news-2


Thursday 10 April.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien has used "You Tube" to warn of the dangers in the Government's "Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill". In a 5 minute film which will be copied to DVD and sent to all UK MP's, the Cardinal reiterates his opposition to the creation of animal-human hybrid embryos and highlights recent opinion poll findings on the subject.

The video can be viewed at www.scmo.org or on "You Tube" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22MR984zgvo

The Cardinal's message follows a letter sent yesterday to MP's in the Diocese of Paisley by Bishop Philip Tartaglia urging them not to vote for the Bill. The letter is addressed to Douglas Alexander MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, Jim Sheridan MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, Jim Murphy MP for East Renfrewshire and David Cairns MP for Inverclyde.

In the text, Archbishop Tartaglia provides detailed ethical objections to the legislation pointing out that " we do not need this embryo-destructive research either from an ethical or a scientific-medical point of view" he also adds "I have become aware that the scientific community already knows that, contrary to what the Prime Minister has asserted, research on human embryos is not required to have access to human stem cells as the basis of therapy for serious medical conditions."

In conclusion the Bishop advises the MP's "I intend to share the contents of this letter, together with details of your answer with the Catholic population in the Diocese of Paisley"

The full text of Archbishop Tartaglia's letter is shown below.

ENDS

Peter Kearney  
Director  
Catholic Media Office  
5 St. Vincent Place  
Glasgow  
G1 2DH  
0141 221 1168
07968 122291  
pk@scmo.org  
www.scmo.org



Right Honourable and Honourable Members of Parliament,

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

As the Bishop of Paisley, I am writing to you as a Member of Parliament for a constituency within the Diocese of Paisley.

I am asking you to use your influence to persuade the Prime Minister that the country does not need the measures proposed in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill soon to come before the House of Commons.  

I am thinking especially of embryo-destructive research and the creation/destruction of animal-human embryos for the purposes of research.  

I put it to you that we do not need this embryo-destructive research either from an ethical or a scientific-medical point of view.

Ethics

To many people, it is clear that this kind of embryo-destructive research is ethically flawed. They understand instinctively that is quite wrong to create and destroy human embryos for research. It is also quite wrong to create and destroy animal-human embryos for research.  

I invite you to consider the following points on the moral reasoning which is used in this matter.

       The principal argument advanced by advocates of this kind of embryo-destructive research, and repeated by many, including the Prime Minister, is that it may, could or might produce the stem cells which would be used to find treatment and cures for serious medical conditions.

        Even if embryo-destructive experimentation were the only way of producing stem cells (and it is not), the underlying moral reasoning is flawed. The argument is based on an ethic of the end justifies the means. However, this principal cannot stand alone in moral reasoning without a consideration of the morality of the act itself.  

       When the act itself of creating and destroying human embryonic life for experimentation, it is clear that it cannot be justified by intended good consequences which are uncertain, unpredictable and ultimately unknowable.

       Even a person who does not share this moral conviction should experience some repugnance at the prospect of experimenting on human embryos. In a recent interview with the New York Times, James Thomson, the first person to isolate human embryonic stem cells, remarked: If human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little bit uncomfortable, you have not thought about it enough.

       The last line of defence for advocates of embryo-destructive stem cell research is the argument that freedom of scientific enquiry demands that research be unrestricted “ that science and society will be harmed by placing limits on what scientists can investigate.

       As Maureen L. Condic, associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine wrote in a recent study on stem cell research, Yet science, like all human endeavours, must operate within the constraints of ethical values. Surely no one seriously believes that freedom of scientific enquiry should trump all other considerations. Good science does not demand that all avenues of enquiry be pursued.


       The Professor then referred to the US Public Health Service Tuskegee experiments on African American men with syphilis (1932-1972) and the prison-camp experiments on Jews and disabled persons, rightly commenting that these were not legitimate avenues of scientific investigation, and were not justified by any useful information they may have yielded.  

So I suggest to you the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill soon to be debated in the House of Commons lacks rational foundation and is morally compromised.


Science and Medicine
 
I have become aware that the scientific community already knows that, contrary to what the Prime Minister has asserted, research on human embryos is not required to have access to human stem cells as the basis of therapy for serious medical conditions.  

Let me mention the following points listed in her study on stem cell research written by the afore-mentioned Professor Maureen L. Condic (in: First Things, February 2008/180, pp 10-12).

       Scientists have discovered that ordinary human skin cells can be converted to stem cells with all the important properties of human embryonic stem cells by a process known as direct reprogramming.
 
       Like embryonic stem cells, reprogrammed cells are pluripotent, able to generate all the cells of the body, and so they have been named induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs).  

       Unlike human embryonic stem cells, however, IPSCs are genetically identical to patients and are generated without destroying human embryos or using either human or animal eggs.

       IPSCs can do everything that embryonic stem cells can do, and more, because they can generate patient-specific stem cell lines for research on human genetic diseases.

       IPSCs are available now, compared to the merely theoretical prospects of obtaining patient-matched stem cells from human embryo experimentation and cloning.  

       Direct reprogramming of IPSCs can generate multiple stem cell lines from an individual patient without any additional cost or effort.  







       IPSCs are simpler to produce than stem cells from human embryos and they are ethically uncompromised.

       IPSC research meets the highest standards of science, and it respects the ethical standards of many people who object to embryonic human stem cell research as deeply immoral.


So for both ethical and scientific-medical reasons, I am asking you to oppose those parts of the forthcoming Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which would further extend the scope of embryo-destructive research. I also ask you to oppose aspects of the Bill which undermine the role of fathers or which further liberalise abortion.

While hoping that you will agree with the concerns I have raised, in the event that you do not I would welcome your comments or an explanation of the rationale you have used to reach an opposing view.  

I intend to share the contents of this letter, together with details of your answer with the Catholic population in the Diocese of Paisley. I would appreciate your earliest response as I know the matter is a pressing one and is expected to be considered by Parliament very soon.
 

Yours sincerely,

+Philip Tartaglia
Bishop of Paisley

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 118 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Subscribe to News updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS

‹ Return to News

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Scottish Church Leaders Urge Truthfulness in Political Debate

| 27th November 2019 | Blogging

27th November 2019   Ten Scottish church leaders have joined together in calling for a respectful tone in the ongoing political debate - that recognises the human value in all people.   As campaigning enters the final three weeks before the General Election on 12 December, the leaders have urged people to think of the many issues that unite rather than divide.   The statement says:   “As people of faith, we believe in the flourishing of local communities and the importance of acting to make sure this can become a reality. There are many issues which divide us but many more that can unite us – and the realisation of a fairer, more equal and more just society is one of them.”   It adds:   “We are all entitled to our own opinions and strong beliefs, and debates sometimes do get passionate and vigorous. But let us ensure that truthfulness and integrity are at the forefront of what we say and do.”   The Scottish church leaders represent the main Christian denominations in Scotland including the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church.   ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  Tel:    0141 221 1168 Mob:  07968 122291 ISDN: 0141 204 4956  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org   Notes to Editors:   1.  FULL TEXT OF STATEMENT AND SIGNATORIES   “As the UK General Election approaches on 12 December, we would like to remind people of the hope that we share as we approach this special time of year – of new life and a new world, and the inspiration this gives us to create a better society for us all – one in which we truly care about those around us.   “We would like to take this opportunity to encourage people to be prayerful as they vote and make decisions that will affect the future of our country.   “We would urge people to treat those who are standing for public office with respect and to use a tone in our debates that recognises the human value in all of us – even, and especially when, we disagree.   “We are all entitled to our own opinions and strong beliefs, and debates sometimes do get passionate and vigorous. But let us ensure that truthfulness and integrity are at the forefront of what we say and do.   “As people of faith, we believe in the flourishing of local communities and the importance of acting to make sure this can become a reality. There are many issues which divide us but many more that can unite us – and the realisation of a fairer, more equal and more just society is one of them.”   Signatories:   Rt Rev Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland Most Reverend Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Rev John O. Fulton, Moderator of the United Free Church of Scotland Revd Mark Slaney, Chair of the Methodist Church in Scotland (Scotland District & Shetland District) Joan M.M. Cook, President of the Scottish Unitarian Association Adwoa Bittle, Clerk to General Meeting for Scotland, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Revd Dr David A. Pickering,  Moderator of the United Reformed Church National Synod of Scotland Lieut-Colonel Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland and Divisional Commander, East Scotland Division, The Salvation Army May-Kane Logan, Chair of the Congregational Federation in Scotland   2.  The Catholic Bishops’ of Scotland sent out a pastoral letter in advance of the UK General Election, to be read at all parishes on 23/24 November 2019.  The text can be found here: https://scmo.org/news-releases/perma/1574154000/article/elect-individuals-who-reflect-your-beliefs-catholi.html    ...

Scottish Parliament to debate the “Positive Contribution of Catholic Schools”

| 25th November 2019 | Blogging

Scottish Parliament to debate the “Positive Contribution of Catholic Schools”Monday 25 November 2019 The Scottish Parliament will tomorrow Tuesday 26th November 2019 debate Motion S5M-19246, on the Positive Contribution of Catholic Schools to Scotland. The motion proposed by Elaine Smith, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, states that“the Parliament recognises the positive contribution that Catholic schools have made to Scotland’s education system, in particular since the historic Education (Scotland) Act 1918 came into force, when the schools became part of the state education system in return for, among other things, the right to retain their Catholic ethos; acknowledges what it sees as the contribution and the positive impact that it believes that this has had on society; considers that denominational schools continue to play a vital role in Scottish education” The motion which has already received cross party support, also states;“that sectarianism predates the existence of Catholic schools and that they are not a cause of it and instead they contribute to an open, tolerant, diverse and inclusive education system in Central Scotland and across the country; considers that anti-Catholicism has no place in Scotland, and acknowledges the calls that it must be challenged in all its forms.”Commenting ahead of the debate, Elaine Smith said:“Given the evident increase in intolerance towards the Catholic Community in Scotland, it is important that the Scottish Parliament leads the way in fully supporting and recognising the beneficial contribution of Catholic Education, and ensures that faith schools will be a valued part of our education system for the foreseeable future.”Responding to the motion, Director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, Barbara Coupar said:"Between the feasts of St Margaret, Queen of Scotland, and St Andrew, Catholic schools are celebrating how they promote Gospel values in their local communities and across Scottish society. It is fitting that our elected members join in marking Catholic Education Week to share their experiences of the positive contribution the Catholic schools in their constituencies make. MSPs have a unique opportunity in this member's debate to be present and to add their voice to those publicly challenging the untruths that Catholic education cause segregation and separation. In doing so they'll show those who choose Catholic education, from all faiths and none, that they support them in their choice."ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH Tel: 0141 221 1168Mob: 07968 122291ISDN: 0141 204 4956 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org Note to Editors:This debate takes place during Catholic Education Week 2019, the theme of which is ‘Promoting Gospel Values’. CATHOLIC EDUCATION IN SCOTLANDCurrent pupil population of Catholic schools in Scotland:Primary School 72,926; Secondary including Independent and ASL 51,610 Education (Scotland) Act 1918 – enshrined in law a historic concordat between the Catholic community and the state. Catholic schools (there were 224 at the time) transferred into the public provision of education and in return:Guaranteed state funding Statutory right to retain distinct Catholic ethos and identity; the right to define the distinctive culture and virtues of the Catholic schoolTeachers require Church approval regarding “religious belief and character”The Catholic community paid for the land and the building of over 60% of the schools we have today. Scotland is home to an open, tolerant, diverse, inclusive system of education, reflecting the right of parents to choose an education for their children which responds to their convictions. With this system of education, Scotland is a welcoming place for denominational schools. It is democracy in action in the provision of education. The choice to send a child to a state funded faith school is a choice that is present in over 100 countries across the worl...

Elect individuals who reflect your beliefs Catholic voters told

| 19th November 2019 | Blogging

Tuesday 19 November 2019   In a pastoral letter which will be read at all 500 Catholic churches in Scotland this weekend (23/24 November) Scotland's Catholic Bishops, will urge parishioners to participate in the 2019 General Election and to “elect an individual representative who reflects as closely as possible our beliefs”. Scotland’s Catholic Bishops warn that “a creeping intolerance towards religious belief” has become “a part of life”.   The letter goes on to reflect on a range of issues and urges catholic voters to raise them with their candidates. Among the subjects highlighted are:   Human Life - Voters are reminded that abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia are, as the Church has consistently taught, always morally unacceptable. The letter describes the funding of abortion programmes in developing countries as “ideological colonisation.”   Marriage and the Family – candidates are urged to support policies that create economic and fiscal support for married couples and families with children.   Poverty - Reliance on food banks, particularly for families, is described as “a telling criticism of a society that has forgotten its poor people in its midst.”   Freedom of Religion and Conscience – Potential MPs are urged to legislate for a liberal and tolerant society that is truly welcoming to all faiths and none, the next UK Government should campaign against religious persecution and intolerance around the world.   Nuclear Weapons and the Arms Trade - The use of weapons of mass destruction is viewed as “a serious offence against God and against humanity.” Excessive accumulation of weaponry is described as “a considerable threat to stability and freedom as well as a misuse of public funds that could serve to address the needs of the disadvantaged.” The next UK Government is asked to work actively and seriously towards elimination of the UK’s nuclear arsenal.   ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  Tel:    0141 221 1168 Mob:  07968 122291 ISDN: 0141 204 4956  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org   Note to Editors   The full text of the letter is shown below:   General Election 2019 A letter from the Catholic Bishops of Scotland   This General Election presents us with an opportunity to elect an individual representative who reflects as closely as possible our beliefs. It allows us to revisit Catholic Social Teaching and to connect our voting to our Catholic faith. It can be a chance to proclaim the inherent dignity and value of every human being, made in the image and likeness of God, and to promote the common good.    In recent times, politics has become divisive, principally, though not exclusively, as a result of the EU referendum. Vigorous debate has sometimes spilled over into personal attacks and even acts of violence which are never acceptable.   Uncertain times ought to make us stop and reflect on the One who is Truth Himself. Turning to God in these difficult times is our only hope for true peace. During elections, a range of issues compete for our attention; we highlight some of them here so that we may reflect on them and raise them with parliamentary candidates.   Human Life   It is the duty of all of us to uphold the most basic and fundamental human right – the right to life. We should urge candidates to recognise human life from the moment of conception until natural death and to legislate for its protection at every stage, including protecting the unborn child, ensuring that both mother and child are accepted and loved.   We should remind our politicians that abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia are, as the Church has consistently taught, always morally unacceptable. Decriminalisation of abortion unhappily paves the way towards a legal basis for abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth and politicians should be urged to resist it.   ...

Bishop expresses concern for the situation at the UK border

| 25th October 2019 | Blogging

25 October 2019   Bishop William Nolan of Galloway, President of the Catholic Church’s Justice and Peace Commission, has called on the UK Government to make “safe and legal routes” available for refugees attempting to come to the UK. Bishop Nolan expressed his concerns ahead of the three-year anniversary of the refugee camp known as ‘the jungle’ in Calais being demolished, he said:   “Three years ago, the French and UK governments demolished the refugee camp known as ‘the jungle’. Many thousands of people were dispersed across France, and the infrastructure of support and solidarity provided by so many volunteers was destroyed. Three years on, the situation in Calais, Dunkirk and other areas is more desperate than ever. The policies of attrition - wearing down refugees through harsh treatment, including eviction from places of shelter; confiscation of possessions; assault and use of pepper spray - are forcing already vulnerable people to increasingly desperate measures, pushing them into the arms of people smugglers and human traffickers.”   Bishop Nolan added;   When I visited Calais in 2017, just over one year after the jungle had been demolished, I witnessed the situation of many young refugees sleeping rough. The statement we issued at the time called on the authorities ‘to recognise that these are our fellow human beings, regardless of their [immigration] status, and that their intrinsic dignity must be upheld.’ Now, three years since the jungle was destroyed, and with no progress being made, I once again join the calls made on our government that safe and legal routes must be established, and that an infrastructure which allows for dignified living for those in Calais must be a priority”.   Bishop Nolan’s remarks come after Amnesty International has reported on the “unprecedented restrictions, including threats and violence, denunciation in public discourse, and criminalization” being faced by volunteers and staff in northern France. Their report ‘Targeting Solidarity’ documents the increasingly hostile tactics being used against volunteers from a range of organisations in France who are filling the gap left by the state for providing food, clothing and medical care. Amnesty International makes the point that the ‘work of human rights defenders in the area is inextricably linked to the treatment of people on the move. It is therefore paramount to end the human rights violations faced by this group’ and to repeat the calls made by NGOs and Bishop Nolan which requires that France ensures its asylum and reception system is fit for purpose and that the UK increases the number of refugees and asylum-seekers it currently accepts by providing safe and legal routes.   Following the bishop’s visit in 2017, Justice and Peace Scotland has continued to highlight the situation in Calais.  In early 2019 as part of a project called ‘Encounter: Calais’, two groups of volunteers travelled down to Calais with Care4Calais, one of the volunteer aid organisations, and met the community at Maria Skobtsova Catholic Worker House.   As part of highlighting the anniversary of the jungle’s demolition and the ongoing situation, Justice and Peace Scotland have compiled a list of resources, bringing together news articles, reports, and videos which capture some of the history and the issues around the jungle in recent years.   The resource sheet is available on Justice and Peace Scotland’s website www.justiceandpeacescotland.org.uk   ENDS   Note to Editors:   For further information, contact: Danny Sweeney, Co-ordinator, Justice & Peace Scotland on 07891 579831   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  Tel:    0141 221 1168 Mob:  07968 122291 ISDN: 0141 204 4956  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org    ...