FRIDAY-SATURDAY-SUNDAY, January 16-18


COLUMNS: GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

Science cannot clone a soul!

      There is a great deal of discussion these days in the news media about human cloning. It was bound to happen once science succeeded in cloning Dolly, the sheep.

      I am quite taken aback by comments from Christians and even Roman Catholics on some talk shows. For example, a few days ago, I turned the radio on to a local station and heard a Roman Catholic (he identified himself as such) state that he would not have any problem with the cloning of humans. I sometimes wonder why I even turn the radio or TV on because when I hear such things, I then feel obligated in conscience to make a statement of correction. This subject is, after all, very serious and grave matter.

      I called the station, identified myself as a Catholic Religious Sister (not a nun, as nuns are cloistered; are confined to their monastery; and do NOT do an active work with people, such as teach or work in hospitals. Most Catholics donít know there IS a difference.) I stated that there was something seriously missing in the discussion regarding human cloning. No one had mentioned that every soul, the life principle of the body, is unique, God-given and incapable of duplication by any scientist. The human soul, after all, is immortal.

      The talk show host was somewhat silent, as this point hadnít been given the slightest regard until then. I acknowledged that I was coming from a position of faith but the fact remained that humans are not just body (which science certainly may be able to genetically clone), but humans also have a soul, which no person can create, and which is unique to each individual.

      Therefore, amidst the talk that if a couple loses a baby, they can have that baby cloned and go on with their life as though the cloned baby was the baby they lost. That has been the presumption!

      No way, Jose!!! No matter how much a cloned human being might look like, or sound like or walk like the person cloned, it will NOT BE the SAME PERSON. Even identical twins have their unique differences because they do not share the same soul, but each has its own unique and God-given spirit.

      There is, of course, also, the grave matter of how cloning is done. If it requires (and probably does) the fertilization of human eggs and the destruction of those that donít work out, we have then the destruction of human life in its very early stages. This is ABORTION. Catholics cannot be supportive of this issue, and must respect human life in ALL of its stages.

      What is involved here is HUMAN EXPERIMENTATION which, in summation, is no better, and could be far worse, than what Hitler and his cohorts did.

      The discussion of human cloning, however, may have a positive side. It may force pro-aborts to face the fact that human cloning is working with HUMAN LIFE at its earliest stages.

      Letís stay faithful to authentic Catholic teaching. God bless you!


January 1998