.- The public has the misconception that the Catholic Church and pro-life political candidates oppose all types of stem cell research, says Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia.
And the misconception is worsened by the ads that fail to distinguish between embryonic and adult stem-cell research, he added.
Fr. Pacholczyk addressed this misunderstanding in a talk he gave recently, entitled "Cutting Through the Spin of Stem Cells and Cloning", reported Lifenews.com.
The priest said it is incorrect to make the blanket statement that the Church is against stem-cell research. Instead, it is important to clarify that the Church is only against embryonic stem-cell research, which requires the embryo—new human life—to be killed for research.
The Church, he stated, supports adult stem-cell research. The more recent research that uses stem cells from umbilical cords is also deemed acceptable since no life is killed in the process.
Pacholczyk reportedly showed a video of late actor Christopher Reeve, saying that embryonic stem-cell research has the potential to cure 100 million diseases.
"We have to cut through that number to get to the truth,” he was quoted as saying. “We have to discern between truth and the hype."
He said the possibilities of embryonic stem-cell research has been exaggerated, and the adult stem-cell research, which is already curing diseases, has been undersold.
The priest concluded by encouraging Catholics to be more involved in the public debate on stem-cell research.