Pope Urges Opposition to Abortion, Embryonic Stem Cell Research

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 10, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pope Urges Opposition to Abortion, Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 10, 2005

The Vatican (LifeNews.com) — In his annual address to foreign diplomats that he traditionally gives at the beginning of the year, Pope John Paul II reiterated the Catholic Church’s strong opposition to abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

He said that defending life was one of the biggest challenges of 2005 because of the attacks to it on many fronts. The Pope said the "challenge to life has grown in scale and urgency in recent years."

"It has involved particularly the beginning of human life, when human beings are at their weakest and most in need of protection," he said.

Pope John Paul told the delegates that the government of each nation "has as its primary task precisely the safeguarding and promotion of human life."

The pontiff said "reason and science” support the church’s position against abortion, human cloning and assisted reproduction.

"The Church’s position, supported by reason and science, is clear: the human embryo is a subject identical to the human being which will be born at the term of its development," he explained. "Consequently whatever violates the integrity and the dignity of the embryo is ethically inadmissible."

"Scientific research in the field of genetics needs to be encouraged and promoted, but, like every other human activity, it can never be exempt from moral imperatives," he said.

"[A]ny form of scientific research which treats the embryo merely as a laboratory specimen is unworthy of man," the pontiff added.

The Pope said the next year must focus on "strengthening the common bonds of our humanity and … making them prevail over all other considerations."

"The arrogance of power must be countered with reason, force with dialogue, pointed weapons with outstretched hands, evil with good," Pope John Paul said.

Speaking in French, the Pope addressed ambassadors from 174 nations across the world.

Because of his deteriorating health, exacerbated by the effects of Parkinson’s disease, the Pope read only the first and last paragraphs of his speech. According to a Catholic News Service report, an aide read the rest.