In a Pastoral Letter to be sent to all 500 Catholic parishes in Scotland this week the Bishops Conference of Scotland will urge the Government to allow a free vote in parliament on the forthcoming Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.
In the letter, written by Archbishop Mario Conti, President of the Joint Bio-ethics Committee the Bishops recognise, the "right and duty (of MP's) to vote in such issues according to conscience" and point out that many other countries have " drawn the line at human cloning" though regrettably the UK Government has not.
Quoting from a statement by the "Pontifical Academy for Life", the Bishops describe, the fusion of animal and human material resulting in hybrid embryos as a monstrous act against human dignity.
The full text of the letter is shown below together with the text of a covering note being sent to all Parish Priests in Scotland.
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
0141 221 1168
Pastoral Letter issued by Archbishop Conti, President of the Joint Bio-ethics Committee
on behalf of the Archbishops and Bishops of Scotland