Vatican embryonic conference to address origins of life

A conference on embryonic research has been organised by the Vatican saying current bioethical debates regarding stem cells, cloning and assisted fertility often overlook what it considers the crucial origin of organisms.

Part of the Vatican's teaching and learning program, the conference will be held from 15-17 November and will involve six pontifical universities, Associated Press reported.

The program was created in 2003 to further explore the relationship between science and faith.

Philosophy dean Rafael Pascual of the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University - who are hosting the event - said the study of human life from the point of view of its individual origin acquires a particular interest in today's world.

Fr Pascual said issues such as assisted fertility, cloning, genetic manipulation and embryonic stem cell research will be covered at the conference.

The project, which is under the auspices of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, was inspired by Pope John Paul II's 1992 declaration that the church's 17th century denunciation of Galileo was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension."

The head of the Pontifical Council for Culture Monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi was asked if the Vatican would entertain scientific views that differed from its own regarding the origin of life.

He said that in research, there must always be respect paid between two sides but at the same time each side must compromise their beliefs.

Vatican to study origin, development of embryo (USA Today, 07/11/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture
Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University

Vatican condemns cloning of embryo (CathNews, 27/11/01)
Vatican states its position on embryo research (CathNews, 27/07/01)
Catholic groups reject claims of stem cells breakthrough (CathNews, 01/08/06)
Ethicist says no room for compromise on rights of human embryo (CathNews, 11/11/04)
Bishops say proposed cloning laws are contempt for life (CathNews, 11/10/06)
Vatican official identifies faith-science "areas of conflict" (CathNews, 14/02/07)
Embryo research has caused 'unheard of rupture in humanity' (CathNews, 01/08/01)

8 Nov 2007