“For the first time, taxpayer money will be used to kill human beings in the embryonic state in order to harvest stem cells,” wrote the Osservatore Romano newspaper, which underlined how this is the result of new guidelines “after President Barack Obama overturned a decision by the Bush administration banning publically funded stem cell research”.
The Vatican newspaper cited the website of the Episcopal Conference of the United States which said “this is a new chapter in the division between biomedical research and its necessary ethical basis, the respect for human life at all stages.” “Although an embryo risks being abandoned by its parents in a fertility clinic, this does not authorize the government and researchers to kill a human being, much less give them the right to force us to finance this destructive project,” pointed out the website cited by the Observer, which also underlined the progress by researchers with non-embryonic stem cells.
According to the American bishops, embryonic stem cells have been given lots of attention, but in reality adult cells are more important for research. The Observer also cited the Archbishop of Denver, Monsignor Charles Joseph Chaput, who said “religious convictions must play an important role in public debate” and “the United States must remain faithful to its founding principles”.
The Archbishop of Denver told the Osservatore that “public life in America cannot function if we keep our religious beliefs in the closet. America does not need to be a Christian country, but it cannot survive if it is not open to acceptance, solidarity, and faith”. Monsignor Chaput also told the Osservatore about his “perplexity regarding US President Barack Obama’s inaugural address where he spoke about the role of science in society.
Science,” he concluded, “must serve human dignity, and can never be above or beyond God’s moral judgment. Jews, Protestants, Catholics, and other religions have something precious to protect: faith in God, and we must defend it with reciprocal respect and without alibis, excuses, or conflicts”. The Osservatore also spoke about the outcry against Obama at Notre Dame due to an honorary degree he received at the catholic university, which “was expected”. “But from the podium, set up in the basketball arena, the president asked Americans of all religions and ideologies to ‘take part in a common effort’ to reduce the number of abortions”.
“Search for a common ground is what seems to be the path chosen by the President of the United States to face the delicate issue of abortion,” reported the Vatican newspaper. “Aside from the heated debates during the electoral campaign, Obama confirmed what he said at his 100 days press conference, when he said that passing abortion legislation is not a priority of his administration.”