When I read Archbishop Denis Hart’s Press Release on Human Cloning yesterday, I thought, I should blog on that. Little did I expect that Barney Zwartz would beat me to it, and give His Grace’s objection front page headlines in “The Age”. By doing so, His Grace has “trumped” His Holiness, whose Apostolic Exhoration on the Eucharist “Sacramentum Caritatis” only made page 7.
Archbishop Denis’ statement is a model for the way in which Catholic moral teaching must engage the political debates of our day. As he says in his statement, the Church’s objections are not simply based on what politicians and journalists might call “religious arguments”–except in so far as they are arguments argued by a religious body. Rather they are “based on good ethics”, which in turn are based on the natural law:
- Therapeutic cloning is an assault upon the dignity of the human person in its most vulnerable and earliest moments of existence.
- Alleviating the suffering of some people by creating and then destroying human life is always totally unethical.
- It creates two types of human life: those destined for life and those destined for death. Protection of human life cannot permit this.
- The science of therapeutic cloning to help those suffering certain illnesses has not produced the results intended. The Catholic Church is a strong supporter of research based on adult stem cells, as well as those derived from umbilical cord blood. Our Catholic healthcare research institutes support this ethical stem cell research.
Without doubt, the Archbishop will have a fight on his hands. But from the high profile his statement was given in today’s paper, it looks like the journalists at least are saying “Bring it on!”