Stem-cell research must be guided by principles, says Archbishop Chaput

.- Catholics have the right and civic obligation to carry their convictions about the sacredness of human life into the public debate, as in the case of embryonic stem-cell research, said Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver in his most recent column in the Denver Catholic Register. “Don't be bullied by claims that religious believers are ‘against science’ or ‘uninterested in cures.’ This is nonsense,” he said. “It's a smokescreen, designed to hide the motives of some of the scientific and corporate stakeholders in the stem-cell debate.

“The Church always supports scientific research that genuinely serves the human person. That includes, in a general sense, stem-cell research,” said the archbishop.

“Stem cells, harvested from adults or umbilical cords, pose no moral problems and have great value for medical research,” he clarified.

The real struggle in stem-cell research, he said, is really a narrower fight over the use of tissue from embryos and aborted unborn children.

“If we're serious about our Catholic faith, if we're really committed to a culture of life and to humanizing American society, then our approach to science should be governed by a simple and very sensible rule: The end never justifies the means,” he wrote.

“A good end, like researching a cure for Alzheimer's, can never excuse an evil act done to accomplish it, like destroying and using embryos for experiments, or colluding in the abortion industry by harvesting the remains of killed unborn children,” he continued.

“For Christians, human life from the moment of conception should always be treated as having the dignity of a child of God, and must never be treated as an object. The harvesting of cells from aborted unborn children is material cooperation in the evil of abortion itself, which always attacks and destroys a human life,” said the archbishop. “The use of cells obtained by destroying embryos is an equally direct attack on the human person.”

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