The U.S. Catholic bishops at their upcoming semi-annual spring meeting in Orlando, Florida could issue their first formal statement exclusively dedicated to embryonic stem cell research.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been prominent in the debate over embryonic stem cell research for many years. Conference officials have contributed to the discussion by offering public statements and testimony on the issue to Congress. Individual bishops and state bishops’ conferences have also been involved in speaking about the issue, often in reference to state legislation and ballot initiatives. The Catholic position against destroying human embryos in research was also stated in the November 2007 document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.”
In the proposed statement on embryonic stem cell research, the bishops insist that researchers are not ethically justified in destroying human embryos to produce stem cells for research. The statement also responds to several popular arguments justifying such research and explains possible negative consequences of the research.
The statement must be approved by two-thirds of USCCB members.The June 12-14 meeting’s agenda will include a presentation on the recent Pew U.S. Religious Landscape Survey and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate’s report on sacramental belief and practice among U.S. Catholics. Other agenda items include the discussion of a new translation of the Proper of the Seasons of the Roman Missal and a progress report on a study of clerical sexual abuse.