Archbishops Speak Out Against New Legislation

MELBOURNE, Australia, APRIL 20, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The lower house in Victoria passed legislation to legalize therapeutic cloning, though opponents are hopeful that the bill will have a harder time gaining approval in the upper house.

Fifteen members of the Labor Government, the Liberal Party and the Nationals voted against party colleagues in the lower house to support the new stem-cell legislation, bringing Wednesday's final tally to 58-25.

Introduced last month, the legislation would allow Victorian scientists to clone human embryos for medical research through somatic cell nuclear transfer, commonly known as therapeutic cloning, according to The Australian.

Scientists would be able to take the nucleus from an adult skin cell, insert it in an unfertilized egg and then use the resultant embryonic stem cells for medical purposes.

On the eve of debate over the bill, Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne said, "Life once conceived must be protected with the utmost care."

"The Church's view," the archbishop said, "has been long held and dates back even before earliest Christian times to the Hebrew Scriptures."

"It is wrong to believe that cloned human embryos have no intrinsic value," he added. "They share in the same human life that we all do, made in the image of God and, therefore, deserving of the same unconditional moral respect owed to all human beings."

Archbishop Hart explained, "This situation is not changed simply because of scientific claims of the potential therapeutic benefits that may be gained by their destruction."

Other initiatives

Embryonic stem cell and cloning legislation has been making headway in Australia since last year's federal Parliament narrowly passed a law allowing scientists to clone human embryos to extract their stem cells for research purposes.

In an effort similar to Victoria's, the government of West Australian has recently introduced a bill to overturn the state's ban on therapeutic cloning.

Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey asked West Australian members of Parliament to oppose cloning of embryos for medical research.

He said that to create a human embryo and destroy it to obtain stem cells was morally wrong. "The end does not justify the means."

Archbishop Hickey recommended, "Let us take God's way and use the adult stem cells already provided without taking human life."

Code: ZE07042011

Date: 2007-04-20


Teachings of Christ

'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53-54 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Saints and Martyrs

Adorned with the blood of Your Martyrs throughout the world, * as with purple and fine linen, * Your Church cries out to You through them: * "Send down Your compassions upon Your people. * Grant peace to Your commonwealth and great mercy to our souls." (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

As the first-fruits of nature to the Planter of Creation, * the whole world offers to You, O Lord, the God-bearing martyrs. * Through their prayers and the intercession of the Mother of God * preserve Your commonwealth, the Church, in profound peace, O Most Merciful One. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

"In the matter of piety, poverty serves us better than wealth, and work better than idleness, especially since wealth becomes an obstacle even for those who do not devote themselves to it. Yet, when we must put aside our wrath, quench our envy, soften our anger, offer our prayers, and show a disposition which is reasonable, mild, kindly, and loving, how could poverty stand in our way? For we accomplish these things not by spending money but by making the correct choice. Almsgiving above all else requires money, but even this shines with a brighter luster when the alms are given from our poverty. The widow who paid in the two mites was poorer than any human, but she outdid them all."

St. John Chrysostom