Italy's Shift on Embryonic Research Assailed

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 15, 2006 ( The Vatican's semiofficial newspaper expressed concern over Italy's decision to withdraw from an ethical statement which had blocked the European Union's funding of research with human embryonic stem cells.

The Italian government's decision goes against the results of a referendum on the law of assisted insemination, held last June.

According to L'Osservatore Romano, the decision of the Italian government is "an undue intrusion in the realm of values that are not negotiable." Italy had previously adhered to the ethical declaration with France, Poland and Slovakia.

In an article today in its Italian edition, L'Osservatore Romano stated that the new government of Romano Prodi is being characterized by "decisions that systematically go in the direction of a misunderstood secularism."

This secularism arises from "the preoccupation of calming the most radical members of the majority," but "it ends by leading the country to parody grotesquely the experiences of other countries, betraying Italy's most profound identity and the very will expressed by the voters."