Vatican comes out against human experiments

Protecting human dignity from materialism: Technological advances require a moral response.
Protecting human dignity from materialism: Technological advances require a moral response.Courtesy irene.

Speaking to an Italian newspaper, Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti, one of the Vatican's leading experts on sin, noted that modern technology has created new moral pitfalls:

"(Within bioethics) there are areas where we absolutely must denounce some violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments and genetic manipulation whose outcome is difficult to predict and control," he said.

Some of the practices the Archbishop listed human cloning, experimenting on human subjects, and stem cell research that involves destruction of embryos.
While these statements do not rise to the level of official Church teaching, they do illustrate how people in every age must respond to the moral challenges of their times.

The Science Museum is hosting an exhibit entitled Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race which touches on similar themes of medicine, science and morality.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

bryan kennedy's picture

I wonder how the Vatican would feel about cloning of individual cells to treat diseases like Parkinson's. Scientists have recently made some progress cloning cells to help treat this very disease. The took cells from a rat's own tail, used cloning to create to grow into neurons that produced dopamine (a key to helping out a Parkinson's patient) that were then implanted in the rat's own brain. Tail --> Petri Dish --> Brain. I struggle to see the sin in that process but I do know that people take issue with this practice. Could someone help spell out the moral quandary here?

posted on Tue, 03/25/2008 - 1:38pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Well, it's true that the genetic material that helped to create those cells (dopamine-producing neurons) was taken from the patient rats themselves. But to create the necessary stem cell line, scientists inserted the DNA into a rat egg cell that had its own nucleus removed. So one egg was, in some sense, destroyed in order to create a tailor-made stem cell line that wouldn't create rejection issues when the new neurons were injected into the patient rats.

(Don't get me wrong: I'm not against this sort of experimentation. And I sincerely hope it leads to a cure.)

posted on Tue, 03/25/2008 - 2:21pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I am not an expert on this stuff, but I do know that recent Popes have talked a lot about the dignity inherent in human life. Creating multiple, identical copies of a person can be seen as a breach of that dignity. So, too, could mixing human and animal cells.

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 12:51pm
shanee's picture
shanee says:

Thats really interesting to know that a lace actually cares about the people of their city to knot do any experiements on them ...thats totally awesome!

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 9:12am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

So it's not a science question, but what qualifications does one need to be considered an expert on sin? :)

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 10:51am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Probably a lot of study at theological institutes. Reading a LOT of dreary tomes on philosophy, ethics, morality, etc.

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 12:28pm
Thor's picture
Thor says:

I don't know what the qualifcations are either, but I've met more than my share of people over the years who are experts in sin whether they realized it or not!!!

posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 2:55pm
flinch619's picture
flinch619 says:

ok ok, i get where hes comin from. God created man and we shouldnt mess with their genetic makeup or anything right? but god also created the man who came up with the technology to do such things. Some things they research are being researched to help people........gods people (according to this church guy) i respect his views but whos morals should we really govern? come on now mang worry bout cho self

p.s. im catholic


posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 8:56am
bert123's picture
bert123 says:

he does have a point and this is kind of one of those thing where you have to wonder should this type of stuff be governed? and just because its there should we do it?
IBI Call it what you want IBI

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 9:08am
Looney_Tooney's picture
Looney_Tooney says:

what is a Vatican??

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 9:22am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

The Vatican is where the Pope lives. It is an independent country -- at roughly 108 acres, the smallest in the world -- completely surrounded by the city of Rome, Italy.

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 10:03am

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