Benedict XVI: saving on life cannot justify destroying another

From VIS:


VATICAN CITY, 12 NOV 2011 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received a group of 250 participants in an international conference entitled “Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture“, promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture in collaboration with the U.S. Stem for Life Foundation. The three-day meeting examined the use of adult stem cells in medicine, both from the perspective of science, and from that of its cultural, ethical and anthropological implications.

Extracts of Benedict XVI’s English-language remarks are given below:

“Since human beings are endowed with immortal souls and are created in the image and likeness of God, there are dimensions of human existence that lie beyond the limits of what the natural sciences are competent to determine. If these limits are transgressed, there is a serious risk that the unique dignity and inviolability of human life could be subordinated to purely utilitarian considerations. But if instead these limits are duly respected, science can make a truly remarkable contribution to promoting and safeguarding the dignity of man”.

“In this sense, the potential benefits of adult stem cell research are very considerable, since it opens up possibilities for healing chronic degenerative illnesses by repairing damaged tissue. … The improvement that such therapies promise would constitute a significant step forward in medical science, bringing fresh hope to sufferers and their families alike. For this reason, the Church naturally offers her encouragement to those who are engaged in conducting and supporting research of this kind, always with the proviso that it be carried out with due regard for the integral good of the human person and the common good of society.

This proviso is most important. The pragmatic mentality that so often influences decision-making in the world today is all too ready to sanction whatever means are available in order to attain the desired end, despite ample evidence of the disastrous consequences of such thinking. When the end in view is one so eminently desirable as the discovery of a cure for degenerative illnesses, it is tempting for scientists and policy-makers to brush aside ethical objections and to press ahead with whatever research seems to offer the prospect of a breakthrough. Those who advocate research on embryonic stem cells in the hope of achieving such a result make the grave mistake of denying the inalienable right to life of all human beings from the moment of conception to natural death. The destruction of even one human life can never be justified in terms of the benefit that it might conceivably bring to another. [Tell that to Call to Action and Sr. McBride! Tell that to the CHA and LCWR!  Tell that to the Magisterium of Nuns and their acolytes.]

“Yet, in general, no such ethical problems arise when stem cells are taken from the tissues of an adult organism, from the blood of the umbilical cord at the moment of birth“.

“Dialogue between science and ethics is of the greatest importance in order to ensure that medical advances are never made at unacceptable human cost. The Church contributes to this dialogue by helping to form consciences in accordance with right reason and in the light of revealed truth. In so doing she seeks, not to impede scientific progress, but on the contrary to guide it in a direction that is truly fruitful and beneficial to humanity, … with a particular regard for the weakest and most vulnerable.

“In drawing attention to the needs of the defenceless, the Church thinks not only of the unborn but also of those without easy access to expensive medical treatment. … Justice demands that every effort be made to place the fruits of scientific research at the disposal of all who stand to benefit from them, irrespective of their means. … Here the Church is able to offer concrete assistance through her extensive healthcare apostolate, active in so many countries across the globe and directed with particular solicitude to the needs of the world’s poor”.  [And to think that certain administrations of certain large white houses, by their relentless undermining of religious liberty, are undermining the Church’s ability to serve the poor.]

“I pray that your commitment to adult stem cell research will bring great blessings for the future of man”.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. CatholicCaliGirl says:

    Okay, so we an use adult stem cells and stem cells from the umbilical cord. that’s great, so why do they need to even keep researching how to use embryotic stem cells? if they can get all they want from stem cells aquired in ethical ways? I mean it’s been proven that adult stem cells and stem cells from the umbilical cord work better, so why even bother?

  2. Oneros says:

    “The destruction of even one human life can never be justified in terms of the benefit that it might conceivably bring to another. [Tell that to Call to Action and Sr. McBride! Tell that to the CHA and LCWR! Tell that to the Magisterium of Nuns and their acolytes.]”

    Benedict does not seem to be addressing the “one or both” type of situation here, however.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    The reason why the governments want embryonic stem cell research is to justify, even further, abortion.

  4. THREEHEARTS says:

    How about this viewpoint?
    Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden of Eden as they let Satan in and took what what not theirs. They ate of the tree of knowledge. Seeing how they both easily fell into this sin God our Creator could no leave the Tree of Life exposed to an attack so we had to go. Today the attack on the tree of life has become a full fledged war, which we can know and see, God will not loose. What kind of thunderbolt will He send. I do not want to be on the end of it, but nevertheless it is aimed and waiting.

  5. Johnno says:

    Factions in the world will always continue to fight for embryonic stem cell research because:

    a) It helps prop up the idea that embryos are something inhuman and acceptable to be dissected and destroyed so that abortion can continue.

    b) There is a belief, an entirely religious belief, amongst some scientists that there is some kind of ‘potential’ they can eventually discover in the future that could have some possible unnamed, unknown benefits in the end (which still doesn’t justify the means). Basically they like throwing money down the drain…

    c) Pride. Simple… arrogant… stubborn… stupid… pride… They cannot stand the thought to allowing those ‘religious folk’ being right.

    d) I have my own wacky sci-fi theory… By cloning and continuing research on embryos they hope that if they should one day solve the issue of getting foreign tissue to meld together and play nice that in using the non aged cells of young embryos they could in theory continue to grow and harvest body parts or entire bodies altogether to replace aging ones and provide a Frankenstiens monster solution to the problem of aging and death… In other words… they’re seeking to mimic the ancient rituals of stealing the lives of others to grant oneself man-made immortality. Who needs to worry about God and Judgment and all that stuff when one can live an earthly life forever, right? Maybe this is the potential some of them are secretly longing for… Fat chance!

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