November 28, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Will new Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) cancel upcoming Vatican stem cell meeting?

Jorge Mario BergoglioRecently I speculated on how a new pope (as yet unidentified at that time) might impact stem cells and the Catholic Church’s view of stem cells. I was skeptical.

Now that we have the new Pope Francis, formerly Jorge Mario Bergoglio, what will happen on the Catholic Church’s stem cell front?

I could not find a single Google search result for Bergoglio’s view of stem cells.

Will he oppose embryonic stem cell research? Certainly yes.

But will he be so publicly vocal an advocate of adult stem cell research as his predecessor?

Might he take a step back and not be so aggressive an advocate of stem cells?

The question is a pressing one as the Vatican is supposed to host a stem cell meeting in less than one month. The meeting was entirely set up prior to Pope Francis though by now former Pope Benedict XVI.

I think Pope Benedict XVI really went out on a limb being such a public advocate of adult stem cell therapies, hosting a meeting, organizing another meeting was canceled (see here) and giving a million dollars to it.

It is difficult to imagine Pope Francis sticking to this policy.

Whether the upcoming meeting is cancelled or not, I bet we’ll see a shift in Vatican stem cell policy longer term.

Interestingly, no schedule and no speaker list are posted for the 2013 Vatican Stem Cell Meeting despite it supposedly starting in less than a month, which is highly unusual for an international meeting of this kind.

Let’s see what happens.

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