Pope Benedict Condemns Human Cloning and Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 31, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 31,

The Vatican (LifeNews.com) — Days after President Bush re-issued his call for a ban on human cloning in the United States, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the grisly practice in a speech. The pontiff also issued a condemnation of embryonic stem cell research and said both practices are wrong because they involve the destruction of human life.

The speech came before members of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Catholic doctrinal body that the pope led before becoming the Church’s leader.

The Catholic leader said scientists need to stop treating human life, even at its earliest stages, as "biological matter."

The Pope said it was impossible for the Catholic Church to respond to every act of science because technology is moving so quickly. However, he indicated pro-life Catholics must issue a general condemnation of any practice that destroys human life.

In doing so, the Church would have a moral voice "so that scientific progress may be truly respectful of all human beings, who must be recognized as having individual dignity because they have been created in the image of God."

According to a London Daily Mail report, the Pope talked about "new problems" such as freezing human embryos, designer babies, and human cloning.

These practices "clearly show how, with artificial insemination outside the body, the barrier protecting human dignity has been broken" and they "question the very concept of the dignity of man," Pope Benedict said.

"When human beings in the weakest and most defenseless stage of their existence are selected, abandoned, killed or used as pure ‘biological matter’, how can it be denied that they are no longer being treated as ‘someone’ but as ‘something’, thus placing the very concept of human dignity in doubt?" he added.

The Pope said the Church "appreciates and encourages" ethical alternatives such as adult stem cell research or studies showing scientists turning cells into an embryonic-like state.

U.S. Cardinal William Levada, who took the Pope’s place as the head of the doctrinal panel, told Reuters the body would likely issue a new position paper soon on bioethics issues.