- Religion and Philosophy
Stem Cell Research and the Catholic Church
To date stem cell research has provided cures for 73 different diseases and ailments. According to, StemCellResearchCures.com, such diseases have included, "Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries, [multiple] forms of leukemia, heart damage, and various forms of cancer."
To be sure, science has proven stem cells, formidable therapy in the fight against physical maladies and promising in resolving once unanswered medical inquests.
Yet, the Catholic Church insists on presenting itself as an obstacle to scientific progress and medical evolution, argue many among the scientific community.
Those who discharge such claims against The Church, however, appear to do so either out of malice or sheer ignorance as to where The Church stands on the issue.
For it must be made clear, The Church stands against embryonic stem cell research not against adult stem cell research.
On November 13 2011, for instance, Pope Benedict XVI stated: "The potential benefits of adult stem cell research are very considerable."
So considerable, in fact, according to Vatican correspondents, "...the Holy See [has] signed a deal with US biopharmaceutical company NeoStem that specializes in adult stem cells. and the Vatican has already invested $1 million (€730,000) in the company's work."
So much for hampering scientific progress or the evolution of medicine.
Furthermore, it is in the area of adult stem cell research, that cures such as the ones detailed above have taken place. While in the arena of embryonic stem cell research there is not one cure or treatment from which to boast.
In fact, even Ian Wilmut, The scientist who led the team that cloned Dolly the sheep "has urged fellow researchers to forego embryonic stem cell research -- which he says is fraught with practical problems -- and pursue more promising types of research." According to the Baptist Press, Wilmut is also concerned that embryonic stem cells "tend to lead to tumors."
While this turn of events is an element which concerns the Catholic Church, it is the fact embryonic stem cell research involves the destruction of a human life, which truly troubles her.
Embryonic stem cells, according to, The National Institutes of Health, "Are the undifferentiated cells from which all our body parts, organs, tissues, etc. originally developed. These cells are obtained by transferring the inner cell mass of the embryo into a culture dish." And this procedure can only be accomplished by destroying a living embryo.
Therefore, The Church is not opposed to stem cell research all-together, as some would have us believe, but only that form of stem cell research (embryonic) which would culminate in the deliberate end of a human life.
In fact, the church's acceptance of this scientific innovation is, otherwise, quite broad. For again, on November 13 2011 the Pope further stated, "No such ethical problems arise when stem cells are taken from the tissues of an adult organism, from the blood of the umbilical cord at the moment of birth, or from fetuses who have died of natural causes,"
Clearly, the church is not an obstacle in the ways of science and medicine only in the ways of death and disregard for human life. Ways which the medical field seems to readily embrace in today's day and age.
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