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Vatican angered by US stem cells decision

PRESIDENT Obama’s decision this week to reverse George W Bush’s 2001 veto on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research has, predictably, drawn fire from the Vatican.

Monsignor Rino Fisichella, described as a “top Vatican official for bioethics” in this report yesterday slammed Obama’s decision to fund broader research into stem cells.

Monsignor Rinio Fisichella

Monsignor Rino Fisichella

He said Obama’s executive order was a “victory of politics over ethics” and suggested the US administration was looking out for the interests of drug companies.

Fisichella, who heads the Pontifical Academy for Life, was quoted by Italy’s ANSA news agency as saying that “some drug companies, or some economic interests” influenced the decision.

Scientists hope to use embryonic stem cells to regenerate diseased cells in those suffering a variety of fatal or debilitating diseases. Former President Bush had limited the use of taxpayer money allowed for the research, saying it required the destruction of embryos and was therefore morally wrong.

On Monday, Obama said he was ending what he believed was “a false choice between sound science and moral values,” adding that the research shows great potential and that “with proper guidelines and strict oversight, the perils can be avoided.

The US Bishops’ Conference has also criticised the move and the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano newspaper ran an article reiterating the Catholic Church’s position, which holds that embryos must be considered human beings.

The article said that protecting embryos should be:

The basis of a real democracy, capable of recognizing the equality of all men and of avoiding any unjust discrimination based on their development or health.

Commenting on Obama’s decision, the Guardian said yesterday:

Mr Obama has made few more important changes than this in his seven weeks in the White House. With one mighty bound, the United States has rejoined the 21st century.

Yesterday’s decision is good news for American science and thus, because of the reach of American research and American businesses, good news for the world too. US foundations and states including California are already heavily invested in cutting-edge stem cell research in the United States and elsewhere. Results are already on the threshold of spectacular in stem cell research affecting spinal and eye conditions. The glittering prizes of cures for Parkinson’s and cancer remain further off. But there is no question that the deployment of federal funds, especially in this economic climate, is a lantern of hope for the suffering of millions in every nation on the planet.

21 responses to “Vatican angered by US stem cells decision”

  1. Serai says:

    More idiocy from the Catholic church, where do they suppose these embryos were going to end up if not used for research? If we listened to these morons we’d be dragged back into the dark ages, which would probably suit them as people would then be forced turn to prayer for healing instead of sound medical science.

  2. newspaniard says:

    I wouldn’t mind betting that the occupiers of the Vatican have the best health care in the World with all the latest technology on call. Are their holinesses(essessess) going turn down any benefits accrued from these researches? I don’t think so. Think of all the mad mullahs queueing up for medical treatment from the “Hated” West.

  3. LD says:

    Not just the Vatican, newspaniard.

    Take Cardinal Keith O’Brien, for example. He hates almost everyone and everything: abortion, condoms, homosexuals, embryo research, stem cell research. He even described scientific research as having “Frankenstein proportions”.

    But… there is one bit of medical progress that he didn’t object to. Pacemakers. Having some electronic circuitry implanted is quite different to “Frankenstein” science.

    Now boys and girls, can you guess why he thinks pacemakers are OK? That’s right – he had one fitted to postpone that trip to heaven.

    Stem cells and embryos will be fine too – just as soon as Cardinal Keith needs another scientific wonder.

  4. Wurble says:

    Ive written this before elsewhere but I think its worth repeating. The vatican likes to condemn medical research up until the point that the benefits to mankind become beyond dispute ( and they know they will be ridiculed for denying them ), then they tell us to thank our heavenly father for this wonderful cure he has sent us. Hypocritical bastards!

  5. So, in the last few weeks we’ve learned that the Catholic Church opposes medical research and saving the lives of raped 9 year olds, but is just fine with denying the Holocaust and raping said 9 year olds.

    I think someone needs to send Ratzy a dictionary with “moral” highlighted.

  6. Rozi says:

    Just wait till the Pope gets Parkinsons. I doubt there’ll be as much bleating against scientific progress then.

  7. quedula says:

    “Vatican angered by US Stem Cell Decision”?

    Well, that’s all right then.

  8. Stuart W says:

    I shudder to think at what stage medical progress would still be at today if the spiritual had had their way over the centuries. Even things like penicilin and treatment for the common cold required a belief in evolution as a starting point.

  9. Alun says:

    Anti-science left footers again.

    I’m glad all they can do is hurl abuse from the sidelines. Most of the world couldn’t give a tuppennyfuck what the ole’ paeds “think” anyway.

    I bet Ratzi thought Josef Mengele was a right-on dude during WWII. That’s his kind of science. Perhaps he’s a boy from Brazil.

  10. Dr William Harwood says:

    So Ratzinazi hates Barack Obama for the same reason Al Capone hated Elliot Ness. So what else is new?

  11. Alun says:

    Another reason for for R(N)atzi to hate Obama is that he’s black. In his ideology, doesn’t that make him “Untermensch” like the Russians?

  12. Helvetica says:

    Surprise, surprise, the Vatican is against stem cell research, so is the Southern Baptist Convention (interesting company, no?). Thankfully, not all religious leaders are living in the dark ages, although some members of congress definitely are. This video has some more content from the flurry of reactions throughout the news media. The best is the juxtaposition of views from Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a United Church of Christ minister and a professor at Chicago Theological Seminary and Republican Congressman Chris Smith.
    http://www.newsy.com/videos/stem_cell_funding_ban_lifted/

  13. Dr William Harwood says:

    for a response to the Vatican’s demand that fairy tales be taught in science classes, see
    http://www.michaelshermer.com:80/2007/07/god-is-only-a-theory/

  14. Stonyground says:

    Wurble. The Catholic Church opposed vaccination at first but caved in when Catholics were dying like flies from smallpox while protestant were immune.

    Newspaniard. Mother Theresa was famous for checking into expensive private hospitals while offering tenth rate medical care to anyone desperate enough to go to one of her clinics for help.

  15. Dr William Harwood says:

    If God, being omniscient and therefore unable to plead ignorance, bestowed the office of Head Catholic on the most evil and insane head of state since Adolf Hitler, does it not follow that God is insane and evil? But anyone who has read a bible with his brain in gear already knows that.

  16. Threefinker says:

    Dr Harwood;
    May I point out a flaw in your reasoning?
    -The very fact that it is reasoning!

    To borrow a quote from House;

    “If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.”

  17. Buffy says:

    Does that mean they’ll not be partaking of any benefits that come of the research? It would be lovely if they decided to refuse for themselves any medical advances (cures for diseases and the like) because it offended their “deeply held religious beliefs”. Let them for once actually stand for what they claim to believe in rather than merely trying to control others and impede progress.

  18. valdemar says:

    Buffy, you’re right. People who object to this or that line in medical research never (to my knowledge) reject the benefits that spring from it. Which is rather like a vegan accepting a cheeseburger when they feel a bit peckish.

  19. Mike says:

    Wait, the Vatican is talking about

    recognizing the equality of all men?

  20. Godless not gormless says:

    Monsignor Rino Fisichella, described as a “top Vatican official for bioethics”

    I guess any of them could have been the top official for Bioethics as all they have to know is to say “we object to this because it is immoral”. They’re never likely to try to make a scientific argument, but giving this numpty a title like Top Official for Bioethics makes it sound like he actually knows a thing or two about it.

  21. Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth says:

    Folks, this is why we must mock religion! We must scoourge it. Arguments for the supernatural have no foundation and we must show that more fervently. We new atheists – mean business!
    Arthur Caplan, Paul Kurtz and Peter Singer know bio-ethics. Let us see to it that the media call upon them more often.
    These perverted Catholic spokemen – idiots alright1
    Christinsanity, Moses’s Folly, Mohammed’s Lunacy, the Hindu Illusion, Buddha’s Wrong Path,Shinto Hooliganism, the Dao No Way, Mary’s Christian Nescience, White’s Black Magic, Smith’s Fraud, Nescientology, Jehovah’s Hallucinators- all blashpeme reason!
    [nescience- ignorance]
    Under the names griggs1947, esceptico griggsy, sceptique griggsy, naturalistgriggsy, rationalist griggsy and skeptic griggsy, I affirm naturalism across the globe, showing up the superstition of religion.
    Selah.
    Logic is the bane of theists. Religion is mythinformation. Reason saves, not that dead Galilean fanatic cult leader!
    Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism. He might be wrong!
    Good will and blessings to all! Check out the troll Ferengi@ Amazon religious discussions.
    Farvel.