Cardinal Ratzinger: Cloning More Dangerous Than Arms of Mass Destruction

Warns About Positivist Approach to Human Rights

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ROME, OCT. 27, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Human cloning is more dangerous than weapons of mass destruction, warns Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.



"Man is capable of producing another man in the laboratory who, therefore, is no longer a gift of God or of nature. He can be fabricated and, just as he can be fabricated, he can be destroyed," said the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Therefore, if this is man's power, then "he is becoming a more dangerous threat than weapons of mass destruction," he added.

The cardinal made these statements Monday during a debate with Ernesto Galli della Loggia, a professor of history of political doctrines and writer for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The cardinal expressed severe judgments on the secularism rising in the European Union, adding that "pure positivism of human rights is perhaps sufficient for a Constitution but it is not so for our cultural debate."

He assailed it as a positivism that leads to relativism. And, if the latter "becomes absolute, it becomes self-contradictory and destroys human action," the cardinal said.

He continued: "It has been said that the European Constitution could not mention the Judeo-Christian roots so as not to offend Islam. But what offends Islam is contempt for God, the arrogance of reason that causes fundamentalism."

Europe is the continent of lights, of the force of reason, "and it is a gift that must be defended. But secularists should also be able to accept the spinal cord of their own flesh," the Vatican official said.

Cardinal Ratzinger distinguished between secularism and reason: "Secularism is a partial ideology, which cannot respond to the decisive challenges of man. Suffice it to think of the damages caused by Communism or by the eradication of the moral fabric of ancestors in African nations, victims of war and AIDS."

And "reason is not an enemy of faith -- on the contrary. The problem is when there is contempt for God and for the sacred," he stressed.

Reflecting on freedom, Cardinal Ratzinger said that today it is understood in an individualist sense, while "man is created to coexist. There is a shared freedom that guarantees freedom to all against its being absolutized."

Galli della Loggia shared the cardinal's concern over the direction Europe is taking. According to the historian, Europe's lack of attention to its Christian roots stems from a "hostility to Catholicism."

In regard to shared freedom, Galli della Loggia emphasized that "it cannot remain in a freedom delimited only by 'neminem laedere' [not harm the other]; rather, in public discourse what is needed is a tension to truth, a debate on things, on what is true and just which does not necessarily mean that one must adopt as law one of the opinions under discussion."

The meeting was organized by the Center for Political Orientation, founded in 1999 at the initiative of Gaetano Rebecchini, an adviser to Vatican City State.

The center aims to stimulate reflection and cultural thought on contemporary topics: ethics and democracy, communication and globalization, multi-culture and Christian identity, democracy and market, the process of European unification and relations with the United States.