Cardinal Justin Rigali has commended President George Bush for vetoing S. 5, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.
Cardinal Rigali is archbishop of Philadelphia and chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The cardinal also welcomed the president’s executive order directing the National Institutes of Health to explore alternative, ethically acceptable means for obtaining very versatile or ‘pluripotent’ stem cells.
“Recent discoveries regarding stem cells from cord blood and amniotic fluid, and the reprogramming of ordinary adult cells to become pluripotent stem cells, demonstrate that science not only raises new ethical questions but at times can help address them,” said the cardinal in his statement.
He noted that adult stem cells continue to produce new clinical advances on a regular basis, most recently showing benefits for patients with juvenile diabetes.
“Tragically, some embryonic stem cell advocates in Congress have dismissed such advances or even greeted them with suspicion, as though medical progress were less genuine or praiseworthy when it respects early human life,” he continued.
The cardinal urged them to follow the president’s lead on this issue, “by promoting research and therapies that everyone can live with.”
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver added his voice in a separate statement. Calling the veto “the right decision”, he said the Catholic Church supports scientific research that genuinely serves the human person, including stem-cell research that poses no moral problems.