Vatican Condems EU Stem Cell Funds Approval genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Polispeak

Stem cell research

The Vatican issued a condemnation of Monday's approval by the European Union to continue funding stem cell research. The Associated Press has the full article here.

VATICAN CITY -- A Vatican newspaper on Tuesday condemned a decision by the European Union to continue funding embryonic human stem cell research, calling it the result of "a twisted sense of progress."

The 25-nation bloc agreed Monday in Brussels to keep up the funding through 2013, but only under new rules that prevent human cloning and destroying embryos.

Critics of the agreement have argued that the EU was splitting hairs in order to get the funding approved with minimal objection. The Times of Malta explains the subtle distinction as follows:

The German delegation accepted the final draft where a statement was included stating that the EU will not finance the destruction of human embryos.

But, at a press conference later, the Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocknik, said that although the EU will not be funding such research itself, the destruction of the embryo was an inevitable phase in the process. It is simply that the EU will not be involved in that phase.

Asked specifically whether this was not a "fudged" solution, given that such research will ultimately involve the destruction of embryos, the commissioner said smilingly: "I don't know what you want me to say".

Clearly the wording did not satisfy the Vatican's position on stem cell research. The approval will provide the funds to conduct the research on the cells once they have been harvested from IVF clinic embryos scheduled for disposal but will not fund the actual destruction of the embryos. Nonetheless, the approval is an important commitment to pursuing the promising research. The Vatican spokesman made the following comments.

Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, a top Vatican official on bioethical questions, described the EU decision as "grave" and said it authorizes "the use of human beings, on the basis of 'I kill you to get advantages for others.'"

"The macabre product of a twisted sense of progress," the newspaper's headline said.

Daniel DiRito | July 25, 2006 | 4:44 PM
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