Monday 21 January 2008
In a strongly worded homily preached yesterday at St Mirin's Cathedral in
paisley, Bishop Philip Tartaglia described the current " Human Fertilisation
and Embryology Bill" as a " state-sponsored attack on unborn human life".
The Bishops' homily coincided with the distribution of a national pastoral
letter from all Scotland's Bishops to the Catholic community warning of the
dangers of the legislation: http://www.scmo.org/_titles/view.asp?id=537
The move to allow the creation of human-animal embryos is described by
Archbishop Tartaglia as a " twisted enterprise" and he repeats the cal that MP's
should "be able to vote according to their consciences".
The full text of the homily is shown below
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2nd Sunday of the Year
20 January 2008
"In the fullness of time, the eternal Father sent his co-eternal Son to
become incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary through the power of the
Holy Spirit. Jesus fulfils in himself the words of the prophet today
concerning the Servant of God who would come to save his people from their
sins through his own suffering, And now the Lord has spoken, he who formed
me in the womb to be his servant. Even in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the
unborn Jesus was known by God as his Son. Even in the womb we are all known
and loved by God as distinct human individuals.
It seems that hardly a year passes that the bishops need to bring before you
yet another state-sponsored attack on unborn human life. It almost seems
that the powers of evil are never done fomenting the culture of death among
hapless human beings by attacking the innocent unborn or the weak terminally
ill with the great lie that these lives have no value at all or only have
the value that powerful men and women are prepared to concede them.
The latest twisted enterprise is legislation soon to be presented by the
Government at Westminster which would allow the creation of human-animal
embryos. You should know that such procedures are banned in other countries.
They have rightly been described by the President of the Pontifical Academy
for Life as a monstrous act against human dignity , and I am sure that that
is the instinctive reaction of our moral reason.
It will not surprise you to know that this experimentation is backed by
commercial interests who see in it the potential for profit. However it does
not have to be this way. The scientific community is increasingly
appreciating that the use of adult stem cells is both ethically and
practically a better solution than creating human or hybrid embryos. In fact
adult stem cells have been successful in treating 73 conditions which weaken
human beings. Embryonic stem cells have so far proved clinically useless and
are used to treat no conditions, illnesses or pathologies. This suggests
strongly that the way to go is not in harvesting embryonic human or hybrid
stem cells, but in the clinical use of adult stem cells.
All this is widely known in the scientific and political community. For that
reason, the bishops have called for MPs not to have to tow the party line in
the forthcoming vote on this matter, but to be able to vote according to
their consciences. Democracy is not democracy when it is manipulated by
vested interests. Democracy only works when there is freedom of spirit and
freedom of conscience.
The position of the Church in this matter is not anti-science. Science
contributes greatly to making the world and mankind more human. But science
can also destroy mankind and the world if it is not directed by a higher
wisdom and by well-informed conscientious decisions of men and women of good
will and of good faith.
In today s Gospel, John the Baptist declares Jesus to be the Lamb of God who
comes to take away the sins of the world. He is the one on whom the Spirit
rests. John testifies and gives witness that Jesus is the Chosen One of God.
In his name, I ask you to support any initiative which brings before our
MP s the sacredness of unborn human life and the moral repugnance and
practical futility of creating human-animal hybrid embryos for the purposes
St. Mirin s Cathedral
20th January 2008