Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Catholic Life: Vatican's Response to new stem cell creation

Moneybags, over at A Catholic Life, made a comment about the recent supposedly moral new form of stem cell research here: A Catholic Life: Vatican's Response to new stem cell creation

I took umbrage at his suggestion that we are in danger of hellfire if we don't agree that this newest form of stem cell research is evil.
Now, I am a new Catholic, relatively speaking, and maybe I am completely in left field here. So, dear readers, please read the statement he made and give me your opinion.

Here is the comment I left on that blog post:

Hi, moneybags, like your blog. Am wondering if you might be a little too presumptious when you made this statement:"Remember, that as Catholics we are to follow the teachings of the Church on both faith and morals - which include their view of embryonic stem cell research and In-vitro fertilization. To disagree with the Church, the Body of Christ, on even one issue would put our salvation at risk."

Surely, you don't think my salvation would be at risk because I believed that this new form of stem cell research was morally sound, do you? Offering news of this sort can be helpful to keep your Catholic audience up to par on current events. But to suggest that Catholics must toe the line on such a current event or be in risk of grave sin and eternal damnation smacks me of meddling.
Perhaps it's just a passing mood that I am in, but that comment
rubbed me the wrong way.

So, there is one of my first stabs at raising controversy in the blogosphere. Hope I am not treading on dangerous ground....

EDIT on Monday, 08/2/06:

I want to make it perfectly clear that I do think that stem cell research that destroys the embryo is a grave sin.

Other EDIT: I changed gender references to male, for some reason I thought Moneybags was a girl, strange that.


Julie D. said...

A couple of things ... first, Moneybags is a guy. It's a mistake that more than one person has made (myself included) so I thought I'd let you know.

Secondly, he's right. Now, the new development is so very new that I don't know exactly what the Vatican said because I haven't gone to read all the links yet. However, if the Vatican judges that the new form of embryonic stem cell procedure suggested is verboten ... well, then we're supposed to educate ourselves enough to see why the Church says it. And, if we don't care to, then we're supposed to trust that the Church can judge this particular issue better than we can.

I went through much such questioning when I first converted, on many of the social issues that often bring the Church into conflict with society. Through reading Catholic Christianity by Peter Kreeft (which puts the muscle onto the strong skeleton provided by The Catechism) I gradually came to see the logic on those issues I didn't agree with.

I wrote this for somewhat different reasons but it also addresses something of what you are talking about; maybe it will help.

Tim said...

Thanks, Julie, for your comment. It's always a pleasure to hear your direct input.
I actually tend to agree with Moneybags on the issue of the "new" stem cell research. I mean, if it's true that the embryo is still destroyed then it's really a no-brainer. It's the idea that our personal salvation is at stake over this one issue that somewhat perturbs me. *sigh* It seems a bit austere. Or maybe it's the idea that one has to resort to threatening another's permanent standing in heaven as an argument to persuade someone to agree on the issue.
Thanks for the link to your post on believing Church doctrine as a new convert. I enjoyed the admission you made here:
"I must admit, when I'm toe to toe (or comments box to comments box) over an issue of doctrine I've been mad enough to spit. But even then I'm praying (for both of us!) in the midst of the fray."
I, too, say quick prayers when in the press of battle. It's good to hear I am not alone.
You know, I have read part of Kreeft's, Catholic Christianity. It is a good book.
Thanks for commenting!

Julie D. said...

Yes, later on, that "hellfire" kept turning over in my mind. On one hand it seemed so drastic.

But, on the other hand, though I don't like to think it ... I remembered that Kreeft always reminds us that Jesus talked about Hell many, many times. Maybe what we need to is remember that our decisions have permanent consequences and we might not like the results. Food for my thought anyway.

Matthew said...


One saint (whose name escapes me) said that we must indeed believe every issue on faith or morals or we could put our salvation at risk.

Embryonic stem cell research is a non-negotiable - all Catholics MUST believe it is wrong in all circumstances. An embryo, a person, is dying for nothing in this research!

There are 5 non-negotiables that Catholics MUST believe what the Church teaches - embryonic stem cell, human cloning, abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage. Other teachings that need to be obeyed include not supporting artificial contraception or In-vitro fertilization.