrant blush. When Hitler experimented on human beings, it was ghastly. When society demands it today, it’s “progress”. That’s the qualitative difference: The 20th century featured perverted, heartless individuals; today we have a perverted, heartless society. That’s the price of sin, and God doesn’t have to lift a finger for us to suffer unspeakable punishment.


18 posted on 01/31/2008 3:10:45 PM PST by Rutles4Ever (Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia, et ubi ecclesia vita eterna)
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To: NYer

God Bless the Pope.


19 posted on 01/31/2008 3:16:16 PM PST by Revolting cat! (We all need someone we can bleed on...)
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To: RightWhale

Dignity, in the religious sense, is the irrevocable quality of man being made in the image of God (i.e., infused with a soul). Nothing a man does can forfeit his right to be treated with this dignity in mind because the soul is ever-present. Thus what one does to the least among us, they do that unto God Himself, as well.

Just sayin’.


20 posted on 01/31/2008 3:22:43 PM PST by Rutles4Ever (Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia, et ubi ecclesia vita eterna)
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To: Raymann
If no ones individual rights are being violated then no one has the right to tell another what to do.

If you don't define an embryo as an individual, your position makes sense. However, those who do define an embryo as an individual react appropriately to the notion of "harvesting", "manipulating", or "engineering" them for the end of making life more comfortable for someone else, followed by their unceremonious disposal down a sink, or what-have-you.

21 posted on 01/31/2008 3:26:42 PM PST by Rutles4Ever (Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia, et ubi ecclesia vita eterna)
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To: Rutles4Ever

That’s actually not bad at all. The meaning I am looking at applies to other things than man as well as to man. There is no doubt we have dignity and probably a lot more than we commonly think.


22 posted on 01/31/2008 4:02:53 PM PST by RightWhale (oil--the world currency)
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To: pax_et_bonum
Pope says some science shatters human dignity

He's warning you!!!

23 posted on 01/31/2008 4:05:37 PM PST by humblegunner (If you're gonna die, die with your boots on.)
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To: RightWhale; Mrs. Don-o
It shall remain a secret sign of recognition among the seekers.

Now, you're just being coy.

Let's see what Bob says

Fat man lookin' in a blade of steel
Thin man lookin' at his last meal
Hollow man lookin' in a cottonfield
For dignity

Wise man lookin' in a blade of grass
Young man lookin' in the shadows that pass
Poor man lookin' through painted glass
For dignity

Somebody got murdered on New Year's Eve
Somebody said dignity was the first to leave
I went into the city, went into the town
Went into the land of the midnight sun

Searchin' high, searchin' low
Searchin' everywhere I know
Askin' the cops wherever I go
Have you seen dignity?

Blind man breakin' out of a trance
Puts both his hands in the pockets of chance
Hopin' to find one circumstance
Of dignity

I went to the wedding of Mary-lou
She said ÒI don't want nobody see me talkin' to you
Said she could get killed if she told me what she knew
About dignity

I went down where the vultures feed
I would've got deeper, but there wasn't any need
Heard the tongues of angels and the tongues of men
Wasn't any difference to me

Chilly wind sharp as a razor blade
House on fire, debts unpaid
Gonna stand at the window, gonna ask the maid
Have you seen dignity?

Drinkin' man listens to the voice he hears
In a crowded room full of covered up mirrors
Lookin' into the lost forgotten years
For dignity

Met Prince Phillip at the home of the blues
Said he'd give me information if his name wasn't used
He wanted money up front, said he was abused
By dignity

Footprints runnin' cross the silver sand
Steps goin' down into tattoo land
I met the sons of darkness and the sons of light
In the bordertowns of despair

Got no place to fade, got no coat
I'm on the rollin' river in a jerkin' boat
Tryin' to read a note somebody wrote
About dignity

Sick man lookin' for the doctor's cure
Lookin' at his hands for the lines that were
And into every masterpiece of literature
for dignity

Englishman stranded in the blackheart wind
Combin' his hair back, his future looks thin
Bites the bullet and he looks within
For dignity

Someone showed me a picture and I just laughed
Dignity never been photographed
I went into the red, went into the black
Into the valley of dry bone dreams

So many roads, so much at stake
So many dead ends, I'm at the edge of the lake
Sometimes I wonder what it's gonna take
To find dignity

Copyright © 1991 Special Rider Music

24 posted on 01/31/2008 4:48:00 PM PST by don-o (Do the RIGHT thing. Become a monthly donor. End Freepathons forever)
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To: RightWhale
Bob knows a lot more than he lets on.

Listen to Bob

25 posted on 01/31/2008 4:51:36 PM PST by don-o (Do the RIGHT thing. Become a monthly donor. End Freepathons forever)
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To: RightWhale

What about man as being just a little lower than the angels instead of being just a smart ape?


26 posted on 01/31/2008 4:52:38 PM PST by RobbyS
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To: don-o

It’s in there. We have more dignity than we usually know. To act like we have dignity, I don’t know, since we have dignity anyway. We’re in the image all right, but that doesn’t mean copy. We have our own thing going.


27 posted on 01/31/2008 4:52:47 PM PST by RightWhale (oil--the world currency)
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To: RobbyS

Don’t know about that. It’s a little outside things we can form judgments of.


28 posted on 01/31/2008 4:55:01 PM PST by RightWhale (oil--the world currency)
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To: RightWhale

>> No one, not even the Pope, knows the meaning of the word ‘dignity’ but we use it all the time. Some kind of verbal ornament.

If no one knows the meaning of ‘dignity’, then ‘what’ are you declaring it undefined?


29 posted on 01/31/2008 4:57:15 PM PST by Gene Eric
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To: Gene Eric

We don’t know the meaning of most of the words we use as if we know, but considering that we learned this stuff when we were five or younger and learned it from other five year olds and never bother to look up these words since we already know them, we have the five year old understanding of the words.


30 posted on 01/31/2008 5:01:16 PM PST by RightWhale (oil--the world currency)
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To: RightWhale

If being human is a prerequisite to being no one, I was just curious if you were supernatural, an android, or maybe HAL — just bustin’.


31 posted on 01/31/2008 5:17:00 PM PST by Gene Eric
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To: RightWhale

The philosophicac formulation is whether man differs from the animals in kind or by kind. The intellect, with which man seems uniquely endowed, can be thougtht of as analogous to the emphant’s trunk—a devise that helps us survive.— or something that transcends the physical world.


32 posted on 01/31/2008 5:45:55 PM PST by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS

Sorry, ...”by degree of by kind. “


33 posted on 01/31/2008 5:48:18 PM PST by RobbyS
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To: NYer; Coleus; Pyro7480; narses; Salvation
Last year scientists reported they had tricked ordinary skin cells into behaving like embryonic stem cells.

The Pope said the Church "appreciates and encourages" research on stem cells that come from other parts of the body and do not involve embryos or their destruction.

I doubt that Pope Benedict's advisors have explained to him that one of the developments from "tricking skin cells into becoming stem cells" is that now two men will be able to have a baby.

Scientists will be able to "trick" one man's skin cell into becoming an egg, which can then be fertilized with another man's sperm.

Or, likewise, a woman's skin cell could be "tricked" into becoming a sperm cell, so that two women will be able to have a child.

34 posted on 01/31/2008 5:56:28 PM PST by Dajjal
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To: BaBaStooey

So basically what you’re saying is that we should give up medicine all together? If you’re not saying that (and I’m sure you’re not) then how do you decide what’s appropriate medical treatments? Is chemo against God? (a lot of cancer is natural) Life support?


35 posted on 02/01/2008 6:11:26 AM PST by Raymann
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To: Raymann

No, I’m not saying we should give up medicine altogether. I thought I was being pretty clear when I limited my objections to embryonic stem cell research.

I think you might be trying to picture me as one of those wacky “medicine is the devil” type evangelicals. I’m just a good Catholic. My best friend is a pharmacist, and his wife is also a pharmacist. Medicine is a wonderful thing. It has transformed this world, especially in the last hundred years or so. It has lengthened life spans and found cures for terrible afflictions.

My point is that we must choose an ethical path. We cannot destroy life in order to save it. We cannot choose who gets to live and who gets to die. We are not God. We should do whatever we can to save ALL life.


36 posted on 02/01/2008 7:36:13 AM PST by BaBaStooey (I heart Emma Caulfield.)
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To: RightWhale
There is no doubt we have dignity and probably a lot more than we commonly think.

That's a good observation. We've come to systematically disregard our neighbor's dignity, now we don't even recognize it in ourselves...

37 posted on 02/01/2008 9:45:53 AM PST by Rutles4Ever (Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia, et ubi ecclesia vita eterna)
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To: NYer
Funny, I didn't see him say "some science shatters human dignity".

Then again, I have to assume that in the of Dr. Mengele and others, even SciAm would have to admit that "some science shatters human dignity."

Science without ethics is a tool of the devil.
38 posted on 02/01/2008 9:49:29 AM PST by Antoninus (The other guys s#ck so I'm stuck with Huck!)
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To: Antoninus
Science without ethics is a tool of the devil.

That would make a good tagline.

39 posted on 02/01/2008 10:21:54 AM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: RightWhale; Alamo-Girl
No one, not even the Pope, knows the meaning of the word ‘dignity’ but we use it all the time.

I disagree. I know what human dignity is, and it ain't some kind of "verbal ornament."

40 posted on 02/01/2008 10:25:44 AM PST by betty boop (This country was founded on religious principles. Without God, there is no America. -- Ben Stein)
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To: Dajjal

Speaking of, Scientific America seems to be trying to trick us into thinking that the pope is against science.


41 posted on 02/01/2008 10:27:05 AM PST by RobbyS
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To: betty boop

If you know what it is, use it in a sentence. :)


42 posted on 02/01/2008 12:09:28 PM PST by RightWhale (oil--the world currency)
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To: Antoninus
Science without ethics is a tool of the devil.

What is science?
What is ethics?
What is a tool?
What is a devil?

43 posted on 02/01/2008 12:11:44 PM PST by RightWhale (oil--the world currency)
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To: RightWhale; Alamo-Girl
If you know what [dignity] is, use it in a sentence. :)

Okay.

God conferred dignity upon mankind in making him imago Dei, in His image and reflection; that is, by endowing him with reason and free will. It is this divinely-conferred dignity that justifies the Bible's teaching that God regards each and every human person as sacred. Each of us is called do the same.

Will that do?
44 posted on 02/01/2008 12:35:35 PM PST by betty boop (This country was founded on religious principles. Without God, there is no America. -- Ben Stein)
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To: betty boop

It will do if you are happy with it. You are happy with it, aren’t you?


45 posted on 02/01/2008 12:38:26 PM PST by RightWhale (oil--the world currency)
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To: RightWhale; Alamo-Girl
It will do if you are happy with it. You are happy with it, aren’t you?

I am completely satisfied with it, because I believe it is the absolute Truth.

The problem the atheist has, though it goes unacknowledged, is that without God there is no foundation for human thought, no firm Rock on which to stand.

46 posted on 02/01/2008 12:49:38 PM PST by betty boop (This country was founded on religious principles. Without God, there is no America. -- Ben Stein)
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To: betty boop

Well, happiness and satisfaction are different things, but to some degree either will do in this imperfect world. Free will is dignity. Interesting. Concepts have dignity, too, but without free will.


47 posted on 02/01/2008 12:55:49 PM PST by RightWhale (oil--the world currency)
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To: RightWhale
Concepts have dignity, too, but without free will.

How can a concept have dignity? On what basis?

Concepts are the products of free will -- of a free, unfettered intellect (reason, the other endowment of dignity). If a concept was not born in this way, then it's just an empty slogan, so much propaganda.

48 posted on 02/01/2008 1:08:11 PM PST by betty boop (This country was founded on religious principles. Without God, there is no America. -- Ben Stein)
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To: betty boop

Can’t read Kant without getting this.


49 posted on 02/01/2008 1:13:07 PM PST by RightWhale (oil--the world currency)
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To: RightWhale
Can’t read Kant without getting this.

I don't always agree with Kant.

50 posted on 02/01/2008 1:19:56 PM PST by betty boop (This country was founded on religious principles. Without God, there is no America. -- Ben Stein)
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