To the editor
I am writing to point out the misrepresentation of Church teaching given in the article, Catholics lobby legislators, in the March 31/April 1, 2007 Catholic Courier Weekly.
Reporting that local Catholics lobbied their legislators about opposing taxpayer funding for human cloning and embryonic stem cell research, the article states, “Catholic social teaching holds that both destroy human life”.
Cloning a human being, which has never actually been accomplished, would not destroy human life. It is because human cloning would create human life that the Church teaches that attempts to clone humans in order to produce embryos for embryonic stem cell research, which does destroy human life, are wrong.
As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops affirms in its publication number 5-665, the Church opposes human cloning in any case because it “…is a depersonalized way to reproduce”. Such a technique “entrusts the life and dignity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children”. (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2377) Further, again quoting the ecclesiastical instruction, Donum Vitae, the Catechism says “attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance in order to produce human beings with certain predetermined qualities are contrary to his integrity and identity” (section 275).
We Catholics should be careful to accurately state Church teaching on moral issues, particularly of we hope to influence public policy.