Human Embryos Aren’t Disposable Material, Says Pope

In address to Italy’s national bioethics committee, calls for opposition to the ‘throwaway culture’

Baby Shoes

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Pope Francis says that the disposal of human embryos and the treatment often given to the elderly and the infirm are marks of the throwaway culture in our society.

The Pope said this today when he received in audience members of Italy’s national bioethics committee.

The Holy Father noted how the committee has many times “addressed respect for the integrity of the human being and the protection of health from conception to natural death, considering the person in his singularity, always as an end and never simply as a means.”

“This ethical principle is also fundamental in regard to the bio-technological applications in the medical field, which can never be used in a way that is harmful to human dignity, and even less be guided by industrial and commercial ends alone,” he added.

The Pontiff encouraged the committee to work in three areas:


1.The inter-disciplinary analysis of the causes of environmental degradation.

2. The subject of the disability and marginalization of vulnerable subjects in a society inclined to competition, to the acceleration of progress. He said this is the “challenge of opposing the throwaway culture, which has so many expressions today, among which is treating human embryos as disposable material, and also sick and elderly persons approaching death.”

3. An ever greater effort towards an international confrontation in view of a possible and desirable, even if complex, harmonization of the standard and rules of biological and medical activities, rules that recognize fundamental values and rights.

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