In the court of public media the Catholic Church is often declared to be guilty of opposing stem-cell research, and therefore guilty of impeding the progress of scientists who are determined to cure a wide range of disease. So it might have come as a surprise to some people that the Vatican recently teamed up with an international biopharmaceutical company to promote the benefits of stem-cell research. How is this possible? Because the type of stem-cell research being promoted is using adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells (which destroy embryos in the process). In conversations with friends I have found that many people still think the Catholic Church is opposed to all stem-cell research, not just stem-cell research that destroys embryonic life. This new partnership displays a longstanding relationship between science and faith that can be mutually beneficial and productive. But to recognize this type of relationship we often have to look beyond the sound bite analysis on television (or in conspiracy-driven novels) to see the nuance of the church’s approach. Personally, I find this approach much more interesting and intellectually stimulating than the caricature of people of faith in constant conflict with science.
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