Catholic Church Says Abortion, Cloning, Embryo Destruction are Sinful Practices

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 10, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Church Says Abortion, Cloning, Embryo Destruction are Sinful Practices

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 10
, 2008

The Vatican ( — The Catholic Church has added abortion and destructive bioethics practices like embryonic stem cell research and human cloning pose to the traditional list of seven deadly sins. Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti spoke with a Catholic newspaper over the weekend about the additions.

Girotti is the Catholic Church’s number two official when it comes to helping Catholics understand what constitutes sin in their lives. He is the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

He told L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, that involvement in practices that violate the dignity of human beings, such as abortion or destroying human life in scientific experiments, is sinful.

Abortion, he said, violated “the dignity and rights of women" in addition to destroying the lives of unborn children.

"(Within bioethics) there are areas where we absolutely must denounce some violations of the fundamental rights of human nature," he said.

Girotti told the Catholic newspaper that those involve "experiments and genetic manipulation whose outcome is difficult to predict and control."

Girotti explained that the new sins include several that affect society as well as the individual.

"You offend God not only by stealing, taking the Lord’s name in vain or coveting your neighbor’s wife, but also by … carrying out morally debatable experiments that manipulate DNA or harm embryos," he said.

Abortion and the tampering with genetics in "morally dubious" experiments such as embryonic stem cell research or human cloning and "bioethical" violations such as birth control were added to the list of new "social" sins.

The Catholic Church divides sins into venial, or less serious, sins and mortal sins, which can lead to eternal punishment without confession. Abortion and the destruction of human life through science were included in the list of mortal sins.