Newspaper Archive of
The Message
Evansville, Indiana
May 1, 1998     The Message
PAGE 8     (8 of 16 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 8     (8 of 16 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
May 1, 1998

Newspaper Archive of The Message produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2020. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

8 The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana I ,'t To clone or not to clone human bein By FATHER ROBERT L. KINAST Catholic News Service She is the most famous sheep in history. Almost everyone has seen her picture and knows her name: Dolly. As the first adult mammal ever cloned, Dolly has taken cloning to a new level and raised unprecedented questions in the process. First of all, what is cloning? It is a scientific procedure that non-sexu 2 ally reproduces one organism from anoth- er. The key to cloning is the extraction and implanting of cells. In Dolly's case a mam- mary gland cell from one ewe was implant- ed in another ewe's egg. Although each cell contains all of an organism's genetic information, it had not been possible to utilize adult cells in cloning that already were specified, for example, as skin cells or organ cells. But the scientists in Scotland who cloned Dolly overcame that problem. This immediately raised a second ques- tion: Can humans be cloned? In one sense the question is premature. Everyone admits that if human cloning is possible at all, it won't happen for a long time. This is actually a blessing because it gives everyone time to think through the issues involved. One issue is scientific. Is human cloning a proper subject for scientists to investi- gate? To a skeptic this is a moot question because scientists will continue to study human cloning no matter what. To a pragmatist it is a question of allo- cating limited resources for something which may never work. To theorists the question is whether scientists ever will acquire the knowledge required to clone a human being. Many religious believers see cloning as an invasion of God's domain in order to seek knowledge that humans don't need and shouldn't possess. To these people, human cloning is the latest example of sinful human pride and will only add to human misery. To other believers the pursuit of all knowledge is a i , " In the photo seen around the world Dolly appears to be stating at the viewer, conf.used by everything that happened to her," observes Father Robert L. Kinast. "Human beings cannot afford the same reaction to human cloning. It is time to consider the implication." CNS photo from Reuters 'i ql good and necessary undertaking. By understanding God's creation more t to draw closer to God. The real question in this case with the information science a cloning. That leads to a second questions.  Assuming that scientistS human being, should they? tion to this question has versally negative. The re; forms: It is inh human beings, and there a sequences. To clone a human bein human, sexual union God's intention in females. A person is, ufactured, a laboratory pr( In addition, males woul involved as fathers at all. woman's cell im F would be sufficient to clo.e One question about d oI' destructive effect i worn- individuality or d the cloned person be existing person? to tell It is too early , ness would extend eve! development and life CnOr would minimize each ity. The second set the consequences great moral concern such as these: Who has cloning? How will . ?' the long-term effects n : The ability to clone with it the power to de.tee  another person s geneu- so without his or r,,,r co, w, $e Beyond the technological imperative By FATHER KENNETH R. HIMES, O.EM. Catholic News Sewice Polls have shown that, as a group, Catholics express higher confidence in sci- ence than do Protestants. Evangelical Protestants, in particular, are often suspi- cious of science and its implications for faith. But Catholics are taught that the findings of science do not threaten belief in God's existence or God's plan for creation. There is renewed interest among reli- gious scholars these days in returning to serious conversation with science. Also, more and more scientists seem to feel the same way about a dialogue with religion. I think it is noteworthy that a fair num- ber of books were published in the past decade under the general heading of "reli- gion and science." And "Theology and the Natural Sciences" is one of the ongoing interest groups which meets regularly at the annual convention of the Catholic The- ological  of America. Again, a recent issue of the New York Review of Books contained a large ad announcing a conference on ".Science and the Spiritual Quest." It is true that some scientific findings lead theologians to reconsider how God acts in the world and how we might inter- pret various biblical passages. But science does not really pose a challenge to Catholic belief in God or the conviction that God created the universe for the sake of love and is still at work to bring creation to its proper end. So, when we who are Catholics find ourselves thinking about the relationship of religious commitment and science, it is often due to moral concerns rather than doctrinal tensions. That seems to be the case with the unexpected news that a British scientist had cloned a sheep. Even more startling was the bizarre announcement by an American that he would clone a human. Now, the benefits and contributions modern science has made to human wel- fare are hard to overestimate. Our lives are safer, healthier, more enjoyable and enriching due to the vast array of scientif- ic insights we have experienced. Nonetheless, we must avoid what has been called "the technological impera- tive": the idea that if we can do something we should do it. Catholics are not unique in asserting that humans have a capacity for evil, intentional or unintentional, which can demand that we refrain from certain things  even if we cart, Does that human beings? Catholic moral But theological based on a faith; instead, advances are more cial to human beings, logical Union. To raise a question about the relation- ship of religious belief and science is a modem way of posing a long-standing question: What is the relationship of faith and reason? Catholic tradition supports the compat- ibility of faith and science. This is because of the Catholic conviction that God ulti- mately is the source of all trutl At different stages of history there have been disputes over what counts as true knowledge and what methods can reli- ably be employed in obtaining knowledge of the world. Yet, despite such controversies and the occasional moral alarm sounded over some specific aspect of a scientific finding or experiment, the Church maintains is good reason to support the disciplines of science. Pope John Paul II has spoken to scien- fists on a number of occasions and has hosted conferences on scientific topics. He also has been a strong supporter of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. "! !: