WASHINGTON (August 19, 2004) — In an effort to provide more information on the Catholic Church's position on stem cell research and human cloning, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is publishing a one-page flyer in a clear, easy-to-read question and answer format.
The flyer is entitled "Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning: Questions and Answers," and is intended for distribution in parishes and Catholic organizations across the country.
"Stem cell research has become a highly visible issue," says Cardinal William Keeler, Chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, "but some public statements have spread more heat than light. Many people fail to distinguish between different kinds of stem cell research, and that obscures the moral issue at stake. Through this resource we hope Catholics can arrive at a more informed perspective on one of the fundamental moral issues of the 21st century."
According to stem cell expert Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center: "To have an informed debate, people need to be aware of what the real parameters of the discussion are." At a recent gathering of Catholic pro-life officials he listed some of them: "What is a human embryo? What is cloning? What are stem cells, and where do you get them from? And what's the price that's going to be paid if we take stem cells from certain sources like living, growing human embryos?"
The answers to these questions and others are spelled out in this new information resource. It shows that the Catholic Church is not opposed to medical research and innovation, even in the area of stem cells. What is clearly stated, however, is the Church's undeniable commitment to human life and the dignity of each person, leading it to oppose the destruction of human embryos for research.
Parishes and Catholic associations across the country will be encouraged to distribute copies of this important information resource. It will be available in an economical flyer that can be inserted in parish bulletins to facilitate distribution. It will also be available on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning: Questions and Answers" bulletin insert, No. 5-665, 100/$10.00, is available August 30, 2004. To order this resource or to obtain a catalog of other USCCB titles, call toll free 800-235-8722. In the Washington metropolitan area or from outside the United States, call 202-722-8716. Visit the bishops' Internet site at www.usccb.org. Para pedidos en espaņol, llame al 800-235-8722 y presione 4 para hablar con un representante del servicio al cliente en espaņol.