The Catholic Letter

"NEW" Embryonic Stem Cell Method Might Split Supporters?

Not For The Catholics!

A report in MSN Slate Magazine (   ) announced that some recent experiments gave scientists the ability to extract embryonic stem cells without killing the embryo. It then posed the question “ Has the report changed any minds”.

For non-Christians, it might. But the Christian objection to embryonic stem cell research isn’t entirely based on the right to life issue. And it’s not (as many people presume) based on the objection to ‘fiddling with the power of God’. There’s a much deeper stance behind it.

For a Christian, the rules and creeds we follow aren’t just a standard list of do’s and don’ts. They’re a way of life, and sometimes new technologies present undefined theological questions. The Christian reacts to this from a gut instinct because the real Christian doesn’t need a list to understand that something is wrong.

For example, the evil of abortion is obvious because it violates the sanctity of life …but the whole question of abortion isn’t just one of murder. And taking away the label ‘murder’ doesn’t make it any more acceptable to the real Christian. Because abortions is more than murder. It’s a person running from responsibility. It’s a person enjoying pleasure without accepting the natural result. It’s a person hiding from some kind of violent or painful event. It’s a person not accepting a gift from God.

I could go on, and abortion is always one or all of these. So even if the embryo were not a living soul, abortion would still be labeled as ‘sin’ by healthy Christians. And so is embryonic stem cell research.

More than questioning whether or not a scientist could extract stem cells and keep an embryo alive, someone might ask how many embryos the scientist murdered while trying. Or perhaps how much danger the embryo is in during the process. Or even why scientists insist on creating embryos for the purpose of testing at all. God gave us a perfectly natural way to produce new life. On top of that, He made it enjoyable.

So man started by keeping the conceptions from interfering with the pleasure. And now we’re trying to keep the pleasure from interfering with the conceptions. In this process, God’s entire plan was lost.

Catholics don’t just object because it’s unnatural. Catholics object because it’s not practical. Our understanding of science and medicine isn’t simply one of discovery, but one of solutions. We see it as a way to increase the quality of life. But this isn’t so with modern science. Where as a certain number of embryos die because of miscarriage, now millions die because of in-vitro fertilization. And where scientists were once limited by what was moral, they’re now limited by a lack of direction.