VIS REPORTS: SAVING ONE LIFE CANNOT JUSTIFY DESTROYING ANOTHER
VATICAN CITY, 12 NOV 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received a group of 250 participants in an international conference entitled "Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture", promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture in collaboration with the U.S. Stem for Life Foundation. The three-day meeting examined the use of adult stem cells in medicine, both from the perspective of science, and from that of its cultural, ethical and anthropological implications. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
Extracts of Benedict XVI's English-language remarks are given below:
"Since human beings are endowed with immortal souls and are created in the image and likeness of God, there are dimensions of human existence that lie beyond the limits of what the natural sciences are competent to determine. If these limits are transgressed, there is a serious risk that the unique dignity and inviolability of human life could be subordinated to purely utilitarian considerations. But if instead these limits are duly respected, science can make a truly remarkable contribution to promoting and safeguarding the dignity of man".
"In this sense, the potential benefits of adult stem cell research are very considerable, since it opens up possibilities for healing chronic degenerative illnesses by repairing damaged tissue. ... The improvement that such therapies promise would constitute a significant step forward in medical science, bringing fresh hope to sufferers and their families alike. For this reason, the Church naturally offers her encouragement to those who are engaged in conducting and supporting research of this kind, always with the proviso that it be carried out with due regard for the integral good of the human person and the common good of society.
"This proviso is most important. The pragmatic mentality that so often influences decision-making in the world today is all too ready to sanction whatever means are available in order to attain the desired end, despite ample evidence of the disastrous consequences of such thinking. When the end in view is one so eminently desirable as the discovery of a cure for degenerative illnesses, it is tempting for scientists and policy-makers to brush aside ethical objections and to press ahead with whatever research seems to offer the prospect of a breakthrough. Those who advocate research on embryonic stem cells in the hope of achieving such a result make the grave mistake of denying the inalienable right to life of all human beings from the moment of conception to natural death. The destruction of even one human life can never be justified in terms of the benefit that it might conceivably bring to another.
"Yet, in general, 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".
"Dialogue between science and ethics is of the greatest importance in order to ensure that medical advances are never made at unacceptable human cost. The Church contributes to this dialogue by helping to form consciences in accordance with right reason and in the light of revealed truth. In so doing she seeks, not to impede scientific progress, but on the contrary to guide it in a direction that is truly fruitful and beneficial to humanity, ... with a particular regard for the weakest and most vulnerable.
"In drawing attention to the needs of the defenceless, the Church thinks not only of the unborn but also of those without easy access to expensive medical treatment. ... Justice demands that every effort be made to place the fruits of scientific research at the disposal of all who stand to benefit from them, irrespective of their means. ... Here the Church is able to offer concrete assistance through her extensive healthcare apostolate, active in so many countries across the globe and directed with particular solicitude to the needs of the world's poor".
"I pray that your commitment to adult stem cell research will bring great blessings for the future of man".
VATICAN CITY, 12 NOV 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:
"This morning His Holiness Benedict XVI received in audience Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
"The discussions, which took place in an atmosphere of great cordiality, provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions on the international situation, and on the contribution the Catholic Church wishes to make to the European Union.
"In the course of the meeting, attention also turned to the promotion of human rights and, in particular, of religious freedom".
VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2011 (VIS) - The provisional nature of earthly life and the call to experience it as "a pilgrimage" towards God, Who "represents our final destination and gives meaning to our lives", were the central themes of the remarks Benedict XVI addressed to faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square before praying the Angelus today.
In the Parable of the Talents, as related in today's reading from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, "Jesus speaks of the three servants whose master departed on a long journey and entrusted them with his money. Two of them behaved correctly and redoubled the wealth they had received, but the third hid the money in a hole. When the master returned he asked what had become of his riches and, while he was pleased with the first two servants, he was disappointed with the third, ... because he had behaved as if his master would never return, as if the day of reckoning would never come.
"With this parable", the Holy Father added, "Jesus wished to teach His disciples to make good use of His gifts. God calls each one of us to life and gives us talents, at the same time entrusting us with a mission to accomplish. It would be foolish to think that these gifts are our due, just as refusing to employ them would be to fail in the goal of our lives. Commenting on this Gospel episode, St. Gregory the Great notes that the Lord does not stint His gift of charity and love to anyone".
"Let us accept the invitation to be watchful, as reiterated in the Scriptures. This is the attitude of those who know that the Lord will return and will wish to see in us the fruits of His love. Charity is the fundamental good which no one should fail to practise and without which all other gifts are in vain".
VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2011 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus this morning, the Pope mentioned that today marks World Diabetes Day, "a chronic illness which affects many people, including the young", he said. "I pray for all those brothers and sisters, for those who share their daily fatigue, and for the healthcare workers and volunteers who assist them".
Speaking French, he also referred to his forthcoming trip to Benin during which he will sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. The Pope highlighted how his visit will seek "to reaffirm the faith and hope of Christians in Africa. ... To your prayers I entrust this journey and the inhabitants of the dear continent of Africa, especially those who are experiencing insecurity and violence. May Our Lady of Africa accompany and sustain the efforts of everyone who works for reconciliation, justice and peace".
Continuing his remarks in German, he sent greetings "to the faithful who today will participate in the beatification of the martyr priest Karl Lampert in Dornbirn. In the dark days of National Socialism, he clearly understood the words of St. Paul 'we are not of the night or of darkness'. During an interrogation which could have given him his freedom, he declared: 'I love my Church. I remain faithful to my Church and to the priesthood. I am with Christ and love His Church'".
He then recalled how, at the initiative of the "Aid to the Church in Need" association, Poland is currently celebrating a Day of Solidarity with the persecuted Church. "This year", he said, "with your prayers and your offerings you are giving particular support to the Church in Sudan. My hope is that the Day may raise people's awareness to poverty and persecutions, and to the need to respect human dignity and the right to religious freedom".
He also noted that the Italian Church is today celebrating the Day of Thanksgiving. "Looking at the fruits of the earth, which this year too the Lord has given us, we recognise that the work of man would be in vain if He did not make it fruitful. ... Let us give thanks and undertake to respect the earth, which the Lord has entrusted to our care".
VATICAN CITY, 14 NOV 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
- Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission forVatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
- Alfonso Rivero Monsalve, ambassador of Peru, accompanied by his wife, on a farewell visit.
On Saturday 12 November he received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
VATICAN CITY, 14 NOV 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Brisbane,Australia, presented by Archbishop John A. Bathersby, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Msgr. Francesco Cavina of the clergy of the diocese of Imola, Italy, official of the Secretariat of State, as bishop of Carpi (area 415, population 127,808, Catholics 117,785, priests 56, permanent deacons 13, religious 62), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Faenza, Italy in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1980. He has worked as vice rector of the regional seminary of Bologna, defender of the bond and later judge in the Tribunal of the same archdiocese, and canon of the cathedral of Imola. He succeeds Bishop Elio Tinti, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.