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Religious leaders denounce human cloning

The Washington Times carries an Associated Press report that the Vatican joined leading Muslim clerics and Jewish rabbis yesterday in denouncing as immoral, "brutal" and unnatural the claim that a cloned baby had been born.

The reaction came a day after a cloning company whose leader believes space aliens created life on Earth announced that a baby girl, nicknamed Eve by doctors, had been born and was a clone of her mother.

Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls in a statement noted that the announcement came with no scientific proof, and that it "has already given rise to the skepticism and moral condemnation of a great part of the international scientific community."

"But already, the announcement in itself is an expression of a brutal mentality, devoid of any ethical and human consideration," the statement said.

The Vatican has condemned any cloning of human embryos, saying the destruction of extra embryos in the process can in no way justify the procedure. Vatican teaching holds that life begins at conception.

Pope John Paul II himself has criticized any scientific experiment that threatens the dignity of a human life, including using human embryos for stem-cell research.

Other media also report widespread outrage around the world (see links below)

AP/Washington Times
Deutsche Welle: "German religious leaders, scientists condemn 'Frankenstein' clone doctors"
VOA: "Vatican: Cloned Baby Claim Comes From 'Brutal' Mentality"
USA Today: "Vatican joins religious critics of cloning claim"
Times Online: "Briefing: Cult's cloning claim is implausible"

30 Dec 2002