Essay on Catholic Church Stand on Stem Cell Research

Essay on Catholic Church Stand on Stem Cell Research

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Stem cell research is a modern undertaking that holds the potential to drastically alter life as we know it. Stem cells have the ability to be used for a wide range of applications. Whether it is curing diseases, preventing genetic defects, or entirely altering genetic sequences – the possibilities that exist for their application are endless. Though scientists contend that their study holds many promises, institutions like the Catholic Church oppose their study on moral grounds. Even though stem cell research remains a contentious subject within the Catholic Church today, the institution’s position on the issue adds to support that the Church is moving away from taking extreme positions and liberalizing its stance on issues such as stem cells research.
In order to understand in what direction the Church is headed, it is important to analyze stem cells because of the role they have played in shaping the debate between science and the Catholic Church. Stem cells are desirable because they are the “original cells from which all the 220 different types of cells that compose the human body develop” (Fadeld 2012, 128). In other words, these governing cells tell others what tasks to fulfill. In theory, with greater research, their study could bring about greater understanding in developing therapies that could be used to both replace defective organs as well as understand diseases that are untreatable today.
For the Catholic Church, the reason they oppose stem cell research is not an all-or-nothing mindset like the one that was seen centuries before with Copernicus’ heliocentric theory. The discovery of the potential that stem cells hold has led the Church to approach the issue on two different fronts. The Church raises no opposition a...


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...away from the old conservative position to a relatively more liberal one. The Pope declared that “condom use could be justified in some cases to stop the spread of HIV” (Donadio 2010). The Church went from a zero tolerance policy to one that allowed their use at least in certain situations. Though their use was not accepted in all cases, by suggesting that some condom use was acceptable here and there, the Pope hoped that it could “be seen as the first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility” (Donadio 2010). That’s because for the Vatican, apart from abstinence, the key to stopping diseases from spreading “can really only lie in a humanization of sexuality” (Donadio 2010). If condom use is the first step towards helping people become more sexually responsible, the Pope and other Church leaders are willing to allow for their use.

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