Human Cloning Brings a New Racism, Vatican Warns

At U.N. Meeting, Holy See Calls for Worldwide Ban

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NEW YORK, SEPT. 24, 2002 ( The Vatican strongly condemned what it calls «a new kind of racism» made possible by so-called therapeutic cloning of humans.

«Here there is a risk of a new form of racism, for the development of these techniques could lead to the creation of a ‘subcategory of human beings,’ destined basically for the convenience of certain others,» John Paul II’s representative at the United Nations said Monday.

Archbishop Renato Martino, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations, called for the global prohibition of all forms of human cloning. He made his plea during an address to the Ad Hoc Committee at an international Convention Against the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings, meeting this week in New York.

«Based on the biological and anthropological status of the human embryo and on the fundamental moral and civil rule, it is illicit to kill an innocent even to bring about a good for society,» he warned.

The apostolic nuncio observed that «the Holy See looks upon the distinction between reproductive and so-called therapeutic, or experimental, cloning to be unacceptable.»

«This distinction masks the reality of the creation of a human being for the purpose of destroying him or her to produce embryonic stem cell lines or to conduct other experimentation,» the archbishop continued.

Therapeutic cloning «would be a new and terrible form of slavery,» he warned. «Regrettably, it cannot be denied that the temptation of eugenics is still latent, especially if powerful commercial interests exploit it. Governments and the scientific community must be very vigilant in this domain.»

Therefore, «attempts at human cloning with a view to obtaining organs for transplants are not morally acceptable, even when their proposed goal is good in itself,» because these techniques «involve the manipulation and destruction of human embryos,» Archbishop Martino said.

«Human embryonic cloning must be prohibited in all cases regardless of the aims that are pursued,» the archbishop stressed.

The Holy See is not opposed to scientific progress, Archbishop Martino noted.

«Science itself points to other forms of therapeutic intervention which would not involve cloning or the use of embryonic cells, but rather would make use of stem cells taken from adults,» he said. «This is the direction that research must follow if it wishes to respect the dignity of each and every human being, even at the embryonic stage.»

The German and French governments officially asked the United Nations to adopt a document that will prohibit reproductive cloning worldwide. But the treaty that the U.N. ad hoc committee is writing, fails to take «therapeutic» cloning into consideration.

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