Church Decries Plan for Human-Animal Hybrid
Bishop Sgreccia Says British Decision Offends Dignity
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2007 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican official lamented a British government decision to drop its opposition to forming hybrid animal-human embryos for stem cell research.
Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said Thursday's decision to reject a proposed ban on the process is offensive to human dignity.
"The creation of a hybrid animal-human embryo has been banned by everyone in the biotechnology field, until now -- and not just by religious groups," Bishop Sgreccia said. "This is because human dignity is compromised and offended and monstrosities will be created from these inseminations.
"It is true that these embryos are suppressed and the cells taken out, but the creation of an animal-human being represents a natural border that has been violated, the most grave of violations."
In an interview with Vatican Radio, he called for a complete moral condemnation of the practice, "in the name of reason and in the name of justice and science, which must be maintained for the well being of the person and respect for human nature."
Bishop Sgreccia said he hopes that the international scientific community continues to hold the line, to defend "the conservation and respect of the species."
"The human individual has not been respected because embryos are destroyed and sacrificed in many ways, as in the case of these artificial inseminations," the 78-year-old bishop said. "But the line between the species had always been respected. Now, this barrier too has been broken and the consequences have not been calculated.
"The fact is that there was no reason to do this. If they are looking for stem cells in order to cure Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, there is no need to create a hybrid animal-human embryo, because there are adult stem cells, and stem cells in umbilical cords and those in the adult male to be able to battle these frontiers in faith."
"The scientist who is only worried about advancing his research does not take into consideration the anthropological and philosophical factors, like respect for nature and the natural order.
"There is a thirst for knowledge that must be maintained inside certain limits, a thirst to experiment that can upset the moral sense of the one carrying out the experiments, if he is not controlled by a sense of balance and human reason."