Proponents of therapeutic cloning should cool it: Pell

Several bishops have weighed in on the heated stem cell debate with Cardinal George Pell of Sydney suggesting that proponents of therapeutic cloning "have a glass of water" and "pause for a minute."

According to The Daily Telegraph, Cardinal Pell (pictured) said that his comments were directed at those people "very emotionally involved in pushing for change."

"Let's go slowly and clearly," he said.

Dr Pell said he thought religion would play no part in the outcome of the conscience vote in Parliament and that it will be decided according to scientific knowledge and ethics reasoning.

Other bishops have also weighed in on the debate with the eventual conscience vote in Parliament expected to replicate February's emotional free vote on the abortion drug RU486.

In an article for next month's Parramatta diocesan paper Catholic Outlook featured today on CathNews, Bishop Kevin Manning says that he expects proponents of embryonic stem research will try to dismiss the Catholic view rather than offer answers to tough ethical questions.

"I don't doubt that the media and proponents of the embryonic stem cell argument will try to ridicule the Catholic input as outdated moral platitudes versus genuine human need; archaic religion versus progressive science; Christian ethicists against suffering celebrities; religious fundamentalists versus science and enlightenment," he predicts.

Next door to Parramatta, Sydney diocese's Bishop Anthony Fisher, who is Episcopal Vicar for Life and Health, told the Catholic Weekly that the creation of human beings by IVF and cloning for the purpose of destructive research are practices which are "abhorrent morally and of no proven value scientifically".

"Nothing has changed either ethically or scientifically to justify human cloning or the creation by other means of human beings destined for destruction."

Referring to the Report of the Lockhart Committee, Bishop Fisher said that "this committee excluded specifically ethical concerns from its consideration and recommended lifting most ethical or legislative constraints in this area.

"This report recommended the legalisation of the production (in certain circumstances) of cloned human beings, animal-human crosses, human embryos with multiple human parents or only one and IVF embryos created for the specific purpose of destructive experimentation.

"All these practices would be abhorrent to most Australians who understood them," he added.

Meanwhile, Salesian ethicist Fr Norman Ford writing in Eureka Street again emphasised that "there are ethical alternatives to embryo destructive research."

"There are many possibilities of finding or developing stem cells of wide potentiality without involving embryo destruction."

Cloning morally abhorrent - bishop (Catholic Weekly, 27/8/06)
Pell seeks stem cell calm (Daily Telegraph, 24/8/06)
Use of embryonic stem cells unethical and unnecessary (Catholic Outlook, 24/8/06)
Abbott imposing 'theological conceit (Daily Telegraph, 24/8/06) )
Ethical alternatives to research that destroys embryos (Eureka Street, 24/8/06)
Stem cell find may shift debate (Sydney Morning Herald, 25/8/06)

Catholic groups reject claims of stem cells breakthrough (CathNews, 24/8/06)
Poll shows Australians against cloning, Campion Director says (CathNews, 22/8/06)
Abbott lashes "evangelical" stem cell scientists (CathNews, 21/8/06)
Catholic parliamentarians in firing line again over stem cells (CathNews, 16/8/06)
Catholic union official compares therapeutic cloning to Nazi experiments (CathNews, 4/8/06)
Premiers face stem cell backlash as Hart criticises debate (CathNews, 24/7/06)
Catholics divided over stem cells (CathNews, 14/7/06)
Don't lift ban on cloning, says Brennan (CathNews, 23/6/06)
RU486 decision a bitter pill (CathNews, 17/2/06)
Pell says Australia changing its mind on abortion (CathNews, 15/2/06)
Catholic groups decry Senate vote (CathNews, 10/2/06)
Catholic and Evangelical students join Muslims in RU-486 fight (CathNews, 9/2/06)
Abbott says attacks are sectarian (CathNews, 9/2/06)
Bishop Fisher says RU406 won't curb abortions (CathNews, 7/2/06)
Catholic GPs ready to quit over RU-486 (CathNews, 3/2/06)
Life Office criticises advertiser's gag on abortion debate (CathNews, 1/2/06)
Churches lead RU406 protest (CathNews, 30/1/06)
Day of action to fight abortion drug move (CathNews, 27/1/06)
Melbourne Archbishop says maintain abortion drug ban (CathNews, 25/1/06)
Pope says 'no' to gay marriage, abortion pill (CathNews, 13/1/06)
Catholic Health to address abortion pill inquiry (CathNews, 15/12/05)

Either way, Abbott will lose (The Age, 25/8/06)
The cloning debate has already been had (The Australian, 25/8/06)

25 Aug 2006