O'Malley Condemns Cloning Breakthrough

Responding to the announcement of a breakthrough in human cloning technology, Boston's Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap., in his role as chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wote that human cloning for any purpose is inconsistent with the moral responsibility to “treat each member of the human family as a unique gift of God, as a person with his or her own inherent dignity."

“Creating new human lives in the laboratory solely to destroy them is an abuse denounced even by many who do not share the Catholic Church’s convictions on human life,” he said. He said this way of making embryos will also be taken up by people who want to produce cloned children as “copies” of other people.  “Whether used for one purpose or the other, human cloning treats human beings as products, manufactured to order to suit other people’s wishes.” He added, “A technical advance in human cloning is not progress for humanity but its opposite.”

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Cardinal O’Malley’s statement responded to reports today that researchers in Oregon have succeeded in producing cloned human embryos and obtained their embryonic stem cells. He added that the researcher’s goal of producing genetically matched stem cells for research and possible therapies is already being addressed by scientific advances that do not pose the same moral problems.

More information on USCCB’s position on human cloning is available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/cloning/

The full text of Cardinal O’Malley’s statement follows:

The news that researchers have developed a technique for human cloning is deeply troubling on many levels. Over 120 human embryos were created and destroyed, to produce six embryonic stem cell lines. Creating the embryos involved subjecting healthy women to procedures that put their health and fertility at risk. And the researchers’ alleged goal, producing genetically matched stem cells for research and possible therapies, is already being addressed by scientific advances that do not pose these grave moral wrongs.

Creating new human lives in the laboratory solely to destroy them is an abuse denounced even by many who do not share the Catholic Church’s convictions on human life. Also, this means of making embryos for research will be taken up by those who want to produce cloned children as “copies” of other people. Whether used for one purpose or the other, human cloning treats human beings as products, manufactured to order to suit other people’s wishes. It is inconsistent with our moral responsibility to treat each member of the human family as a unique gift of God, as a person with his or her own inherent dignity. A technical advance in human cloning is not progress for humanity but its opposite.

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Bill Collier
5 years 5 months ago
One hopes that all Catholics, and indeed all people of good will, can support Cardinal O'Malley's comments about human cloning, which further objectifies human life and, if tolerated, diminishes the inherent dignity of each and every human life.
Vincent Gaitley
5 years 5 months ago
Hope indeed, but the genie is out of the bottle. When a person of goodwill faces the situation when his/her mother has a failing kidney, what will be said when the government doctor offers, "We can grow one for you wholesale, Madam." I suspect the answer will be, "...just put it in me, and bill Obamacare."
Carolyn Disco
5 years 5 months ago
I believe this article is incomplete and misleading. See a fuller explanation @ http://ncronline.org/news/politics/researchers-embryonic-stem-cell-advance-decried-morally-troubling "A statement from the university said the process announced Wednesday "is a variation of a commonly used method called somatic cell nuclear transfer. ... It involves transplanting the nucleus of one cell, containing an individual's DNA, into an egg cell that has had its genetic material removed. The unfertilized egg cell then develops and eventually produces stem cells... "Our research is directed toward generating stem cells for use in future treatments to combat disease," said the statement, quoting lead researcher Shoukhrat Mitalipov. "While nuclear transfer breakthroughs often lead to a public discussion about the ethics of human cloning, this is not our focus, nor do we believe our findings might be used by others to advance the possibility of human reproductive cloning." As one comment noted, "The scientists started with skin cells and an egg without genetic material. There was no sperm involved to fertilize an egg, thus no human person was formed. The eggs used were never fertilized."

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