Church: Don’t use human embryos for stem cell cure

Archbishop Socrates Villegas: Killing an embryo is killing a human being (cbcpforlife.com photo)

DAGUPAN CITY, PhilippinesArchbishop Socrates Villegas said the Catholic Church is not against stem cell treatment but is wary that human embryos taken from aborted fetuses have been used in the controversial therapy.

In his pastoral guidance issued Thursday on queries about the morality of the treatment, Villegas said there was nothing generally objectionable about stem cell therapy.

Stem cell research and therapy that use adult human stem cells and stem cells from umbilical cord blood are acceptable as long as they are proven safe and are approved by regulating bodies, Villegas said.

What the Church fears are incidences when such therapy abets directly or indirectly the practice of abortion, he said. [This] is not only morally objectionable [but also] morally repugnant as the use of human embryo means killing a human being in order to save another human being.

We have always believed that a human embryo or fertilized ovum is a (complete) human being although in its primitive form, he said, adding that this entity is irreplaceable.

Killing an embryo in any of its stage of development is killing a human being. This makes it morally repugnant, the bishop said.

Villegas issued the statement in response to requests by the Union of Catholic Physicians for moral guidance regarding the medical issue of stem cell therapy and the ethical dimensions in the practice of their profession.

The dangers and potentials of stem cell therapy, which has become available in the country, have prompted the Church to provide pastoral guidelines for those procuring, providing or regulating such treatment, he said.

He also cautioned people against stem cell therapy that uses plant cells, animal cells and genetically modified human stem cells.

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Church: Don’t use human embryos for stem cell cure

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