Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Vatican Med Czar: "The Church is Not Obscurantist"

Holy See's top health-care official acclaims discovery in potential of amniotic stem-cells:
U.S. researchers reported on Sunday that stem cells found in the amniotic fluid protecting babies in the womb were nearly as powerful as embryonic stem cells in producing adaptable cells that scientists hope can someday transform medicine.

The Catholic Church and other religious groups have been staunch critics of the most common method of stem cell research, which involves extracting cells from human embryos, because they believe such organisms are humans from the moment of conception.

"I am very glad to see this progress in the field of science for the good of humankind," [Cardinal Javier Lozano] Barragan told Vatican Radio on Tuesday, noting it did not violate "the life of the donor."

In an interview with the Italian daily La Stampa on Monday, he called the discovery "a very significant and ethically admissible advance" in the search for cells that can create muscle, bone and other cells to replace damaged ones.

Barragan said the Vatican was not opposed to all stem cell research. "The Church is not obscurantist and is always ready to welcome real scientific progress that neither threatens nor manipulates the sources of life," he said.

"Our task as a church is not to oppose the oratory (that is, faith) and the laboratory (or rather, science), nor to transform science into faith," he said.
On a side note, Barragan has the rep of being Rome's most-wired red hat.