Bishops' Flier Answers Questions on Stem Cell Research

Intended for Parishes and Catholic Groups

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WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 19, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops' conference is publishing a one-page flier in a question-and-answer format to explain Church teaching on stem cell research and human cloning.



The flier, entitled "Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning: Questions and Answers," is intended for distribution in parishes and Catholic organizations.

"Stem cell research has become a highly visible issue, but some public statements have spread more heat than light," said Cardinal William Keeler, chairman of the bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities.

"Many people fail to distinguish between different kinds of stem cell research, and that obscures the moral issue at stake," he said. "Through this resource we hope Catholics can arrive at a more informed perspective on one of the fundamental moral issues of the 21st century."

According to Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center: "To have an informed debate, people need to be aware of what the real parameters of the discussion are."

At a recent gathering of Catholic pro-life officials he listed some of them: "What is a human embryo? What is cloning? What are stem cells, and where do you get them from? And what's the price that's going to be paid if we take stem cells from certain sources like living, growing human embryos?"

The flier shows that the Catholic Church is not opposed to medical research and innovation, even in the area of stem cells. What is clearly stated, however, is the Church's opposition to the destruction of human embryos for research.

The flier -- bulletin insert No. 5-665 -- will be available Aug. 30. 100 copies cost $10. It can be ordered by calling toll free (800) 235-8722. In the Washington metropolitan area or from outside the United States, call (202) 722-8716.