Catholic World News

Never destroy embryos for research, Pope cautions research scientists

May 18, 2017

Pope Francis reiterated the moral principle that human embryos should not be destroyed for purposes of research, however beneficial, in a May 18 address to people affected by Huntington’s disease.

Huntington’s disease causes the progressive breakdown of brain function, and the Pope acknowledged that treatment of the disease had long been handicapped by “misunderstandings and barriers.” The victims were shunted to the side as they lost their ability to speak and to function normally, he said; as the victims disappeared from public view, the disease was not widely recognized. This must stop, the Pope said, loudly invoking the slogan: “Hidden no more!”

Jesus always reached out to those who were suffering, the Pope reminded his audience; “He tore down the walls of stigma and or marginalization.” Pope Francis encouraged those who do the same today with Huntington’s disease, adding special words to the victims, their family members, health-care workers involved in their treatment, and researchers looking for a cure.

To that last group, the Pope added the caution that they should use “means that do not contribute to fueling that ‘throwaway culture’ that at times infiltrates even the world of scientific research.” He went on:

Some branches of research, in fact, utilize human embryos, inevitably causing their destruction. But we know that no ends, even noble in themselves, such as a predicted utility for science, for other human beings or for society, can justify the destruction of human embryos.


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  • Posted by: jackbene3651 - May. 19, 2017 3:01 AM ET USA

    Some of Pope Francis's friends might think he is a little 'rigid' on this subject.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - May. 18, 2017 10:48 PM ET USA

    When he calls it right, ya gotta give him credit and this is a right (even if obvious) call.