The Catholic Church, particularly the Vatican, has a bit of a split personality when it comes to stem cells and other “controversial issues” such as assisted reproduction and contraception.
Officially, they oppose these things, but behind the scenes most everyday ordinary Catholics support them.
This divide has become all the more apparent in the last year and no issue illustrates it better than stem cells.
The Vatican or its Pontifical Academy for Life or someone else (we can’t be sure now) organized a stem cell meeting for this year that would have included some heavy weight stem cell researchers who amongst other areas work on embryonic stem cells (ESC).
Oops. That’s a no-no.
The Vatican, in a very embarrassing international incident, then later cancelled the meeting amidst what many Catholics were calling a scandal.
Then shockingly, the Vatican issued a letter explaining what happened and unequivocally slapping pro-lifers hard in the face. I wrote wondering if the Vatican viewed American Pro-lifers as a bunch of out of control bozos.
Reportedly, now the Vatican says neither it nor its Pontifical Academy for Life actually organized the doomed stem cell meeting at all. Rather it was “some Catholic Medical School”.
Hmmm…that doesn’t make sense.
What the heck is going on? Seems like political damage control in high gear.
Fitting with this hypothesis, they have no apologized for possibly “offending the sensibilities of some person”, likely meaning the pro-lifers that they so clearly diss’d.
According to the article from the Catholic News Agency:
In the view of this senior member, the April 2012 adult stem cell conference “might have worked – even with speakers who did not agree with the Church – if the entire program were placed within the anthropological and moral vision of the Church from the beginning, at the end, and with interventions from representatives of the Church’s position if a speaker proposed or advocated anything immoral.”
Yikes. So if someone like George Daley of CIRM President Alan Trounson had veered off during a talk into “immoral” territory, what does this “senior member” imagine would have happened?
A taser? A trap door to hell?
Clearly there is significant variance in opinions in the Vatican about contemporary issues such as stem cells.
My advice to them?
Perhaps stay out of the stem cell conference business after this fiasco.