BERLIN, MAR. 11, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A bioethics document published by the German bishops' conference roundly criticizes human cloning, as well as the artificial production and selection of embryos for scientific and therapeutic ends.
"Be very careful when man tries to become a creator of life," the document states. "Be very careful when the dignity of some human beings is sacrificed for the good of others." The document was approved at the end of the episcopate's spring plenary assembly last week in Augsburg.
The bishops recognize the great possibilities offered by new frontiers in biomedical science and encourage its progress. However, they state that it must respect the human dignity of all, born as well as unborn, sick as well as healthy.
The value of human life, from conception until natural death, belongs to those points that the German Constitution describes as "intangible," the bishops stress.
The bishops in particular severely criticize therapeutic cloning, namely, the production of cloned human embryos whose stem cells could be destined, after eliminating the embryo itself, to the production of organs and tissues to cure certain diseases.
This technique, the document states, "degrades the human embryos turning them into simple biological material for other human beings: Alternatives must be found."
The document also severely criticizes the systems of artificial selection of embryos produced by artificial insemination. Those that are left over, or have fewer possibilities of survival, are eliminated by the insemination laboratories. This amounts to eugenics, which the document prohibits.