Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Archbishop Naumann on ESC Research and Cloning

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, KS recently wrote about embryonic stem-cell research and cloning in his regular column in The Leaven, the newspaper of his archdiocese.

Although the circumstances that led him to write on this topic were related to political debates in neighboring Missouri, what he wrote is relevant for Catholics everywhere.


The Catholic Church opposes human cloning for the same reason it opposes in vitro fertilization. The church believes that every human being has the right to be conceived in love by a mother and father. Human beings, even if it is scientifically and technologically possible, are not meant to be manufactured in petri dishes and laboratories.

Even though couples can be well-intentioned in their efforts to conceive a child, in vitro fertilization is always a serious moral evil. One of the reasons it is such a serious evil is that the process often requires the manufacturing of several human embryos, most of which are destroyed or preserved indefinitely in frozen storage.

In the case of embryonic stem-cell research, scientists want to manufacture human embryos with the intention of never allowing any of them to proceed with normal human development. These scientists want to manufacture these tiny human beings to use their cells for their laboratory studies and experiments, which they hope may one day lead to some effective human therapy. Although, as was pointed out last week, in 25 years of animal experimentation, scientists have yet to demonstrate a successful therapy.

Read the whole column.

(Go here to listen to a podcast of Archbishop Naumann's column.)

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