.- On Friday, Pope Benedict XVI met at Castel Gandolfo with representatives of the International Congress on stem cells and called for research in which scientific, technological, and ethical knowledge are combined in respect for the human person at all stages of life.
The Pope began his discourse by saying, “When science is applied for the alleviating of suffering and when, in this sense, it discovers new resources, it proves itself to be twice as rich for humanity: for the effort of ingenuity invested in the research and for the benefit made known to those who are afflicted with disease.”
“Progress,” he said, “can only be truly such if it serves the person and if the person himself grows; and not only in his technical capacities but in his moral as well.”
Referring the theme of the Congress, which focused on the future of stem cell research, the Pope noted that “research with somatic stem cells merits approval and encouragement when it properly combines scientific knowledge, the most advanced technology in the field of biology, and ethics that stipulate respect for the human being in every stage of development of his existence.”
After underscoring the importance of such research, as well as the fruit it has born in recent times, the Pontiff also reiterated, “In the face of the frequent and unjust accusations of insensitivity directed against the Church, I would like to underline the constant support she has given over the course of her two thousand-year history to research aimed at the cure of illnesses and at the good of humanity.
If there has been - and there still is - resistance, it was and is against those forms of research that involve the planned suppression of human beings who are already alive, though they may not yet have been born," the Pope said.
Such research, he continued, “leaving aside the results that may be of therapeutic usefulness, is not truly at the service of humanity. It occurs through the suppression of human lives that have equal dignity with respect to other individual humans and the researchers themselves.”
“History itself,” he added, “has condemned such science in the past and will condemn it in the future, not only because it is devoid of the light of God, but also because it is devoid of humanity.”
Continuing on his discourse, the Holy Father reaffirmed that "In the face of the direct suppression of human beings, there can be no compromise or prevarication; it is inconceivable for a society to fight crime effectively when it itself legalizes crime in the field of nascent life."
Recalling that the Congress emphasized that therapeutic benefits have been obtained from adult stem cells without having to resort to the destruction of embryos, the Pope noted that such a fact constitutes “a confirmation of the validity of the Church’s constant invitation to full respect of the human person from the moment of conception.”
Various experts from around the world attended the Congress organized by the Pontifical Academy of Life, including Msgr. Elio Sgreccia, president of the Academy, and Professors Gianluigi Gigli and Simon de Castellvi of the International Federation of Associations of Catholic Doctors.