As the Vatican’s much-anticipated International Congress on “the human embryo prior to implantation” begins today, Pope Benedict XVI met with delegates, to whom he stressed the importance of the divine reality of God, shining forth through even the simplest and smallest human being, namely, the embryo.
The General assembly, being held today and tomorrow at the Vatican, is being hosted by the Pontifical Academy for Life.
The Pope called the Congress theme "fascinating, but difficult and arduous given the delicate nature of the subject being examined and the complexity of epistemological problems concerning the relationship" between experimental scientific data and reflection on anthropological values.
He went on to reference scripture, which "expresses the love of God towards all human beings even before they take form in the mother's womb," adding that "The love of God does not distinguish between the newly-conceived infant still in its mother's womb, the baby, the youth, the grown adult or the elderly.”
In each of these, Benedict stressed, “He sees the sign of His own image and likeness."
The Pope explained that "This limitless and almost incomprehensible love of God for man reveals to what point human beings are worthy of love in themselves, regardless of any other consideration, be it intelligence, beauty, health, youth, integrity and so on. Human life is a good thing, always and definitively."
He also pointed out that "in man, in all men and women, whatever their stage or condition of life, there shines a reflection of God's own reality.”
“For this reason,” he said that “the Magisterium of the Church has constantly proclaimed the sacred and inviolable nature of each human life, from conception to natural end” adding that “This moral judgment also holds at the beginning of an embryo's life, even before it is implanted in the mother's womb."
The Pope closed his brief address by touching on the origins of life itself, calling this "a mystery which science will be able to illuminate ever more clearly, though with difficulty will it decipher it altogether."
He said that "those who love truth must be aware that research into such profound themes puts us in the position of seeing and almost touching the hand of God.”
“Beyond the limits of experimental methods, at the confines of the area that some call meta-analysis, where sensorial perception and scientific tests are neither enough or even possible,” the Pope concluded, “that is where the adventure of transcendence begins."