12 December 2008
Cardinal O'Brien welcomes publication of Vatican document on human life.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien has welcomed the publication earlier today of the
Vatican document "Dignitas Personae" on the subject of biomedical research.
The document prepared by the 'Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith'
(CDF) and approved by Pope Benedict XVI, was launched at a press conference
in Rome earlier today. Speaking after the launch, Cardinal O'Brien said;
"I welcome this unambiguous teaching document which affirms the church's
view that human beings are entitled to dignity and respect from the moment
of conception and posses an absolute right to life. Sadly, in the course of
recent years such universal and fundamental rights have been utterly
destroyed in the UK most recently by the passing of the Human Fertilisation
and Embryology Act. As well as defending human life, this document also
welcomes and endorses scientific research, making it clear that such work
must be ethical and effective. I would urge any Catholic working in these
fields to examine their conscience very carefully in the light of this
informed and explicit teaching. Ultimately such individuals must ask
themselves if their work is compatible with their faith."
Cardinal O'Brien added;
"The United Kingdom has a shameful and scandalous record in the field of
bioethics with no meaningful ethical oversight whatsoever and nothing but a
string of expensive failures to show for decades of "anything goes" science.
It is worth remembering that over the last 18 years, the HFEA has never
refused a license for preimplantation diagnosis or embryo experimentation
and has never turned down any application to use human embryos. It has no
members who hold the embryo to be inviolable. Meanwhile overblown promises
of future success constantly manipulate the emotions of those suffering
terrible illnesses. The example of 'Dolly' the sheep is instructive, born in
1997 it's birth followed hundreds of grotesquely deformed earlier attempts,
it died prematurely and the company behind its creation went out of business.
Yet the hype and superficial coverage surrounding that event suggested it
was some kind of success story!"
Cardinal O'Brien concluded;
"I hope that the clarity of thinking shown in "Dignitas Personae" will
inform debate here in the UK and encourage biomedical research which is
ethical and successful such as that using adult stem cells. Since the
passing of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act in October, the UK
(uniquely in the Western world) now allows experimentation on human embryos,
human cloning, and the creation of part-human part-animal embryos. It even
allows for tissue to be removed from individuals without their consent. We
have set many nightmarish precedents in this country, I hope that as
understating of the dignity of human life at every stage grows we will
create a new culture of life in this country, where the deliberate
destruction of human life is not licensed by the state and paid for by the
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
0141 221 1168