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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.



VATICAN CITY (Reuters)- Thu Oct 11, 2007 - Pope Benedict appealed to scientists on Thursday to stop using human embryos in stem cell research, saying it violated "the dignity of human life".

The Vatican is a proponent of stem cell research as long as it does not harm human embryos, which the Catholic Church holds are humans from the moment of conception.

"The destruction of human embryos, whether to acquire stem cells or for any other purpose, contradicts the purported intent of researchers, legislators and public health officials to promote human welfare," the Pontiff said.
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And this from the AP:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI appealed Thursday to South Koreans' "inherent moral sensibility" to reject embryonic stem cell research and human cloning after the country decided to let embryonic stem cell research resume.

Benedict also praised South Korea's efforts to halt North Korea's nuclear ambitions in comments to Seoul's new ambassador to the Vatican, Ji-Young Francesco Kim, who presented his credentials to the pontiff.

"It is my ardent hope that the ongoing participation of various countries involved in the negotiation process will lead to a cessation of programs designed to develop and produce weapons with frightening potential for unspeakable destruction," Benedict said.

Separately, the pope noted South Korea's "notable successes in scientific research and development." But he said such research must be carried out with "firm ethical standards" that always respect the dignity of human life.

"The destruction of human embryos, whether to acquire stem cells or for any other purpose, contradicts the purported intent of researchers, legislators and public health officials to promote human welfare," the pope said.
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You know, I'd be more tolerant of the Pope's position on such issues if I didn't find him to be so out of touch with reality. Here's a dose of that reality:

More than 75% of U.S. Catholics believe the church should allow the use of contraception, according to a [2005]Gallup poll (Roylance, Baltimore Sun, 4/10). And I think I read somewhere that those numbers are now up to over 80%. Still the Church maintains its stand against birth control when over three quarters of its members believe in it or use it.

Then there was this from Medical News Today , 07 Jul 2006 - Cardinal Alfonso Lopes Trujillo, Head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said that scientists who carry out embryonic stem cell research should be excommunicated, according to Famiglia Cristiana, a Catholic magazine. In an interview with the magazine, the Cardinal says he believes embryonic research is no different from abortion.

He specified that all women, doctors and scientists who eliminate embryos should be excommunicated. Trujillo said "Even talking about the defense of life and family rights is being treated as a sort of crime against the state in some countries - a form of social disobedience or discrimination against women. God will judge."
For the rest of this bizarre article, click here.

Cardinal Trujillo apparently does not know or does not care that in 2005, a poll conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 61% of white Catholics support embryonic stem cell research. And those numbers were rising every year.

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