New biotechnologies treat people as things
In his latest comments on the dark side of scientific progress, Pope
Benedict XVI has said that embryonic stem cell research, artificial
insemination and possible human cloning had “shattered” human dignity.
He told Vatican officials in a widely-reported speech that the Catholic
Church is not opposed to scientific progress, but insists that it must
be based on “ethical-moral” principles. "The two fundamental criteria
for moral discernment in this field," he said, "are unconditional
respect for the human being as a person, from conception to natural
death; and respect for the origin of the transmission of human life
through the acts of the spouses."
“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."
The Vatican’s highest official on doctrinal matters, American Cardinal
William Levada, said that his department was considering the
possibility of preparing a new document on bioethical issues. ~
Scientific American, Jan 31; Zenit, Jan 31
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