Skip to comments.Embryonic stem-cell research immoral, unnecessary, bishops say
Posted on 06/29/2008 6:30:12 PM PDT by Coleus
Declaring that stem-cell research does not present a conflict between science and religion, the U.S. bishops overwhelmingly approved a statement June 13 calling the use of human embryos in such research "gravely immoral" and unnecessary. In the last vote of the public session of their June 12-14 spring general assembly in Orlando, the bishops voted 191-1 in favor of the document titled "On Embryonic Stem-Cell Research: A Statement of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops."
"It now seems undeniable that once we cross the fundamental moral line that prevents us from treating any fellow human being as a mere object of research, there is no stopping point," the document said. "The only moral stance that affirms the human dignity of all of us is to reject the first step down this path." Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., introduced the document on behalf of Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, who was not at the Orlando meeting.
Consideration of the stem-cell document came after an intense and complicated debate at the meeting over a 700-page liturgical translation. Archbishop Naumann thanked those involved in the liturgical debate for "making stem-cell research seem simple," which drew laughs from the other bishops. The seven-page policy statement was approved with little debate and few amendments.
Archbishop Naumann said it would be issued in an "attractive educational brochure" intended for the "broadest possible distribution."
Also coming out this summer, he said, are three educational resources on the medical advances being made with adult stem cells: a 16-minute DVD called "Stem-Cell Research: Finding Cures We Can All Live With"; an updated parish bulletin insert on the topic; and a brochure on "Stem Cells and Hope for Patients," which will be part of the bishops' annual Respect Life observance.
Although the U.S. bishops have been active in the national debate on stem cells, individually and collectively, this marks the first time they have addressed the issue in a document "devoted exclusively" to that topic, Archbishop Naumann said.
"Even our opponents admit that ours is one of the most effective voices against destroying human embryos for stem-cell research," he added. The document is designed to set the stage for a later, more pastoral document explaining why the Catholic Church opposes some reproductive technologies. "While human life is threatened in many ways in our society, the destruction of human embryos for stem-cell research confronts us with an issue of respect for life in a stark new way," it says.
"The issue of stem-cell research does not force us to choose between science and ethics, much less between science and religion," the document says. "It presents a choice as to how our society will pursue scientific and medical progress." The policy statement seeks to refute three arguments made in favor of permitting stem-cell research that involves the destruction of human embryos. It says proponents of embryonic stem-cell research argue:
-- "Any harm done in this case is outweighed by potential benefits.
-- "What is destroyed is not a human life, or at least not a human being with fundamental human rights.
-- "Dissecting human embryos for their cells should not be seen as involving a loss of embryonic life."
Responding to the first argument, the document says that "the false assumption that
Embryonic stem cells are also dangerous when used in adult patients. Cancer, growth of hair/bone inside the brain, are just a few of the results from embryonic cell experimentation.
Embryonic stem-cell research is not about finding cures for anything. It is all about establishing the principle of killing some human beings for the benefit of other human beings and ultimately, for purposes of the State, the same principle that has brought us the Progressive enthusiasm for abortion and various sorts of euthanasia. It is a Leftist dream and is part and parcel of the principle of the government being in the business of creating some version of New Soviet Man.