"We have in ourselves the idea of an absolutely perfect being.Now,perfection implies existence.Hence God exists.

"(St Anselmus)

St Thomas Aquinas

Part 1 Monotheism, Part 2 Human Genome and Stem Cells, Part 3 Soul and Immortality Advanced Information
Topics: Monotheism Monotheism is the belief that there is only one God. Related terms are polytheism (the belief that there are many gods), henotheism (belief in one supreme god, though not necessarily to the exclusion of belief in other lesser gods), monolatry (worship of only one god, though not necessarily denying that other gods exist), and atheism (denying or disbelieving in the existence of any gods at all).

Atheism was not particularly attractive to the Israelite people in ancient times. They were convinced that only fools would be so spiritually ignorant as to deny the existence of a supreme being (Pss. 14:1; 53:1). For the people of God, the fear of the Lord was the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10). But if the Israelites did not doubt that there was at least one God, the nations on their borders faced them with the tantalizing possibility that there might be more than one. Egypt, Phoenicia, Aram, Ammon, Moab, Edom, these and other nations were polytheistic, henotheistic, or monolatrous throughout their history in ancient times. One of the questions raised by the OT is whether Israel would remain monotheistic or be attracted by the religious options preferred by its pagan neighbors. Students of comparative religion have suggested that the religions of mankind evolved from lower stages to ever higher stages, the highest of all being monotheism. They have proposed that Israelite religion began as animism, the belief that every natural object is inhabited by a supernatural spirit. After animism, we are told, the idea developed in Israel that some spirits were more powerful than others and deserved to be called "gods." Eventually the most powerful of all became preeminent above the others, and the people believed in his supreme authority and worshipped him alone. Finally, Israel became willing to admit that the lesser gods had no existence whatever. Comparative religion, then, often teaches that Israel's religion underwent a process of evolution from animism to polytheism to henotheism to monotheism. But it cannot be shown that polytheistic religions always gradually reduce the number of their gods, finally arriving at only one. For example, there are innumerable Hindu deities (estimates range from several hundred thousand to 800 million, depending on how deity is defined), and the number seems actually to be increasing. Since a religion may add more and more deities as it followers become aware of more and more natural phenomena to deify, it is just as plausible to assume that polytheism is the end product of evolution from an original monotheism as it is to assume the reverse. (Elwell Evangelical Dictionary)

Monotheism (from the Greek monos "only", and theos "god") is a word coined in comparatively modern times to designate belief in the one supreme God, the Creator and Lord of the world, the eternal Spirit, All-powerful, All-wise, and All-good, the Rewarder of good and the Punisher of evil, the Source of our happiness and perfection. It is opposed to Polytheism, which is belief in more gods than one, and to Atheism, which is disbelief in any deity whatsoever. In contrast with Deism, it is the recognition of God's presence and activity in every part of creation. In contrast with Pantheism, it is belief in a God of conscious freedom, distinct from the physical world. Both Deism and Pantheism are religious philosophies rather than religions. On the other hand, Monotheism, like Polytheism, is a term applying primarily to a concrete system of religion. The grounds of reason underlying monotheism have already been set forth in the article GOD. These grounds enable the inquiring mind to recognize the existence of God as a morally certain truth. Its reasonableness acquires still greater force from the positive data associated with the revelation of Christianity. (See REVELATION.)

PRIMITIVE MONOTHEISM Was monotheism the religion of our first parents? Many Evolutionists and Rationalist Protestants answer No. Rejecting the very notion of positive, Divine revelation, they hold that the mind of man was in the beginning but little above that of his ape-like ancestors, and hence incapable of grasping so intellectual a conception as that of Monotheism. They assert that the first religious notions entertained by man in his upward course towards civilization were superstitions of the grossest kind. In a word, primitive man was, in their opinion, a savage, differing but little from existing savages in his intellectual, moral, and religious life. Catholic doctrine teaches that the religion of our first parents was monotheistic and supernatural, being the result of Divine revelation. Not that primitive man without Divine help could not possibly have come to know and worship God. The first man, like his descendants today, had by nature the capacity and the aptitude for religion. Being a man in the true sense, with the use of reason, he had the tendency then, as men have now, to recognize in the phenomena of nature the workings of a mind and a will vastly superior to his own. But, as he lacked experience and scientific knowledge, it was not easy for him to unify the diverse phenomena of the visible world. Hence he was not without danger of going astray in his religious interpretation of nature. He was liable to miss the important truth that, as nature is a unity, so the God of nature is one. Revelation was morally necessary for our first parents, as it is for men today, to secure the possession of true monotheistic belief and worship. The conception that Almighty God vouchsafed such a revelation is eminently reasonable to everyone who recognizes that the end of man is to know, love, and serve God. It is repugnant to think that the first generations of men were left to grope in the dark, ignorant alike of the true God and of their religious duties, while at the same time it was God's will that they should know and love Him. The instruction in religion which children receive from their parents and superiors, anticipating their powers of independent reasoning, and guiding them to a right knowledge of God, being impossible for our first parents, was not without a fitting substitute. They were set right from the first in the knowledge of their religious duties by a Divine revelation. It is a Catholic dogma, intimately connected with the dogma of original sin and with that of the Atonement, that our first parents were raised to the state of sanctifying grace and were destined to a supernatural end, namely, the beatific vision of God in heaven. This necessarily implies supernatural faith, which could come only by revelation. Nor is there anything in sound science or philosophy to invalidate this teaching that Monotheistic belief was imparted by God to primitive man. While it may be true that human life in the beginning was on a comparatively low plane of material culture, it is also true that the first men were endowed with reason, i.e., with the ability to conceive with sufficient distinctness of a being who was the cause of the manifold phenomena presented in nature. On the other hand, a humble degree of culture along the lines of art and industry is quite compatible with right religion and morality, as is evident in the case of tribes converted to Catholicism in recent times; while retaining much of their rude and primitive mode of living, they have reached very clear notions concerning God and shown remarkable fidelity in the observance of His law. As to the bearing of the Evolutionistic hypothesis on this question, see FETISHISM. It is thus quite in accordance with the accredited results of physical science to maintain that the first man, created by God, was keen of mind as well as sound of body, and that, through Divine instruction, he began life with right notions of God and of his moral and religious duties. This does not necessarily mean that his conception of God was scientifically and philosophically profound. Here it is that scholars are wide of the mark when they argue that Monotheism is a conception that implies a philosophic grasp and training of mind absolutely impossible to primitive man. The notion of the supreme God needed for religion is not the highly metaphysical conception demanded by right philosophy. If it were, but few could hope for salvation. The God of religion is the unspeakably great Lord on whom man depends, in whom he recognizes the source of his happiness and perfection; He is the righteous Judge, rewarding good and punishing evil; the loving and merciful Father, whose ear is

ever open to the prayers of His needy and penitent children. Such a conception of God can be readily grasped by simple, unphilosophic minds -- by children, by the unlettered peasant, by the converted savage. Nor are these notions of a supreme being utterly lacking even where barbarism still reigns. Bishop Le Roy, in his interesting work, "Religion des primitifs" (Paris, 1909), and Mr. A. Lang, in his "Making of Religion" (New York, 1898), have emphasized a point too often overlooked by students of religion, namely, that with all their religious crudities and superstitions, such low-grade savages as the Pygmies of the Northern Congo, the Australians, and the natives of the Andaman Islands entertain very noble conceptions of the Supreme Deity. To say, then, that primitive man, fresh from the hand of God, was incapable of monotheistic belief, even with the aid of Divine revelation, is contrary to well-ascertained fact. From the opening chapters of Genesis we gather that our first parents recognized God to be the author of all things, their Lord and Master, the source of their happiness, rewarding good and punishing evil. The simplicity of their life made the range of their moral obligation easy of recognition. Worship was of the simplest kind. MOSAIC MONOTHEISM The ancient Hebrew religion, promulgated by Moses in the name of Jehovah (Jahweh), was an impressive form of Monotheism. That it was Divinely revealed is the unmistakable teaching of Holy Scripture, particularly of Exodus and the following books which treat explicitly of Mosaic legislation. Even non-Catholic Scriptural scholars, who no longer accept the Pentateuch, as it stands, as the literary production of Moses, recognize, in great part, that, in the older sources which, according to them, go to make up the Pentateuch, there are portions that reach back to the time of Moses, showing the existence of Hebrew monotheistic worship in his day. Now, the transcendent superiority of this Monotheism taught by Moses offers a strong proof of its Divine origin. At a time when the neighbouring nations representing the highest civilization of that time -- Egypt, Babylonia, Greece -- were giving an impure and idolatrous worship to many deities, we find the insignificant Hebrew people professing a religion in which idolatry, impure rites, and a degrading mythology had no legitimate place, but where, instead, belief in the one true God was associated with a dignified worship and a lofty moral code. Those who reject the claim of Mosaic Monotheism to have been revealed have never yet succeeded in giving a satisfactory explanation of this extraordinary phenomenon. It was, however, pre-eminently the religion of the Hebrew people, destined in the fullness of time to give place to the higher monotheistic religion revealed by Christ, in which all the nations of the earth should find peace and salvation. The Jewish people was thus God's chosen people, not so much by reason of their own merit, as because they were destined to prepare the way for the absolute and universal religion, Christianity. The God of Moses is no mere tribal deity. He is the Creator and Lord of the world. He gives over to His chosen people the land of the Chanaanites. He is a jealous God, forbidding not only worship of strange gods, but the use of images, which might lead to abuses in that age of almost universal idolatry. Love of God is made a duty, but reverential fear is the predominant emotion. The religious sanction of the law is centred chiefly in temporal rewards and punishments. Laws of conduct, though determined by justice rather than by charity and mercy, are still eminently humane. The Torah(View) CHRISTIAN MONOTHEISM The sublime Monotheism taught by Jesus Christ has no parallel in the history of religions. God is presented to us as the loving, merciful

Father, not of one privileged people, but of all mankind. In this filial relation with God -- a relation of confidence, gratitude, love -- Christ centres our obligations both to God and to our fellow-men. He lays hold of the individual soul and reveals to it its high destiny of Divine sonship. At the same time, He impresses on us the corresponding duty of treating others as God's children, and hence as our brethren, entitled not simply to justice, but to mercy and charity. To complete this idea of Christian fellowship, Jesus shows Himself to be the eternal Son of God, sent by His heavenly Father to save us from sin, to raise us to the life of grace and to the dignity of children of God through the atoning merits of His life and death. The love of God the Father thus includes the love of His incarnate Son. Personal devotion to Jesus is the motive of right conduct in Christian Monotheism. Co-operating in the sanctification of mankind is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth and life, sent to confirm the faithful in faith, hope, and charity. These three Divine Persons, distinct from one another, equal in all things, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are one in essence, a trinity of persons in the one, undivided Godhead (see TRINITY). Such is the Monotheism taught by Jesus. The guaranty of the truth of His teaching is to be found in His supreme moral excellence, in the perfection of His ethical teaching, in His miracles, especially His bodily resurrection, and in His wonderful influence on mankind for all time. (Cf. John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 8:4) As Christianity in its beginnings was surrounded by the polytheistic beliefs and practices of the pagan world, a clear and authoritative expression of Monotheism was necessary. Hence the symbols of faith, or creeds, open with the words: "I [we] believe in God [theon, deum]" or, more explicitly, "I [we] believe in one God [hena theon, unum deum]". (See Denzinger-Bannwart, "Enchiridion", 1-40; cf. APOSTLES' CREED; ATHANASIAN CREED; NICENE CREED.) Among the early heresies, some of the most important and most directly opposed to Monotheism arose out of the attempt to account for the origin of evil. Good they ascribed to one divine principle, evil to another. (See GNOSTICISM; MANICHISM; MARCIONITES.) These dualistic errors gave occasion for a vigorous defence of Monotheism by such writers as St. Irenus, Tertullian, St. Augustine, etc. (see Bardenhewer-Shahan, "Patrology", St. Louis, 1908). The same doctrine naturally held the foremost place in the teaching of the missionaries who converted the races of Northern Europe; in fact, it may be said that the diffusion of Monotheism is one of the great achievements of the Catholic Church. In the various conciliar definitions regarding the Trinity of Persons in God, emphasis is laid on the unity of the Divine nature; see, e.g., Fourth Council of Lateran (1215), in Denzinger-Bannwart, "Enchiridion", 428. The medieval Scholastics, taking up the traditional belief, brought to its support a long array of arguments based on reason; see, for instance, St. Thomas, "Contra Gentes", I, xlii; and St. Anselm, "Monol.", iv. During the last three centuries the most conspicuous tendency outside the Catholic Church has been towards such extreme positions as those of Monism and Pantheism in which it is asserted that all things are really one in substance, and that God is identical with the world. The Church, however, has steadfastly maintained, not only that God is essentially distinct from all things else, but also that there is only one God. "If any one deny the one true God, Creator and Lord of all things visible and invisible, let him be anathema" (Conc. Vatican., Sess. III, "De fide", can. i). MOHAMMEDAN MONOTHEISM Of Mohammedan Monotheism little need be said. The Allah of the Koran is practically one with the Jehovah of the Old Testament. Its keynote is islam, submissive resignation to the will of God, which is expressed in everything that happens. Allah is, to use the words of the Koran, "The Almighty, the All-knowing, the All-just, the Lord of the worlds, the Author of the heavens and the earth, the Creator of life and death, in whose hand is dominion and irresistible power, the great all-powerful Lord of the glorious throne. God is the mighty . . . the Swift in reckoning, who knoweth every ant's weight of good and of ill that each man hath done, and who suffereth not the reward of the faithful to perish. He is the King, the Holy, . . . the Guardian over His servants, the Shelterer of the orphan, the Guide of the erring, the Deliverer from every affliction, the Friend of the bereaved, the Consoler of the afflicted, . . . the generous Lord, the gracious Hearer, the Near-at-hand, the Compassionate, the Merciful, the Forgiving" (cited from "Islam", by Ameer Ali Syed). The influence of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, on Mohammedan Monotheism is well known and need not be dwelt on here.

Apology For Mohammed(View) The Bible,Koran and Talmud(View) MONOTHEISM AND POLYTHEISTIC RELIGIONS What has thus far been said leads to the conclusion that Christian Monotheism and its antecedent forms, Mosaic and primitive Monotheism, are independent in their origin of the Polytheistic religions of the world. The various forms of polytheism that now flourish, or that have existed in the past, are the result of man's faulty attempts to interpret nature by the light of unaided reason. Wherever the scientific view of nature has not obtained, the mechanical, secondary causes that account for such striking phenomena as sun, moon, lightning, tempest, have invariably been viewed either as living beings, or as inert bodies kept in movement by invisible, intelligent agents. This personalizing of the striking phenomena of nature was common among the highest pagan nations of antiquity. It is the common view among peoples of inferior culture today. It is only since modern science has brought all these phenomena within the range of physical law that the tendency to view them as manifestations of distinct personalities has been thoroughly dispelled. Now such a personalizing of nature's forces is compatible with Monotheism so long as these different intelligences fancied to produce the phenomena are viewed as God's creatures, and hence not worthy of Divine worship. But where the light of revelation has been obscured in whole or in part, the tendency to deify these personalities associated with natural phenomena has asserted itself. In this way polytheistic nature-worship seems to have arisen. It arose from the mistaken application of a sound principle, which man everywhere seems naturally to possess, namely, that the great operations of nature are due to the agency of mind and will. Professor George Fisher observes: "The polytheistic religions did not err in identifying the manifold activities of nature with voluntary agency. The spontaneous feelings of mankind in this particular are not belied by the principles of philosophy. The error of polytheism lies in the splintering of that will which is immanent in all the operations of nature into a plurality of personal agents, a throng of divinities, each active and dominant within a province of its own" ("Grounds of Christian and Theistic Belief", 1903, p. 29). Polytheistic nature-worship is to be found among practically all peoples who have lacked the guiding star of Divine revelation. Such history of these individual religions as we possess offers little evidence of an upward development towards Monotheism: on the contrary, in almost every instance of known historic development, the tendency has been to degenerate further and further from the monotheistic idea. There is, indeed, scarcely a Polytheistic religion in which one of the many deities recognized is not held in honour as the father and lord of the rest. That this is the result of an upward development, as non-Catholic scholars very generally assert, is speculatively possible. But that it may as well be the outcome of a downward development from a primitive monotheistic belief cannot be denied. The latter view seems to have the weight of positive evidence in its favour. The ancient Chinese religion, as depicted in the oldest records, was remarkably close to pure Monotheism. The gross Polytheistic nature-worship of the Egyptians of later times was decidedly a degeneration from the earlier quasi-Monotheistic belief. In the Vedic religion a strong Monotheistic tendency asserted itself, only to weaken later on and change into Pantheism. The one happy exception is the upward development which the ancient Aryan Polytheism took in the land of the Iranians. Through the wise reform of Zoroaster, the various gods of nature were subordinated to the supreme, omniscient spirit, Ormuzd, and were accorded an inferior worship as his creatures. Ormuzd was honoured as the creator of all that is good, the revealer and guardian of the laws of religious and moral conduct, and the sanctifier of the faithful. The sense of sin was strongly developed, and a standard of morality was set forth that justly excites admiration.

Heaven and hell, the final renovation of the world, including the bodily resurrection, were elements in Zoroastrian eschatology. A nobler religion outside the sphere of revealed religion is not to be found. Yet even this religion is rarely classed by scholars among monotheistic religions, owing to the polytheistic colouring of its worship of the subordinate nature-spirits, and also to its retention of the ancient Aryan rite of fire-worship, justified by Zoroastrians of modern times as a form of symbolic worship of Ormuzd. The so-called survivals in higher religions, such as belief in food-eating ghosts, pain-causing spirits, witchcraft, the use of amulets and fetishes, are often cited as evidence that even such forms of Monotheism as Judaism and Christianity are but outgrowths of lower religions. The presence of the greater part of these superstitious beliefs and customs in the more ignorant sections of Christian peoples is easily explained as the survival of tenacious customs that flourished among the ancestors of European peoples long before their conversion to Christianity. Again, many of these beliefs and customs are such as might easily arise from faulty interpretations of nature, unavoidable in unscientific grades of culture, even where the monotheistic idea prevailed. Superstitions like these are but the rank weeds and vines growing around the tree of religion. Publication information Written by Charles F. Aiken. Transcribed by Gerald Rossi. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York Bibliography KRIEG, Der Monotheismus d. Offenbarung u. das Heidentum (Mainz, 1880); BOEDDER, Natural Theology (New York, 1891); DRISCOLL, Christian Philosophy. God (New York, 1900); HONTHEIM, Institutiones Theodic (Freiburg, 1893); LILLY,The Great Enigma (2nd ed., London, 1893); RICKABY, Of God and His Creatures (St. Louis, 1898); MICHELET, Dieu et l'agnosticisme contemporain (Paris, 1909); DE LA PAQUERIE, Elments d'apologtique (Paris, 1898); GARRIGOU-LAGRANGE, in Dictionnaire apologtique de la foi catholique (Paris, 1910), s.v. Dieu; FISHER, The Grounds of Theistic and Christian Belief (New York, 1897); CAIRD, The Evolution of Religion (2 vols., Glasgow, 1899); GWATKIN, The Knowledge of God and its Historic Development (Edinburgh, 1906); FLINT, Theism (New York, 1896); IDEM, Anti-Theistic Theories (New York, 1894); IVERACH, Theism in the Light of Present Science and Philosophy (New York, 1899); ORR, The Christian View of God and the World (New York, 1907); RASHDALL, Philosophy and Religion (New York, 1910); SCHURMANN, Belief in God, its Origin, Nature, and Basis (New York, 1890).

Clementine Hall Thursday, 6 November 2008

Dear Friends, I am pleased to receive you this morning and I greet all of you most cordially. I thank especially Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran as well as Shaykh Mustafa Ceri and Mr Seyyed Hossein Nasr for their words. Our meeting takes place at the conclusion of the important Seminar organized by the “Catholic-Muslim Forum” established between the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and representatives of the 138 Muslim leaders who signed the Open Letter to Christian leaders of 13 October 2007. This gathering is a clear sign of our mutual esteem and our desire to listen respectfully to one another. I can assure you that I have prayerfully followed the progress of your meeting, conscious that it represents one more step along the way towards greater understanding between Muslims and Christians within the framework of other regular encounters which the Holy See promotes with various Muslim groups. The Open Letter “A Common Word between us and you” has received numerous responses, and has given rise to dialogue, specific initiatives and meetings, aimed at helping us to know one another more deeply and to grow in esteem for our shared values. The great interest which the present Seminar has awakened is an incentive for us to ensure that the reflections and the positive developments which emerge from Muslim-Christian dialogue are not limited to a small group of experts and scholars, but are passed on as a precious legacy to be placed at the service of all, to bear fruit in the way we live each day. The theme which you have chosen for your meeting – “Love of God, Love of Neighbour: The Dignity of the Human Person and Mutual Respect” – is particularly significant. It was taken from the Open Letter, which presents love of God and love of neighbour as the heart of Islam and Christianity alike. This theme highlights even more clearly the theological and spiritual foundations of a central teaching of our respective religions. The Christian tradition proclaims that God is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:16). It was out of love that he created the whole universe, and by his love he becomes present in human history. The love of God became visible, manifested fully and definitively in Jesus Christ. He thus came down to meet man and, while remaining God, took on our nature. He gave himself in order to restore full dignity to each person and to bring us salvation. How could we ever explain the mystery of the incarnation and the redemption except by Love? This infinite and eternal love enables us to respond by giving all our love in return: love for God and love for neighbour. This truth, which we consider foundational, was what I wished to emphasize in my first Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, since this is a central teaching of the Christian faith. Our calling and mission is to share freely with others the love which God lavishes upon us without any merit of our own. I am well aware that Muslims and Christians have different approaches in matters regarding God. Yet we can and must be worshippers of the one God who created us and is concerned about each person in every corner of the world. Together we must show, by our mutual respect and solidarity, that we consider ourselves members of one family: the family that God has loved and gathered together from the creation of the world to the end of human history. I was pleased to learn that you were able at this meeting to adopt a common position on the need to worship God totally and to love our fellow men and women disinterestedly, especially those in distress and need. God calls us to work together on behalf of the victims of disease, hunger, poverty, injustice and violence. For Christians, the love of God is inseparably bound to the love of our brothers and sisters, of all men and women, without distinction of race and culture. As Saint John writes: “Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen” (1 Jn 4:20).

The Muslim tradition is also quite clear in encouraging practical commitment in serving the most needy, and readily recalls the “Golden Rule” in its own version: your faith will not be perfect, unless you do unto others that which you wish for yourselves. We should thus work together in promoting genuine respect for the dignity of the human person and fundamental human rights, even though our anthropological visions and our theologies justify this in different ways. There is a great and vast field in which we can act together in defending and promoting the moral values which are part of our common heritage. Only by starting with the recognition of the centrality of the person and the dignity of each human being, respecting and defending life which is the gift of God, and is thus sacred for Christians and for Muslims alike – only on the basis of this recognition, can we find a common ground for building a more fraternal world, a world in which confrontations and differences are peacefully settled, and the devastating power of ideologies is neutralized. My hope, once again, is that these fundamental human rights will be protected for all people everywhere. Political and religious leaders have the duty of ensuring the free exercise of these rights in full respect for each individual’s freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. The discrimination and violence which even today religious people experience throughout the world, and the often violent persecutions to which they are subject, represent unacceptable and unjustifiable acts, all the more grave and deplorable when they are carried out in the name of God. God’s name can only be a name of peace and fraternity, justice and love. We are challenged to demonstrate, by our words and above all by our deeds, that the message of our religions is unfailingly a message of harmony and mutual understanding. It is essential that we do so, lest we weaken the credibility and the effectiveness not only of our dialogue, but also of our religions themselves. I pray that the “Catholic-Muslim Forum”, now confidently taking its first steps, can become ever more a space for dialogue, and assist us in treading together the path to an ever fuller knowledge of Truth. The present meeting is also a privileged occasion for committing ourselves to a more heartfelt quest for love of God and love of neighbour, the indispensable condition for offering the men and women of our time an authentic service of reconciliation and peace. Dear friends, let us unite our efforts, animated by good will, in order to overcome all misunderstanding and disagreements. Let us resolve to overcome past prejudices and to correct the often distorted images of the other which even today can create difficulties in our relations; let us work with one another to educate all people, especially the young, to build a common future. May God sustain us in our good intentions, and enable our communities to live consistently the truth of love, which constitutes the heart of the religious man, and is the basis of respect for the dignity of each person. May God, the merciful and compassionate One, assist us in this challenging mission, protect us, bless us and enlighten us always with the power of his love. 

Copyright 2008 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Rome, 28-30 April 2008

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (Vatican) and the Centre for Inter-religious Dialogue of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation (Tehran, Iran) held their sixth Colloquium in Rome from 28 - 30 April 2008 under the joint presidency of His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis TAURAN, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and His Excellency Dr. Mahdi MOSTAFAVI, President of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation. The delegation of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue was composed as follows: - His Excellency Archbishop Pier Luigi CELATA - His Excellency Archbishop Ramzi GARMOU - Reverend Monsignor Khaled AKASHEH - Reverend Monsignor Prof. Piero CODA - Reverend Father Prof. Michel FDOU, S.J. - Prof. Vittorio POSSENTI - Dr. Ilaria MORALI The delegation of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation was composed as follows: - Hojjat al-Islam Dr. Mohammad Jafar ELMI - Hojjat al-Islam Dr. Mohammad MASJEDJAMEI - Dr. Abdolrahim GAVAHI

- Hojjat al-Islam Dr. Seyyed Mahdi KHAMOUSHI - Hojjat al-Islam Dr. Hamid PARSANIA - Dr. Rasoul RASOULIPOUR - Mr. Mohsen DANESHMAND The participants, with the help of six papers presented by three scholars from each side, examined the theme Faith and Reason in Christianity and Islam, which was developed through three subthemes from the point of view of Catholics and Shi’a Muslims: 1) Faith and reason: Which relation? 2) Theology/Kalam as inquiry into the rationality of faith; 3) Faith and reason confronted with the phenomenon of violence. And the end of the meeting the participants agreed upon the following: 1. Faith and reason are both gifts of God to mankind. 2. Faith and reason do not contradict each other, but faith might in some cases be above reason, but never against it. 3. Faith and reason are intrinsically non-violent. Neither reason nor faith should be used for violence; unfortunately, both of them have been sometimes misused to perpetrate violence. In any case, these events cannot question either reason or faith. 4. Both sides agreed to further co-operate in order to promote genuine religiosity, in particular spirituality, to encourage respect for symbols considered to be sacred and to promote moral values. 5. Christians and Muslims should go beyond tolerance, accepting differences, while remaining aware of commonalities and thanking God for them. They are called to mutual respect, thereby condemning derision of religious beliefs. 6. Generalization should be avoided when speaking of religions. Differences of confessions within Christianity and Islam, diversity of historical contexts are important factors to be considered. 7. Religious traditions cannot be judged on the basis of a single verse or a passage present in their respective holy Books. A holistic vision as well as an adequate hermeneutical method is necessary for a fair understanding of them. The participants expressed their satisfaction with the level of the presentations and the debates as well as the open and friendly atmosphere during the colloquium. The participants were honoured and pleased to be received at the end of the colloquium by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who was particularly satisfied with the choice of the theme and the venue of the meeting.

The next colloquium will be held in Tehran within two years, preceded by a preparatory meeting.

REFLECTIONS BY CARD. WALTER KASPER Some Reflections on Nostra aetate

Let me begin not with a personal confession: When I was asked to say some words about the anniversary of the Conciliar Declaration Nostra aetate my first instinct was anger. I asked: What can anyone say that is new, what has not yet been already said over and over, and that everybody already knows? But then I had to repent. Everybody knows? Forty years ago the Second Vatican Council began. In Word and Church history this is only a short time, but today half an eternity. Not only due to the fact that a long memory in our hasty world is not very well developed, but also that all people under 40 years were not even born when Pope John XXIII opened the Council, and all under 50 years cannot have any personal memory on these stirring years full of debates, full of hopes and disillusions as well, but full also of breakthroughs  not the least on Jewish-Christian relations. In the meantime a new generation has grown up, for which all this, which for us  sorry for this  for us older people was a joyful experience is past and often enough forgotten. So we face a new situation where the teaching of Nostra aetate has to be transmitted and explained. Moreover there are alarming signs of new anti-Semitism we had thought had been overcome. Not the least the tragic conflict in the Middle East does not make things any easier, and new efforts are needed in order for us not to lose sight of each other but to remain together. I, therefore, repeat the words of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) in the Declaration Nostra Aetate of 1965, which for us is still the basis and the compass for our relations: The Church reproves every form of persecution against whomsoever it may be directed. Remembering, then, her common heritage with the Jews and moved not by any political consideration, but solely by the religious motivation of Christian charity, she deplores all hatreds, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism levelled at any time or from any source against the Jews. This Declaration was and is an historical breakthrough after a long and sad history of indifference, misunderstanding, discrimination, denunciation, oppression and persecution. It was not formulated out of political consideration. Our motive is not political, it is theological, and it is ethical. It is informed by reasons of justice and by reasons of revealed truth. By justice, because all forms of discrimination and defamation are opposed to respect for human dignity. One of the most tragic forms of discrimination is the denial to ethnic groups and national minorities of the fundamental right to exist as such.

The respect for human dignity and human rights is fundamental for all human relations and for peace throughout the world. However, in terms of relations between Jews and Christians, there is a further argument that should be analysed in order to oppose and reject discrimination and defamation. The Councils condemnation of all forms of anti-Semitism is inspired by Gods revelation and witnessed in the Bible itself. According to Biblical witness, Abraham is our common father in faith. Jews and Christians, we both are children of Abraham. So Christianity cannot be detached from its Jewish roots; one cannot define Christian identity without making reference to Judaism. The Jews are, as Pope John Paul II emphasised, our elder brothers in the faith of Abraham. . So the Councils Declaration Nostra Aetate declared: [The Church cannot] forget that she draws nourishment from that good olive tree onto which the wild branches of the Gentiles have been grafted. An interdenominational group of more than 300 rabbis and outstanding Jewish scholars only some months ago published a remarkable common statement Dabru emet stating: Jews and Christians worship the same God. Before the rise of Christianity, Jews were the only worshippers of the God of Israel. But Christians also worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, creator of heaven and earth. While Christian faith is not a viable religious choice for Jews, as Jewish theologians we rejoice that, through Christianity, hundreds of millions of people have entered into relationship with the God of Israel. Such affirmations from both sides lay the foundation of the spiritual and ethical commitment in Jewish-Christian dialogue. Dialogue since the Second Vatican Council became a key term, but unfortunately often also a cheap and easy slogan. Thus we have to ask: what is dialogue at all? Surely more than kind and friendly small talk, albeit better than hateful polemics end denunciation. Dialogue is also more than respectful information, which nonetheless is also often lacking, and therefore necessary because ignorance is the best ground for xenophobia and so for anti-Semitism too. But dialogue goes beyond information.Dialogue means encounter and communication in the original meaning of this term: making a common good of ones own good, exchange and sharing so that we enrich each other. And in these last decades we all perceived the joyful experience that we can learn from each other. Dialogue finally is not only an academic and intellectual exercise, dialogue becomes practical in collaboration towards common ideals and values, for freedom and justice, for peace and reconciliation, for family values, preservation of creation and above all for the sanctity of life. Finally dialogue is not an aim in itself but a means. The aim is friendship. Such a dialogue is quite different from syncretism and relativism. Dialogue lives from mutual respect for the otherness of the other. Dialogue takes differences seriously and withstands their difficulties. This is important particularly for the Jewish-Christian dialogue. For Jews and Christians are not the same. They have their distinctive identities. Thus the Jewish-Christian dialogue, when it is serious and honest, cannot be always harmonious and easy. There always may arise misunderstandings and tensions. We experienced these over the last decades and we will encounter them in the future too. To bear with them is not a setback to the Second Vatican Council or a betrayal of the dialogue; they are  when confronted with mutual respect  the reality of dialogue. Only when we take seriously the other in his/her otherness can we

learn from each other and can we be what we should be: a blessing for each other. Let us hope, let us pray and let us work, that Nostra aetate will bear such fruits in the newly begun century. Thank you for your attention.



1. In our time, when day by day mankind is being drawn closer together, and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger, the Church examines more closely her relationship to non-Christian religions. In her task of promoting unity and love among men, indeed among nations, she considers above all in this declaration what men have in common and what draws them to fellowship. One is the community of all peoples, one their origin, for God made the whole human race to live over the face of the earth.(1) One also is their final goal, God. His providence, His manifestations of goodness, His saving design extend to all men,(2) until that time when the elect will be united in the Holy City, the city ablaze with the glory of God, where the nations will walk in His light.(3) Men expect from the various religions answers to the unsolved riddles of the human condition, which today, even as in former times, deeply stir the hearts of men: What is man? What is the meaning, the aim of our life? What is moral good, what sin? Whence suffering and what purpose does it serve? Which is the road to true happiness? What are death, judgment and retribution after death? What, finally, is that ultimate inexpressible mystery which encompasses our existence: whence do we come, and where are we going? 2. From ancient times down to the present, there is found among various peoples a certain perception of that hidden power which hovers over the course of things and over the events of human history; at times some indeed have come to the recognition of a Supreme Being, or even of a Father. This perception and recognition penetrates their lives with a profound religious sense. Religions, however, that are bound up with an advanced culture have struggled to answer the same questions by means of more refined concepts and a more developed language. Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. Again, Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire

the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination. Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing "ways," comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.(4) The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men. 3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting. Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom. 4. As the sacred synod searches into the mystery of the Church, it remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham's stock. Thus the Church of Christ acknowledges that, according to God's saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are found already among the Patriarchs, Moses and the prophets. She professes that all who believe in Christ-Abraham's sons according to faith (6)are included in the same Patriarch's call, and likewise that the salvation of the Church is mysteriously foreshadowed by the chosen people's exodus from the land of bondage. The Church, therefore, cannot forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant. Nor can she forget that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles.(7) Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles. making both one in Himself.(8) The Church keeps ever in mind the words of the Apostle about his kinsmen: "theirs is the sonship and the glory and the covenants and the law and the worship and the promises; theirs are the fathers and from them is the Christ according to the flesh" (Rom. 9:4-5), the Son of the Virgin Mary. She also recalls that the Apostles, the Church's main-stay and pillars, as well as most of the early disciples who proclaimed Christ's Gospel to the world, sprang from the Jewish people. As Holy Scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation,(9) nor did the Jews in large number, accept the Gospel; indeed not a few opposed its spreading.(10) Nevertheless, God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of

the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues-such is the witness of the Apostle.(11) In company with the Prophets and the same Apostle, the Church awaits that day, known to God alone, on which all peoples will address the Lord in a single voice and "serve him shoulder to shoulder" (Soph. 3:9).(12) Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this sacred synod wants to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues. True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ;(13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ. Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone. Besides, as the Church has always held and holds now, Christ underwent His passion and death freely, because of the sins of men and out of infinite love, in order that all may reach salvation. It is, therefore, the burden of the Church's preaching to proclaim the cross of Christ as the sign of God's all-embracing love and as the fountain from which every grace flows. 5. We cannot truly call on God, the Father of all, if we refuse to treat in a brotherly way any man, created as he is in the image of God. Man's relation to God the Father and his relation to men his brothers are so linked together that Scripture says: "He who does not love does not know God" (1 John 4:8). No foundation therefore remains for any theory or practice that leads to discrimination between man and man or people and people, so far as their human dignity and the rights flowing from it are concerned. The Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race, color, condition of life, or religion. On the contrary, following in the footsteps of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, this sacred synod ardently implores the Christian faithful to "maintain good fellowship among the nations" (1 Peter 2:12), and, if possible, to live for their part in peace with all men,(14) so that they may truly be sons of the Father who is in heaven.(15)

NOTES 1. Cf. Acts 17:26

2. Cf. Wis. 8:1; Acts 14:17; Rom. 2:6-7; 1 Tim. 2:4 3. Cf. Apoc. 21:23f. 4. Cf 2 Cor. 5:18-19 5. Cf St. Gregory VII, letter XXI to Anzir (Nacir), King of Mauritania (Pl. 148, col. 450f.) 6. Cf. Gal. 3:7 7. Cf. Rom. 11:17-24 8. Cf. Eph. 2:14-16 9. Cf. Lk. 19:44 10. Cf. Rom. 11:28 11. Cf. Rom. 11:28-29; cf. dogmatic Constitution, Lumen Gentium (Light of nations) AAS, 57 (1965) pag. 20 12. Cf. Is. 66:23; Ps. 65:4; Rom. 11:11-32 13. Cf. John. 19:6 14. Cf. Rom. 12:18 15. Cf. Matt. 5:45


1) The Holy See is convinced of the need to support and promote scientific research for the benefit of humanity. Thus, the Holy See earnestly encourages investigations that are being carried out in the fields of medicine and biology, with the goal of curing diseases and of improving the quality of life of all, provided that they are respectful of the dignity of the human being. This respect demands that any research that is inconsistent with the dignity of the human being is morally excluded. 2) There are two potential sources of stem cells for human research, firstly "adult" stem cells, which are derived from the umbilical cord blood, the bone marrow and other tissues and secondly "embryonic" stem cells, which are obtained by the disaggregation of human embryos. The Holy See opposes the cloning of human embryos for the purpose of destroying them in order to harvest their stem cells, even for a noble purpose, because it is inconsistent with the ground and motive of human biomedical research, that is, respect for the dignity of human beings. However, the Holy See applauds and encourages research using adult stem cells, because it is completely compatible with respect for the dignity of human beings. The unexpected plasticity of adult stem cells has made it possible to use this type of undifferentiated, self-renewing cell successfully for the healing of various human tissues and organs, (1) particularly in hearts damaged after myocardial infarction. (2) The multiple therapeutic achievements that have been demonstrated using adult stem cells, and the promise they hold for other diseases, such as neurodegenerative disorders or diabetes, make efforts to support this fruitful avenue of investigation an urgent matter (3). Above all, it is universally agreed that the use of adult stem cells does not entail any ethical problems. 3) By contrast, research using human embryonic stem cells has been hampered by important technical difficulties (4). Embryonic stem cell experiments have not yet produced a single unqualified therapeutic success, not even in animal models (5). Moreover, embryonic stem cells have caused tumor in animal models (6) and might seed cancer if administered to human patients (7). Unless these grave hazards are removed, embryonic stem cell experiments would not have any clinical application (8). Technical problems aside, the need to extract these cells from living human embryos raises ethical questions of the highest order. 4) The so-called "therapeutic cloning", which would be better called "research cloning" because we are still far from therapeutic applications, has been proposed in order to avert the potential immune rejection of embryonic stem cells derived from a donor other than the host. However, the use of cloned embryonic stem cells entails a high risk of introducing cells from abnormal embryos into patients. It has been well established that most of the non-human embryos produced through nuclear transfer cloning are abnormal, with a deficiency in several of the genes (imprinted and non imprinted) necessary to the development of the early embryo. (9) Embryonic stem cells harvested from abnormal and unfit embryos will carry their "epigenetic defects" and transmit at least part of them to their daughter cells. The transfer of such cloned embryonic stem cells into a patient would be therefore extremely hazardous: these cells might provoke genetic disorders, or initiate leukemias or other cancers. Moreover, a non-human primate model of cloning, which would be necessary in order to conduct experiments to establish safety before attempting therapeutic experiments in human beings, has yet to be developed (10). 5) The health benefits of therapeutic cloning are hypothetical, in as much as the method itself remains mainly a hypothesis. Thus the crescendo of hyperboles extolling the promise of this type of research might in the end undermine the very cause it pretends to serve (11). Indeed, even putting aside fundamental ethical considerations other than the patient's expectations, the present state of "therapeutic cloning" precludes, now and in the near future, any clinical application.

6) Scientists, philosophers, politicians, and humanists agree on the need for an international ban on reproductive cloning. From a biological standpoint, bringing cloned human embryos to birth would be dangerous for the human species. This asexual form of reproduction would bypass the usual "shuffling" of genes that makes every individual unique in his/her genome and would arbitrarily fix the genotype in one particular configuration, (12) with predictable negative genetic consequences for the human genepool. It would also be prohibitively dangerous for the individual clone. (13) From an anthropological standpoint, most people recognize that cloning is offensive to human dignity. Cloning would, indeed, bring a person to life, but through a laboratory manipulation in the order of pure zootechnology. This person would enter the world as a "copy" (even if only a biological copy) of another being. While ontologically unique and worthy of respect, the manner in which a cloned human being has been brought into the world would mark that person more as an artifact rather than a fellow human being, a replacement rather than an unique individual, an instrument of someone else's will rather than an end in himself or herself, a replaceable consumer commodity rather than an unrepeatable event in human history. Thus, disrespect for the dignity of the human person is inherent in cloning. 7) However, some would like to leave the prospect of "therapeutic cloning" out of this proposed international prohibition, as if it were a process different from the reproductive one. The truth is reproductive cloning and "therapeutic" or "research" cloning are not two different kinds of cloning: they involve the same technical cloning process and differ only in the goals being sought. With reproductive cloning, one aims to implant the cloned embryo in the uterus of a surrogate mother in order to "produce" a child; with "research" cloning, one aims to utilize immediately the cloned embryo, without allowing it to develop, thus eliminating it in the process. One can even affirm that any type of cloning is "reproductive" in its first stage, because it has to produce, through the cloning process, an individual autonomous new organism, endowed with a specific and unique identity, before attempting any other operation with that embryo. 8) "Therapeutic cloning" is not ethically neutral. Indeed, ethically speaking, it would even be worse than the "reproductive cloning." In "reproductive" cloning, one at least gives the newly produced human being, innocent of his/her origin, a chance to develop and be born. In "therapeutic" cloning, one uses the newly produced human being as mere laboratory material. Such instrumental use of a human being gravely offends human dignity and human kind. The term "dignity", as used in this Position Paper and in the Charter of the United Nations, does not refer to a concept of worth based on the skills and powers of individuals and the value that others may attribute to them a value one might call "attributed dignity". The notion of attributed dignity allows for hierarchical, unequal, arbitrary, and even discriminatory judgments. Dignity is used here to mean the intrinsic worth that is commonly and equally shared by all human beings, whatever their social, intellectual or physical conditions may be. It is this dignity that obliges all of us to respect every human being, whatever his or her condition, all the more if he or she is in need of protection or care. Dignity is the basis of all human rights. We are bound to respect the rights of others because we first recognize their dignity. 9) Honesty suggests that if one specific course of research has already demonstrated conditions for success and raises no ethical questions, it should be pursued before embarking on another that has shown little prospect of success and raises ethical concerns. Resources in biological investigations are limited. "Therapeutic cloning" is an unproven theory that may well turn out to be a dramatic waste of time and money. Good sense and the need for goal-oriented, serious basic research therefore calls on the world's biomedical community to allocate the necessary funding to research using "adult" stem cells. 10) The world cannot take two different roads: the road of those who are willing to sacrifice or commercialize human beings for the sake of a privileged few, and the road of those who cannot accept this abuse. For its own sake, humanity needs a common basis - a common understanding of humanity and a common understanding of the fundamental bases upon which all our ideas about human rights depend. It

is incumbent upon the United Nations to exert every effort in the search for this basis, so that human beings may be respected as they are. To bring forward the project for an international, global prohibition of human cloning is part of this UN mission and duty. From the Vatican, September 27, 2004

1) Körbling M, Estrov Z. Adult stem cells for tissue repair - a new therapeutic concept? New England Journal of Medicine 2003; 349: 570582. Bunting K, Hawley R. Integrative molecular and developmental biology of adult stem cells Biology of the Cell 95 (2003) 563-578. Wang J, Kimura T, Asada R, Harada S, Yokota S, Kawamoto Y, Fujimura Y, Tsuji T, Ikehara S, Sonoda Y, 2003a. SCID repopulating cell activity of human cord blood-derived CD34- cells assured by intra-bone marrow injection. Blood 101, 2924-2931; Gluckman E, Broxmeyer HE, Auerbach AD et al. (1989). Hematopoietic reconstitution in a patient with Fanconi's anemia by means of umbilical-cord blood from an HLA-identical sibling. N. Engl. J. Med. 321, 1174-1178. 2) Wollert KC, Meyer GP, Lotz J, Ringes-Lichtenberg S, Lippolt P, Breidenbach C, Fichtner S, Korte T, Hornig B, Messinger D, Arseniev L, Hertenstein B, Ganser A, Drexler H. Intracoronary autologous bone-marrow cell transfer after myocardial infarction: the BOOST randomized controlled clinical trial. Lancet 2004: 364: 141-148. Beltrami, AP, Barlucchi, L, Torella D, Baker M, Limana F, Chimenti S, Kasahara H, Rota M, Musso E, Urbanek K, Leri A, Kajstura J, Nadal-Ginard B, Anversa P, 2003. Adult cardiac stem cells are multipotent and support myocardial regeneration. Cell 114, 763-776. Stamm C, Westphal B, Kleine HD, Petzsch M, Kittner C, Klinge H, Schumichen C, Nienaber CA, Freund M, Steinhoff G, 2003. Autologous bone-marrow stem-cell transplantation for myocardial regeneration. Lancet 361, 45-46. 3) Cfr for exemple: Mezey E, Key S, Vogelsang G, Szalayova I, Lange GD, Crain B, 2003. Transplanted bone marrow generates new neurons in human brains. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA 100, 1364-1369; Vescovi AL, Martino G, 2003. Injection of adult neurospheres induces recovery in a chronic model of multiple sclerosis. Nature 422, 688-694; Hess D, Li L, Martin M, Sakano S, Hill D, Strutt B, Thyssen S, Gray DA, Bhatia M., 2003. Bone marrow-derived stem cells initiate pancreatic regeneration. Nat. Biotechnol. 21, 763-770 Horb ME, Shen CN, Tosh D, Slack J.M., 2003. Experimental conversion of liver to pancreas. Curr. Biol. 13, 105-115. 4) Cfr Stojkovic M. Lako M, Strachan T, Murdoch1 A. Derivation, growth and applications of human embryonic stem cells Reproduction (2004) 128 259-267. 5) Freed CR. Will embryonic stem cells be a useful source of dopamine neurons for transplant into patients with Parkinson's disease. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2002; 99: 1755-1757. 6) Tsai RY, McKay RD. A nucleolar mechanism controlling cell proliferation in stem cells and cancer cells. Genes and Development 2002: 16: 2991-3003; Wakitani S, Takaoka K, Hattori T, Miyazawa N, Iwanaga T, Takeda S, Watanabe TK, Tanigami A. Embryonic stem cells injected into the mouse knee joint form teratomas and subsequently destroy the joint. Rheumatology 2003; 42: 162-165; Erdö F, Bührle C, Blunk J, Hoehn M, Xia Y, Fleischmann B, Föcking M, Küstermann E, Kolossov E, Hescheler J, Hossmann K-A, Trapp T. Host-dependent tumorigenesis of embryonic stem cell transplantation in experimental stroke. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism 2003; 23: 780785.

7) Marx J. Mutant stem cells may seed cancer. Science 2003; 301: 1308-1310. 8) The fact that these epigenetic factors that contribute to the development of embryonic stem cells in the embryo are also the one that contribute to the development of cancers in the adult is troubling. In fact, stem cells have been found in tumors. Normile D. Cell proliferation. Common control for cancer, stem cells. Science 2002; 298: 1869; Valk-Lingbeek ME, Bruggeman SW, Van Lohuizen M. Stem cells and cancer: the polycomb connection. Cell 2004; 118: 409-418. 9) Bortvin A, Eggan K, Skaletsky H, Akutsu H, Berry DL, Yanagimachi R, Page DC, Jaenisch R. Incomplete reactivation of Oct4-related genes in mouse embryos cloned from somatic nuclei, Development 2003: 130: 1673-1680; Mann MR, Chung YG, Nolen LD, Verona RI, Latham KE, Bartolomei MS, Disruption of imprinted gene methylation and expression in cloned preimplantation stage mouse embryos. Biology of Reproduction 2003; 69: 902-914; Boiani M, Eckardt S, Leu NA, Scholer HR, McLaughlin KJ, Pluripotency deficit in clones overcome by clone-clone aggregation: epigenetic complementation? EMBO Journal 2003; 22: 5304-5312; Fulka J, Miyashita N, Nagai T, Ogura A, Do cloned mammals skip a reprogramming step? Nature Biotechnology 2004; 22: 25-26; Mann MR, Lee SS, Doherty AS, Verona RI, Nolen LD, Schultz RM, Bartolomei MS, Selective loss of imprinting in the placenta following preimplantation development in culture. Development 2004; 131: 3727-3735. 10) Simerly C, Dominko T, Navara C, Payne C, Capuano S, Gosman G, Chong KY, Takahashi D, Chace C, Compton D, Hewitson L, Schatten G, Molecular correlates of primate nuclear transfer failures. Science 2003; 300: 297; Wolf DP. An opinion on human reproductive cloning. Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics 2001: 18: 474-475. 11) Knight J. Biologists fear cloning hype will undermine stem-cell research. Nature 2004; 430: 817. 12) During the meiotic phase, there is a segregation of alleles with subsequent random assortment of homologues. This "shuffling" of genes, which is the basis for genetic identity, prevents the occurrence of severe genetic abnormalities. There is no such healthy "shuffling" of genes in nuclear transfer cloning. 13) Healy DL, Weston G, Pera MF, Rombauts L, Trounson AO. Human cloning, 2001. Human Fertility 2002; 5: 75-7.


Thank you, Mr Chairman. The position of the Holy See is well known. The Holy See supports and urges a world-wide and comprehensive ban on human embryonic cloning for both reproductive and scientific purposes. Human embryonic cloning, even when done in the name of bettering humanity, is still an affront to the dignity of the human person. Embryonic cloning objectifies human sexuality and commodifies human life. As Pope John Paul II recently stated, "Human life cannot be seen as an object to do with as we please, but as the most sacred and inviolable earthly reality. There can be no peace when this most basic good is not protected.... To [the list of world injustices] we must add irresponsible practices of genetic engineering, such as the cloning and use of human embryos for research, which are justified by an illegitimate appeal to freedom, to cultural progress, to the advancement of mankind. When the weakest and most vulnerable members of society are subjected to such atrocities, the very idea of the human family, built on the value of the person, on trust, respect and mutual support, is dangerously eroded. A civilization based on love and peace must oppose these experiments, which are unworthy of man" (World Day of Peace Message, 1 January 2001, No. 19). 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. 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. Human embryonic cloning must be prohibited in all cases regardless of the aims that are pursued. The Holy See supports research on stem cells of post-natal origin since this approach - as has been demonstrated by the most recent scientific studies - is a sound, promising, and ethical way to achieve tissue transplantation and cell therapy that could benefit humanity. As His Holiness, Pope John Paul has stated, "In any event, [scientific] methods that fail to respect the dignity and value of the person must always be avoided. I am thinking in particular of attempts at human cloning with a view to obtaining organs for transplants: these techniques, insofar as they involve the manipulation and destruction of human embryos, are not morally acceptable, even when their proposed goal is good in itself. 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. 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" (Address of Pope John Paul II to the 18 International Congress of the Transplantation Society, 29 August 2000, No. 8). Embryonic cloning accomplished for biomedical research or producing stem cells contributes to assaults against the dignity and integrity of the human person. Cloning a human embryo, while intentionally planning its demise, would institutionalize the deliberate, systemic destruction of nascent human life in the name of unknown "good" of potential therapy or scientific discovery. This prospect is repugnant to most people including those who properly advocate for advancement in science and medicine. Since embryonic cloning generates a new human life geared not for a future of human flourishing but for a future destined to servitude and certain destruction, it is a process that cannot be justified on the grounds that it may be able to assist other human beings. Embryonic cloning violates the fundamental norms of human rights law. "Since 1988, two great global divides have grown deeper: the first is the ever more tragic phenomenon of poverty and social discrimination ..., and the other, more recent and less widely condemned, concerns the unborn child ... as the subject of experimentation and technological intervention (through techniques of artificial procreation, the use of "superfluous embryos', so-called therapeutic cloning, etc.). Here there is a risk of a new form of racism, for the development of these techniques could lead to the creation of a

"sub-category of human beings', destined basically for the convenience of certain others. This would be a new and terrible form of slavery. 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" (Holy See's Contribution Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance - Durban, South Africa, 31 August to 7 September 2001, No. 21). Since the founding of the United Nations, the centrality of the welfare and protection of all human beings to the work of this organization is beyond question. The safekeeping of present and succeeding generations of human beings and the advancement of fundamental human rights is critical to the work of the UN. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights reiterates the sanctity of all human life and the compelling need to protect it from harm. In this regard, Article 3 of the Declaration asserts that everyone has the right to life. With life comes hope in the future - a hope that the Universal Declaration protects by acknowledging that all human beings are equal in dignity and rights. With the right to life comes liberty and security of the person. To ensure this, the Universal Declaration confirms that each human being is an entity who is guaranteed a future filled with the hope of self-determination. To further this end, conditions that degrade any human being with servile status and deny the fundamental rights to life and self-determination are reprehensible and unacceptable. Regardless of the objective for which it was done, human embryonic cloning conflicts with the international legal norms that protect human dignity. International law guarantees the right to life to all, not just some, human beings. Facilitating the formation of human beings who are destined for destruction, the intentional destruction of cloned human beings once the particular research goal is reached, consigning any human being to an existence of either involuntary servitude or slavery, and conducting involuntary medical and biological experimentation on human beings are morally wrong and inadmissible. Human embryonic cloning also poses great threats to the rule of law by enabling those responsible for cloning to select and propagate certain human characteristics based on gender, race, etc. and eliminate others. This would be akin to the practice of eugenics leading to the institution of a "super race" and the inevitable discrimination against those born through the natural process. Embryonic cloning also denies those subjects who come into being for research purposes international rights to due process and equal protection of the law. In addition, it must be remembered that state practice and the development of regional treaties have acknowledged that human embryonic cloning conducted for any end is contrary to the rule of law. Mr Chairman, we must remember that every process involving human cloning is in itself a reproductive process in that it generates a human being at the very beginning of his or her development, i.e., a human embryo. Thank you, Mr Chairman.

PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY Cardinal ALFONSO LÓPEZ TRUJILLO President of the Pontifical Council for the Family

Cloning: the disappearance of direct parenthood and denial of the family

The Pontifical Council for the Family considers every attempt to clarify the challenge human cloning represents to be appropriate, aware of the importance of this issue and with a view to the imminent resumption of work to draw up an International Convention against the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings by the United Nations Organization. It is a question of contributing to a satisfactory presentation of the problem, of pointing out the negative ethical aspects and meanings of human cloning which are contrary to the dignity of the person and the family. This is the aim of this presentation, which attempts to set out some aspects of cloning to inform the general public. For several decades now, a whole series of biological techniques have been continuously developing. Their application to human procreation has surfaced many ethical problems and increasingly points to the need for an integral anthropology of the human being and a renewed approach to the role of the family for humanity. In particular, recent attempts to clone a human being have raised fundamental questions regarding the family: what it means to be parents and to be a child, the dignity of the human embryo, and the truth and meaning of human sexuality. Today, the slow and subtle dissociation taking place between the concepts of human life and that of the family, which actually is the natural place where life originates and develops, is one of the most nefarious consequences of the culture of death. Indeed, as the Instruction Donum Vitae, published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, affirms: "The human person must be accepted in his parents' act of union and love; the generation of a child must therefore be the fruit of that mutual giving which is realized in the conjugal act, wherein the spouses cooperate as servants and not as masters in the work of the Creator who is Love. In reality, the origin of a human person is the result of an act of giving. The one conceived must be the fruit of his parents' love. He cannot be desired or conceived as the product of an intervention of medical or biological techniques; that would be equivalent to reducing him to an object of scientific technology". The troubling possibility of the cloning of human beings for "reproductive" purposes through the technical substitution of responsible procreation is contrary to the dignity of sonship. Even more troubling are the pressing demands of groups of researchers for the legalization of cloning in order to subject the human embryos "produced" to manipulation and experimentation, and subsequently to destroy them. This state of affairs highlights a serious deterioration, both in the recognition of the dignity of life and of human procreation and in the knowledge of the irreplaceable and fundamental role and value of the family, not only for the individual but for all humanity. 1. Cloning, a possibility open to modern biology The term "cloning" refers to the technique used frequently in biology to reproduce cells and micro-organisms, both vegetable and animal, and, more recently, to reproduce the sequences of genetic information contained in biological material, such as fragments of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), which contain a wide range of codified nuclear genetic information. It is necessary to complete this description with a more exact definition of the cloning technique in order to gain a more adequate knowledge of its nature. Regarding its purposes, cloning is a technical procedure of reproduction through which the genetic material of a cell or organism (vegetable

or animal) is manipulated in order to obtain an individual or a colony of individuals, each one identical to the first. What distinguishes cloning from other similar techniques is that in cloning, reproduction takes place without sexual union (asexual), and without fertilization or the union of the gametes (agametic); it results in a group of individuals biologically identical to the donor who provided the nuclear genetic heritage. The individuals obtained by cloning are called clones, a term used to indicate that each and every one has the same genetic information; they are not, therefore, descendents only from their progenitor (that is, there has been no genetic sexual combination of their progenitors). This is consequently a type of reproduction that can artificially replace - in the animal species (of sexual reproduction) - natural fertilization or the union of gametes (the cells through which reproduction naturally occurs), with the resulting advantages, defects and dangers. Taking its technical realization into consideration, "cloning" in the strictest sense, on the basis of the prospect of the procedure used, means reproduction obtained through so-called "nuclear transfer". When scientists allude to cloning in the strict sense of the term, they usually identify it with nuclear transfer: "Fertilization properly socalled is replaced by the "fusion' of a nucleus taken from a somatic cell of the individual one wishes to clone, or from the somatic cell itself, with an oocyte from which the nucleus has been removed, that is, an oocyte lacking the maternal genome. Since the nucleus of the somatic cell contains the whole genetic inheritance, the individual obtained possesses - except for possible alterations - the genetic identity of the nucleus' donor. It is this essential genetic correspondence with the donor that produces in the new individual the somatic replica or copy of the donor itself". Also known as "cloning" (or "semi-cloning" or other such terms) are broader and less appropriate techniques of asexual and agametic reproduction that in some ways resemble nuclear transfer, especially because of the results they obtain: a genetically identical descendence. These include techniques such as artificial parthenogenesis or embryonic fission. There are no particular ethical objections to cloning non-human specimens (to obtain offspring from them) and biological material (for various uses) if it is responsibly carried out, just as there are no ethical objections to the traditional and sometimes ancient horticultural practices that used this sort of technique which, moreover, has considerable advantages. The use of cloning in zoology would undoubtedly bring great benefits. Improvements, for example, in the reproduction of domestic animals, a reduction in the production costs of certain types of meat, the possible application of cloning to save species from becoming extinct, progress in the conditions of experimentation and research in pharmacology, all make it advisable to continue research by applying cloning techniques to animal species. In spite of this, it must be pointed out that these techniques are still in the trial stage and their results must be carefully assessed. Could they have unforeseen consequences in the future? Could they, for example, produce dangerous genetic malformations, today unknown or insufficiently known? To what extent might these involve alterations to the ecology in the medium or long term? Could uncontrolled recourse to cloning lead to unleashing new diseases and malformations? 2. Human "reproductive' or "therapeutic' cloning By now it is common knowledge that attempts are being made to apply cloning to "produce" human beings, to use them in research and

eventually, in medical treatment. The mass media, science fiction and a certain type of popular literature have contributed to raising false expectations about cloning, given its actual technical possibilities. Despite this, however, it is certain that (more or less scientifically exact) investigations and hypotheses have been advanced that aim to apply cloning experiments to the human being. Recently, this fact has caught the attention of public authorities worldwide, as well as of those charged with a special responsibility for the common good. Two facets of the problem of cloning human embryos, as it appears today, have acquired a special prominence: "reproductive" cloning and "therapeutic" cloning (or for the purpose of scientific research). The difference between the two is seen in the purpose for which the cloning is intended: the complete development of an embryo through implantation in the uterus is the goal of "reproductive" cloning, whereas "therapeutic" cloning requires the use of the embryo in its pre-implantation stage in research for therapeutic ends. Therefore, the purposes of cloning would be: 1. To obtain human offspring and to plan a more effective technique for assisted procreation, with greater and better possibilities of application for certain couples ("reproductive" cloning). 2. To obtain, through this technique, what are known as "synthetic" embryos or "cell clusters" (in its earliest stages, every cell of the human embryo is totipotent or multipotent), and hence to extract stem cells without the implantation of the embryo in the maternal uterus. The stem cells extracted, properly checked, have the potential to develop into specific cells: nerve, cardiac, muscle, liver cells, etc. ("therapeutic" cloning or cloning for the purposes of scientific research). 3. Toward the simultaneous global prohibition of all human cloning? It is obvious that the application of science to the area of human procreation concerns all society, and not solely the scientific community. Thus, it was not long before work began on drafting legislation in which, without coercing the legitimate development of science, the ethical and legal boundaries of its application would be defined once and for all and the possible cloning of human beings forbidden. In recent years, laws have been passed in some countries in which human "reproductive" cloning is strictly forbidden, while research on human cloning has so far been permitted, on condition that it is intended for research and therapeutic use (as in the United Kingdom). In other countries, instead, every kind of cloning has been banned (Germany), or parliamentary bills have been introduced with a view to prohibit any type of cloning (United States). Concern about this topic is undoubtedly growing and efforts have been redoubled to obtain the prohibition of human cloning, not only at a national level but also through the instruments of international law. What prompted this debate was the determination to forbid human reproductive cloning. Since 1993, the International Bioethics Committee has been involved in the issue. The General Conference of UNESCO approved a "Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights", later adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1998, which states that cloning for reproductive purposes is contrary to human dignity. The 56th General Assembly of the United Nations (12 December 2001) decided to set up a Committee that would carry its work even further, to introduce the ban on cloning through an international legal instrument and, specifically, an international Convention. At first, only a prohibition of reproductive cloning was considered. In August 2001, Germany and France asked Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, for a project that would forbid it everywhere in the world. By the end of 2001, reproductive cloning was prohibited in 24 countries, including Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, India, Japan, Brazil and South Africa.

Recent developments in the international situation and the initiative of certain countries in favour not only of the prohibition of reproductive cloning (the proposal of a partial ban), but of a simultaneous global prohibition of cloning both for purposes of reproduction and for research and therapy (the proposal of a total ban), represent a significant change in the work underway for an International Convention against cloning. Particularly important in this regard are: the United States law of 27 February 2003 that totally forbids cloning (currently under examination by the Senate); the resolution of the German Bundestag of 7 February 2003, to promote international initiatives to prohibit it completely (not only partially, as has so far been the case); the French project of 30 January 2003, for a reform of the law on biomedicine that will ban it totally (which is still being debated); and the request for its total ban by the European Parliament on 10 April 2003 (currently being examined by the European Commission). All these recent initiatives aim to ban cloning completely, and not merely reproductive cloning. Today this international atmosphere, different from that of a few years ago, is now reinforced by an initiative that the United States and Spain have sponsored and presented to the United Nations. Its goal is an international Convention that will put a total ban on all cloning. There are precedents of international instruments that have targeted this prohibition. In the context of the Council of Europe, after the Paris Accord (12 January 1997), work began on an anti-cloning Convention. The European Parliament accepted and adopted the project of the Council of Europe for an "explicit prohibition of every form of human cloning", and in the meantime, it has asked "researchers and doctors participating in research on the human genome under no circumstances to intervene in the cloning of human beings before a legally binding prohibition of it comes into force". The European Convention on Human Rights and Biotechnology, also known as the "Oviedo Convention", and the additional Protocol on the prohibition of cloning human beings was the result of this work and specifically forbade "the production of human embryos for research purposes" (Art. 18.1). Thus, the ratification of the Oviedo Convention, by certain European States had already begun in 1999. The European Parliament issued another declaration on 22 November 2001 in favour of the prohibition of every type of human cloning, this time throughout the world. This was an amendment to a report on biotechnology in which the Parliament "insistently repeats that there must be a universal and specific prohibition, at the level of the United Nations, on the cloning of human beings at any stage in their growth or development". The Parliament then invited the European Commission and the member States of the European Parliament to continue in this direction. In both April 2002 and February 2003, the votes of legislators showed that they were in favour of a ban on cloning for the purpose of extracting stem cells from the embryo. The Bundestag (February 2003) asked the German Government to change Germany's position at the United Nations by opting for the total ban of cloning because it represents an assault on human dignity, given that there is no substantial moral distinction between reproductive and therapeutic cloning, which both result in the creation of living human embryos. 4. Why is human cloning, reproductive or therapeutic, ethically unacceptable? Concern about the possibility of human cloning is well justified and there are very serious reasons for it. The various attempts to introduce an overall, simultaneous ban on cloning throughout the world is a response to this concern. Despite the great interest shown in the realization of these projects and the expectations they have given rise to in large circles (scientists, groups of sick people hoping for new therapeutic resources, professional associations, etc.), some of which, it must be said, are more realistic than others, it would be irresponsible not to weigh carefully the objections to cloning that are backed by technical and ethical considerations and profound anthropological reasoning.

1. Reproductive cloning With regard to attempts to clone a human being for reproductive purposes, the foreseeable scientific obstacles are very serious, to the point that many experts have expressed strong doubts as to the actual viability of a truly scientific project in this regard. Despite the recent, more or less sensational announcements by the mass media, for the time being there is no real, scientifically valid proof that shows beyond all doubt that these attempts would be successful. Moreover, even were such attempts likely to be successful in the future, consideration must be given to the very grave risk of illnesses, genetic defects or monstrosities for which those who produced them would be responsible. For example, the nuclear transfer technique has so far not led to any results other than a vast quantity of embryos unable to develop correctly. On rare occasions when birth is obtained, the animals are frequently afflicted with diseases and sometimes with various monstrous malformations, so that their premature death is quite common. This seems to be due to defects in the genetic "reprogramming" of the nuclear transfer. It is clear that in these conditions cloning for "reproductive" purposes must not be applied to the human species because of the serious risk it would involve and the very high mortality rate it entails. If the immorality of reproductive cloning is predetermined by the actual technical circumstances, the ethical obstacles to human reproductive cloning are in themselves insurmountable and glaringly at variance with the common moral sense of humanity. Already in the 1980s the philosopher Hans Jonas addressed the ethical problems that the eventual cloning of a human person would pose. Cloning would mean the loss of what Jonas calls the "right of ignorance", that is, the subjective right to know that one person is not the replica of another, and a person's right not to know anything about his future development (such as, for example, future illnesses, psychological development, the foreseeable moment of natural death, etc.). As Jonas says, this "ignorance" is in a certain sense a "condition for the possibility" of human freedom, and to encroach upon it would mean placing an enormous burden on the individual's autonomy. The human clone would be brutally conditioned by knowing that he was a copy of another person, because uncertainty is an essential ingredient of the human effort to choose freely. Without the responsibility of uncertainty, according to Jonas, the clone would foresee his every move, his own illnesses, and correct his future psychological attitudes in an unremitting, hopeless effort to separate himself from his "original", who would always be an omnipresent shadow and model, and the track he would be forced to follow or to avoid. "Being a copy" would become part and parcel of his own identity, his own being and his own conscience. Thus, a wound would be inflicted on the human right to live one's life as an original and unique discovery, basically, a discovery of themselves. As a result, the clone's way through life would become the burdensome implementation of an inhuman and alienating "programme of control". Thus, Jonas considers the cloning "method" to be "the most tyrannical and at the same time enslaving form of genetic manipulation; its goal is not the arbitrary modification of all that is inherited but, precisely, its arbitrary establishment, which is at odds with the strategy that prevails in nature". The risk of a eugenic use of cloning (both reproductive and therapeutic), in order to "improve" the race or to select personal characteristics deemed "superior" to others, is not (despite the assertions of its supporters) a very distant possibility. In the Resolution on cloning of 12 March 1997, the European Parliament declared that it was "firmly convinced that no society can justify or tolerate the cloning of human beings under any circumstances: neither for experimental purposes, nor in the treatment of infertility, nor in diagnosis prior to tissue implantation or transplantation, nor for any other purpose, since it constitutes a grave violation of the

fundamental human rights and denies the principle of the equality of human beings by permitting a eugenic and racist selection of the human species; it is an offence to the dignity of the person, and furthermore requires experimentation on human beings (B). In a second Resolution on cloning of 15 January 1998, the European Parliament, in requesting the prohibition of human cloning by way of experimentation for diagnosis "or for any other purpose", even describes cloning as "anti-ethical" and "morally repugnant" (B). 2. Therapeutic cloning Advocates of the therapeutic cloning of human beings often describe it as a breakthrough that would benefit genetic therapy as a remedy for diseases thus far beyond the scope of medicine. However, these possible (and disputable) positive consequences do not basically change the moral character of cloning in itself. There is a close objective continuity between reproductive and therapeutic cloning. In both, a human embryo is "produced", but therapeutic cloning envisions its subsequent destruction in the extraction of embryonic stem cells or biological material for use in treatment. Ample uncertainty continues to surround the technical aspects of therapeutic cloning. On the one hand, people are saying that cloning would be a source of embryonic stem cells (which, since they are not differentiated, and because of their greater "plasticity", would be interesting from the biological point of view). However, people do not always take sufficiently into account the precarious condition of the cloned embryo and the high probability of producing various neoplasias (cancers and tumours) in the candidate for treatment into whom the cells would be introduced. This is why many researchers suggest that research into adult stem cells might lead to greater success, without the ethical limitations that the use of embryonic stem cells involves. On the other hand, it is also necessary to consider the considerable practical difficulties that the immunological rejection of these embryonic stem cells would create. These problems further weaken the argument of those who claim that human cloning can justifiably be used in such research. To get round the immunological rejection of embryonic stem cells by cloning of an embryo implies exploiting the human embryo to the full. As Elisabeth Monfort underlines, "The use of embryonic stem cells necessarily involves the technique of therapeutic cloning to prevent tissue rejection. To refuse cloning and accept the use of embryonic stem cells... is an irresponsible and even hypocritical stance that is certainly intended to reassure those who still have doubts". Therapeutic cloning to obtain stem cells not only implies the production of an embryo, but also its manipulation and subsequent destruction. It is unacceptable to consider a human being, at any stage of his development, as a store of spare "material" or a source of tissue and organs, like "spare parts". The moral complexity of cloning can be better understood if we take into account that what it would produce, manipulate and destroy are not "things", but human beings like us. One way of facing this issue would be to put ourselves in the shoes not of the scientists who produce the clones, but of the embryo (which is what we too once were). Surely we would not want to enter the world in a laboratory rather than as the offspring of our parents' union. Nor would it be acceptable to be the sole survivor among tens or hundreds of our twin brothers or sisters, discarded as "defective". It would be even less agreeable to be engineered in order to produce "parts" that another needs at a later date (kidneys, for example); or to die after this short and painful birth that was "produced" precisely for this end. Of course, the use of stem cells for cell therapy could pave the way to a whole series of beneficial types of research that today offer very interesting prospects; but the use of embryonic stem cells for this goal (and, consequently, of therapeutic cloning to obtain them), has proven to be a scientific process that is unreliable, difficult and ethically unacceptable. On the other hand, when research on adult stem cells, satisfactory both from the ethical and technical viewpoints, is carried out in a dignified and responsible way and subjected to ethical criteria,

it represents the way forward and a future of hope that raises no special ethical objections. 3. Technical, ethical and anthropological objections to human cloning Certain arguments that make it possible to go more deeply into the rational reasons of the immorality of cloning, show the ethical continuity between "reproductive" and "therapeutic" cloning. A deep complementarity links these arguments since they develop various rational, ethical aspects that derive from the ontological dignity of the human embryo, as they are interconnected with one another and with the anthropological and ethical status of the embryo, which must be the starting point in the whole complex issue. a. Irrefutable probability of the human character of the embryos obtained Procuring human embryos for cloning, either for reproduction or for therapy and research, would imply destroying a large number of them. For example, in order to obtain Dolly the sheep, hundreds of embryos were "wasted". And this is not all: the high risk of transmitting diseases or malformations that this technique would involve are an additional reason. This is especially true with regard to "therapeutic" cloning. Hence, it is obvious that the harvesting of embryonic stem cells necessarily passes through the production (and subsequent destruction) of an embryo, which many researchers themselves no longer insist on defining as an "accumulation of cells", a term coined to avoid the anthropological and consequently ethical question posed by the embryo. In fact, researchers acknowledge that these techniques begin by producing what they call "early embryo", that is, an embryo in its initial state. But then a question arises: what is this embryo? What would its ethical and juridical status be? The question points to another that is inherent in it: what is the status of every human embryo? The assertion that the human being must be respected and treated as a person from the very moment of conception is vital to a correct explanation of the problem of the identity and status of the human embryo. "The formulation in these terms of the fundamental ethical duty to the unborn child has become vitally necessary, because of the problems raised by biotechnological development". The expression "pre-embryo" was used precisely to avoid the fundamental anthropological and ethical question concerning the status of the embryo. "The problem", people say, "is that the embryo in its initial phase has no individuality or identity since, being formed of totipotent cells, one or more human individuals cannot yet be identified in it". But let us use our reason. The embryo (we are referring to the so-called "pre-embryo"), is a being. By this word "being" we mean an existing, living reality susceptible of its own biological development, differentiated and autonomous (it possesses in itself the capacity for growth) as regards the adequate and necessary means for its subsistence and for "nourishing" its own autonomous development. In addition, and in particular, it develops for its own sake, without having any "role" external to its own life. A cell is not an individual being because it functions as a part of a whole; its development is part of the development of the whole of which it forms a part. On the other hand, the embryo is not part of any whole, it is not fundamental to the (biological) life of the mother; if we "reproduce" embryos in the laboratory, as such they have no "use" unless we plant them in a female uterus to continue the biological cycle that leads to their birth or, for this same purpose, unless they spend the whole of the gestation period in the laboratory - although it is true that with time, since they have not been implanted, they will be "rejected", "destroyed" or simply "killed", terms that in this case are synomous. In fact, if the question regarding the embryo is anthropologically and ethically precise, it must also be said that from the ethical viewpoint, there is a basic question that is very important for ethics: what isn't it? in other words: can we be certain that the embryo thus generated is

not human? From the moral viewpoint, the admission alone of the probability (that none of the current studies has been able to deny) that we have before us a human being, a product of the cloning technique, has crucial weight. It is obvious that someone looking at a shadow who is unsure whether it is an animal or a man and who fires a shot, is guilty of murder. Before firing, he is morally and strictly bound to make sure that it is not a person. This ethical principle seems to have been infringed in these practices in which the harvesting of human embryonic stem cells must necessarily pass through the creation and destruction of an embryo in the first phases of its life. b. The dignity of the human embryo The result of fertilization is a new totipotent, unicellular biological individual called a "zygote". It must be recognized that cloning has exactly the same result as that of fertilization. There are no grounds for asserting, in spite of genetic abnormalities, that cloning does not produce a zygote. It is then necessary to establish a close analogy between fertilization and cloning. It should also be noted that there is no rational reason to deny to embryos obtained through cloning the same rights as those to which embryos obtained through the process of artificial fertilization are entitled, and therefore, even more justifiably, to which all embryos begotten through the natural process of human fertilization are entitled. What, for example, would be the essential difference between them, given the totipotentiality of their cell makeup that is not disputed by anyone? The development of the embryo is the first stage of the human individual. Father Angelo Serra considers the three main properties that characterize the human epigenetic process, which, according to C.H. Waddington, can be described as "the continuous emergence of a form of preceding stages": in other words: 1) coordination. "Embryonic development, from the fusion of the gametes or "syngamy', until the appearance of the embryonic disk at or after 14 days, is a process that manifests a coordinated sequence and the interaction of molecular and cellular activity, under the control of the new genome". This property requires the rigorous unity of the subject that is developing. It is not a cluster of cells but a real individual. 2) Continuity. Syngamy begins to a new cycle of life. "Everything would indicate that an uninterrupted and gradual differentiation of a very specific human individual takes place, according to a single, rigorously defined programme that begins at the zygote stage". This quality of continuity implies and establishes the unicity or uniqueness of the new human being. 3) Gradualness. The final form must be reached gradually. This growth is permanently oriented from the zygote stage to the final form because of an intrinsic epigenetic law. Every human embryo keeps its own identity, individuality and unity. The living embryo that originates in the fusion of the gametes is not a mere accumulation of available cells, but a real, developing human individual. Yes, from that instant it is a child! The embryo is a human individual. The abusive introduction of the term pre-embryo was a trick to pacify consciences and allow experimentation until the end of the stage of implantation, that is, in the human species, about 14 days after fertilization has taken place. Thus, the convenient conclusion has been that the embryo would not exist for the first two weeks following fertilization. c. The embryo has human dignity, even when it consists of only one cell The refusal, therefore, to recognize the human condition of the embryo obtained through cloning (whether for reproductive purposes or to obtain embryonic stem cells from it) in the first days of its development is part of the discussion on the human embryo's anthropological and ethical status. These embryos are denied their individual character and it is said that they have no "human life". This is a contradiction. If we are dealing with embryos and not merely "oocytes that have divided" (and are on their way to extinction), then they are human individuals, endowed with human life, and not "clusters" of cells. The researcher I. Wilmut (famous for obtaining Dolly, the first cloned

sheep; today he is a determined opponent of the reproductive cloning of humans, but clearly favours cloning for therapeutic purposes), recognizes that "when an embryo is created, an automatic-pilot takes over its initial development". If the embryo were the "cluster of cells", as some say it is, it would not be its own "automatic-pilot", it would have no autonomy nor a unitary teleology of its own that it clearly demonstrates it possesses. From the moment of its conception, in fertilization, the embryo shows that it is an autonomous entity that immediately begins developing and grows gradually, continuously and harmoniously; and the constant teleological integration and cooperation of all its cells is part of this growth. It is an organism that develops, without interruption, in accordance with the programme outlined in its genome. Thus, without any outside intervention it becomes in succession a zygote, morula, blastocyst, an implanted embryo, a fetus, a child, an adolescent and an adult. If this happens in natural fertilization, why would not the same thing happen in cloning? This point presents a contradiction since it refuses to recognize that the result of cloning is equivalent to the result of fertilization. This distinction (cloned-embryo; fertilized-embryo) that refers back to the false distinction between the so-called "pre-embryo" and the embryo, an erroneous distinction as mentioned earlier, has become in practice the greatest obstacle to the acknowledgment that an embryo has human status. If the cloned human embryo were not human, then "what" would it be? To what animal species would it belong? Would it possess a human genome but not be human? It is not necessary to insist here on the contradictions implied in these denials. A human embryo, thus recognized by reason as a human individual endowed with an organism of its own, has its own proper dignity and therefore deserves respect. This "dignity" is not due to some external addition, but is inherent in its being, in itself and for itself. If people refuse to admit that the embryo has human dignity under the pretext that it possesses no actual consciousness, then the dignity of people who are asleep or in a coma should also be denied. If the dignity of the embryo is rejected, then one could also deny the dignity of the child. The human being, whatever his financial, physical or intellectual condition, cannot be used as a means or an object. The subtle offence to this fundamental principle is aggravated when this human being is powerless to defend himself against an unjust aggressor. If a person agrees to treat a human being as a means and not as an end, he himself must one day agree to be treated in the same way. Nor should he protest. Even if the therapeutic application of stem cells obtained through the creation and destruction of human embryos were to be clearly demonstrated (something that has not been done), morals, common sense and sound judgment would be opposed to it: one cannot do evil for a good end. The end does not justify the means. The history of humanity is rich in teaching on this subject. As the philosopher J. Santayana said: "Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it". d. Personality of the embryo The moral evaluation of human cloning, therefore, depends essentially on its goal or objective and does not primarily stem from the subjective intention for which these techniques are used. The very uncertainty as to the human nature of the product of these techniques suffices to make it a duty not to produce it. However, over and above the strict moral duty not to produce it, there are many serious reasons for holding not only that embryos obtained in this way should be duly respected as befits their human dignity, but also that they are human persons who are first manipulated and then destroyed.

e. Inhumanity in the production and consequent destruction of embryos created by cell nuclear replacement (so-called "therapeutic" cloning) Upholders of the so-called "therapeutic cloning" always insist that their intention is not to go as far as "reproductive" cloning but to destroy the human embryo thus created in the very first days of its development. According to their reasoning (widely reported in the press, the mass media and political speeches), this approach would be "ethical", whereas reproductive cloning would not. Human cloning that could lead to the birth of a human being is to be judged an immoral method of artificial procreation. In "therapeutic cloning", this process is interrupted intentionally: a human embryo is voluntarily created, later to be destroyed in order to extract embryonic stem cells from it. In an ethical perspective, this procedure is even worse. To accept it would be on a par with accepting a radical equality between the human species and others (P. Singer). Rejection of the possibility to kill one human life for the purpose of healing other human lives does not originate in a specifically religious stance but in the force of the arguments and reasoning of common sense and the power of a coherent anthropology and a personalistic bioethics. f. Human cloning is contrary to the dignity of life and procreation The application of the techniques of cloning to human beings, with the intention of creating embryos, both to implant them subsequently in a uterus (reproductive) or to extract their stem cells and then destroy them (therapeutic cloning or cloning for research), not only concerns the dignity of human life and its inalienable rights, but is also contrary to the moral value of the intrinsic union between life, sexuality and procreation. The orientation of human sexuality to procreation is not a "biological addition", but corresponds to human nature and is manifested in the natural inclination for procreation by men and women. These techniques, instead, separate the procreative aspects of human sexuality from its unitive aspects and are thus contrary to the dignity of sexuality and procreation. Cloning techniques are, in themselves and always, "reproductive". Recent experiences also show that human cloning, despite the enormous difficulties, is not impossible in principle. The ethical question thus concerns not only the dignity of human life and the exploitation and eventual destruction of the embryo, but also the specific and precisely sexual way in which human procreation occurs that has a moral value of its own which these techniques fail to respect. g. Cloning of human embryos is contrary to the dignity of the family An important ethical factor that is often overlooked should also be considered. The human being is a social being. In human beings, the sexual and procreative dynamic takes place naturally in a context in which sexuality and procreation are harmoniously integrated in the reality of conjugal love, which fills with meaning human sexuality open to life. In marriage, love and responsibility converge in openness to life and continue in the educational task, through which parents devote the maximum care to their children. Human cloning ruptures this whole dynamic. In cloning, life appears as an element that has nothing whatsoever to do with the family. The embryo "appears", so to speak, on the margins not only of sexuality but also of genealogy. Every human being has the right to be born from the integral love - physical and spiritual - of a father and a mother, to receive their care, to be accepted by his parents as a gift and to be raised by them. When we see looming on the horizon the disturbing possibility of manipulating a conceived human being, of subjecting the embryo to experimentation only to destroy it once the cells or the biological knowledge desired have been obtained, then it is the very

concept of filial, maternal and paternal relationship that is in crisis, and the idea of family is shattered 5. Conclusion Recent developments in science show that human cloning, in spite of immense technical difficulties and the profound ethical and anthropological objections to it, is more than a hypothesis: it is becoming a possibility. The various attempts by law and by international accords to prevent this possibility from becoming reality, and to obtain recognition of it as a crime against the human person, are not based on a vague fear of progress and technology, but on important and judicious ethical motivations and on a clearly identified anthropological concept of the human person, sexuality and the family. It is up to public authorities, parliaments and international bodies to take a firm stand. This truly is a key problem for the future of humanity and for a safeguarding of the dignity of scientific research and the efforts to promote the life, health and well-being of human beings, which justifies the adoption of appropriate measures by the community of the peoples who make up the great human family.

Notes 1) "The Pontifical Council for the Family has the task of promoting the pastoral care of the family and of the specific apostolate in the area of the family, by putting into effect the teachings and directives of the ecclesiastical Magisterium, so that Christian families may carry out the educative, evangelizing and apostolic mission to which they have been called. In particular... b) it attends to the spread of the doctrine of the Church regarding family problems so that it can be integrally known and correctly presented to the Christian people both in catechesis and on a scientific level;... c) it promotes and coordinates pastoral activity with regard to the problem of responsible parenthood according to the teaching of the Church;... e) it encourages, sustains and coordinates the efforts in defence of human life throughout the entire span of its existence from the very first moment of conception; f) it promotes, through the work of specialized scientific institutes (theological and pastoral), studies aimed at integrating the theological sciences and the human sciences on themes related to the family, so that the doctrine of the Church may be better understood by men of good will" (John Paul II, "Motu proprio" Familia a Deo Instituta, 9 March 1981, 3, V; Osservatore Romano English edition [ORE], 1 June 1981, pp. 1, 10). 2) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation Donum Vitae, 22 February 1987, II, B, 4, c.; ORE, 16 March 1987, p. 6. 3) The term "clone", used by the British geneticist and physiologist J.B.S. Haldane (Biological Possibilities for the Human Species of the Next Ten-Thousand Years, 1963), originally derived from botany: "a colony of organisms that in an asexual manner - that is, without the intervention of sex - proceed from a single progenitor" (Herbert John Webber, 1903). Its root is the Latin word "colonia, coloniae" (and the verb "colo, is, colui, coltum") that comes from the Greek klwn, klwnV ("klon, klonós, which means "a new shoot to plant" and alludes to the natural asexual reproduction of certain plants, such as the rose-bush, that can be reproduced by planting a portion of it. Cf. H.J. Weber, New Horticultural and Agricultural Terms, Science 28 (1903), pp. 501-503; A.A. Diamandopoulos, P.C. Goudas, Cloning's not a new idea: the Greeks had a word for it centuries ago, Nature 6815/408, 21-28 December 2000, p. 905. 4) J. Loeb, in 1894, artificially stimulated parthenogenesis in sea urchins, but it was the German Nobel Prize-winner H. Spemann who

succeeded in 1914 in transferring nuclei to salamander cells. He was the first, in 1938, to suggest the nuclear transfer in the cells of mammals. In 1981, this technique, which had been considerably improved, was applied successfully to rats and, in 1986, to sheep and cows. In 1997, I. Wilmut of the Roslin Institute, U.K., was successful in obtaining the birth of the first cloned sheep in the world, the famous "Dolly". 5) Pontifical Academy for Life, Riflessioni sulla Clonazione, 11 July 1997; ORE, 9 July, 1997, n. 2, p. 10. Cf. D. Tettamanzi (edited by M. Doldi), "Cloning", Dizionario di Bioetica, Piemme, Casale Monferrato, 2002; L. Ciccone, Bioetica. Storia, Principi, Questioni, Ares, Milan, 2003, pp. 143-176; I. Wilmut et al., Viable offspring derived from fetal and adult mammalian cells, Nature, 385, 997, pp. 810-813. 6) Natural parthenogenesis consists in the formation of a new individual from a female gamete (oocyte) without the participation of a male gamete (spermatozoon). This natural phenomenon occurs in females that produce spontaneous embryos without previous fertilization (in certain species of invertebrates, not in mammals), or in biological individuals that originated in hybridization (the cross-breeding of different species). Since there is no recombination, the progeny are identical replicas of the single progenitor, that is, natural clones. 7) Embryonic fission consists in the separation from the embryo of a few cells, in such a way that a complete adult develops from each of the resulting separated cells, complete with the same genetic heritage. 8) The totipotentiality of a cell consists in its ability to generate all the cells and tissues of a complete organism, including (if satisfactory circumstances exist) the development of an individual. In the human, each embryonic cell remains totipotent for a few days after fertilization. Homozygous germination (the phenomenon of identical twins) is the result of an incidental embronic fission of the totipotent cells that make up the embryo in the first stages of its development. 9) Cellular multipotentiality implies the capacity of a cell to generate differentiated cells and tissue of parts of the organism, but not of all or each of them, nor a complete individual. In the human being, in particular, multipotentiality concerns the capacity to generate cell lines and differentiated tissue derived from each one of the embryonic layers, that is, the ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm. A stem cell is a non-differentiated cell that can make an infinite number of exact copies of itself. 10) Stem cells are able to produce specialized cells of the tissues of an organism, such as the cardiac muscle, brain or liver tissue, bone marrow, etc. Scientists today are able to keep stem cells alive in vitro for an indefinite period, and they are beginning to know how to produce differentiated cells according to need. 11) House of Representatives, HR 534, February 2003. 12) This is an agency of the United Nations system, created in the context of UNESCO. 13) Resolution 53/192. 14) Ad Hoc Committee on an International Convention against the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings.

15) "It is impossible to control the efficacy of human cloning for reproductive ends if therapeutic cloning is not also forbidden... a partial prohibition could give rise to the appearance of clandestine cloning for reproductive ends and the establishment of an illegal trade in oocytes... the juridical principle of precaution must guarantee the protection of the weakest party, in this case, the human embryo... the experience accumulated in animal cloning has revealed the unreliability of the techniques used as well as the considerable risks of malformation and deformities in the embryo.... Opposing human cloning is not equivalent to rejecting scientific progress or progress in genetic research. Cloning is not the only strategy for research for the development of regenerative medicine... a general endorsement of research into adult stem cells would help to make the most of their potential and demonstrate their effectiveness". Memorandum Contro la Clonazione Terapuetica. Spanish Delegation to the United Nations, February 2002. 16) Resolution of the European Parliament of 12 March 1997, 2 and 11. 17) Ian Wilmut, "father" of Dolly the sheep, and Rudolf Jaenisch testified to this before the United States Senate. 18) On this point, there is an abundant scientific bibliography. For example, see the works of D. Humpherys, K. Eggan, H. Akutsu, K. Ochedlinger, W.M. Rideout, D. Biniszkiewicz, R. Yanagimachi, R. Jaenisch, Epigenic Instability in ES Cells and Cloned Mice, Science, 293 (5527), 6 July 2000, pp. 95-97; D. Bourchis, D. Le Bourhis, D. Patin, A. Niveleau, P. Comizzoli, J.-P. Renard, E. Viegas-Péquignot, Delayed and incomplete reprogramming of chromosome methylation patterns in bovine cloned embryos, Current Biology, 2 October 2001, Vol. 11, n. 19; Y-K. Kang, D-B Koo, J-S. Park, Y-H. Choi, A-S. Chung, K-K. Lewe, Y-M. Han, Aberrant methylation of donor genome in cloned bovine embryos, Nature Genetics, June 2001, Vol. 28, n. 2, pp. 173-177. 19) This observation on "reproductive" cloning is also valid as an objection to "therapeutic" cloning. Its application in the clinical field of stem cells harvested from cloned embryos would, to say the least, be dubious in these circumstances. The cells of these embryos show serious genetic defects; therefore, the proposal of transferring abnormal embryonic stem cells to a human person does not seem rational. 20) Alvin Toeffler's book, Future Shock (1970), sketches a fantastic futuristic vision of man who makes copies of himself ("man will be able to make biological carbon copies of himself"), and reflects in a literary way on the prospects to which these techniques give rise as well as on anxiety about their consequences. Cf. Lee M. Silver, What are clones? They're not what you think they are, Nature, 5 July 2001, Vol. 412, n. 6842, p. 21. 21) Hans Jonas, Das Prinzip Verantwortung (The Main Responsibility), ed. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1984. 22) Cf. Hans Jonas, Cloniamo un uomo: dall'eugenetica all'ingegneria genetica, in Technica, Medicina ed Etica, ed. Einaudi, Turin, 1997, p. 136. 23) Natalía López Moratalla, Las células adultas llevan clara ventaja a las embrionarias, en Palabra, December 2002. 24) Elisabeth Montfort, La bioéthique, entre confusion et responsabilité, in AAVV (under the direction of Elisabeth Montfort, Bioéthique. Entre confusion et responsabilité. Actes du Colloque de Paris. Assemblée nationale, 1 Octobre 2001. Three-monthly review, Liberté politique, ed. François-Xavier de Guibert, Paris, 2003, pp. 27-28.

25) Pontifical Academy for Life, Dichiarazione sulla produzione e sull'uso scientifico e terapeutico delle cellule staminale, 25 August 2000. 26) D. Tettamanzi, Nuova bioetica cristiana, Piemme, Casale Monferrato, 2000, pp. 235-268; L. Ciccone, Bioetica. Storia, Principi, Questioni, Ares, Milan, 2003, pp. 61-80; R.C. Barra, Status giuridico dell'embrione umano, in Lexicon. Famiglia, vita e questioni etiche, EDB, Bologna, 2003; E. Sgreccia, Manuale di Bioetica (Vol. I), Vita e pensiero, Milan, 1998, pp. 361-422; C. Caffarra, Il problema morale dell'aborto, in AAVV (edited by A.Fiori-E. Sgreccia) L'aborto, Vita e pensiero, Milan, 1975, pp. 313-320. 27) I. Carrasco de Paula, Il rispetto dovuto all'embrione umano: prospettiva storico-dottrinale, in Pontifical Academy for Life, Identità e statuto dell'embrione umano, Libr. ed. Vaticana, 1988, p. 31. 28) The expression "pre-embryo" is deceptive and was contrived to support abortion. Cf. A. Serra, Lo stato biologico dell'embrione umano. Quando comincia l'"essere umano?, in Pontifical Academy for Life, Commento interdisciplinare all' Evangelium Vitae, Libr. ed. Vaticana, 1997. 29) R.C. Barra, Status giuridico dell'embrione umano, in Lexicon. Famiglia, vita e questioni etiche, EDB, Bologna, 2003. 30) "Syngamy" means that part of fertilization that consists in the process initiated by the penetration of the sperm into the oocyte, for the purpose of the uniting the chromosomal content of both the pronuclei formed (amfimixis). 31) Cf. Angelo Serra, L'uomo-embrione. Il grande misconosciuto, ed. Cantagalli, Siena, 2003, pp. 41-52. Cf. also the items "Dignity of the human embryo" and "Embryonic selection and reduction" in Lexicon. Termini ambigui e discussi su famigia, vita e questioni etiche, (edited by) the Pontifical Council for the Family, EDB, Bologna, 2003. 32) The technical expressions: zygote, morula and blastocyst correspond to descriptions of the embryo on the basis of the phase in its development, according to histological and physiological criteria. 33) The deceptive idea of the "pre-embryo" was coined, as is well known, by the Warnock Committee, and today is generally accepted and deeply rooted in many milieu: A. Serra, Pari dignità all'embrione umano in Pontifical Council for the Family, I figli: famiglia e società nel nuovo Millennio. Atti del Congresso Internazionale Teologico-Pastorale. Vatican City, 11-13 October 2000, Libr. ed. Vaticana, 2001, pp. 313320; R. Colombo, La famiglia e gli studi sul genoma umano, op. cit., pp. 321-325; A. Serra, R. Colombo, Identità e statuto del'embrione umano: il contributo della biologia, in Pontifical Academy for Life, Identità e statuto dell'embrione umano, Libr. ed. Vaticana, 1988, p. 157; D. Tettamanzi, Nuova bioethica cristiana, Piemme, Casale Monferrato, 2000, pp. 235-268; L. Ciccone, Bioetica. Storia, Principi, Questioni, Ares, Milan, 2003, pp. 61-80; R. C. Barra, Status giuridico dell'embrione umano, in Lexicon. Famiglia, vita e questioni etiche, EDB, Bologna 2003; Ph. Caspar, La problématique de l'animation de l'embryon. Survoi historique et enjeux dogmatiques, in Nouvelle Revue Théologique, 1991, n. 123.

34) Rationality, conscience and autonomy would constitute a person, according to authors such as H.T. Engelhardt or P. Singer. H.T. Engelhardt, The Foundations of Bioethics, New York, Oxford University Press, 1986; Manuale di bioetica, Mondadori, Milan, 1991; Practical Ethics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1993; Cf. L. Palazzani, Il concetto di persona tra bioetica e diritto, Turin, Giappichelli, 1996. 35) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Donum Vitae, I, 6.


This document seeks to contribute to the debate on the production and use of embryonic stem cells which is now taking place in scientific and ethical literature and in public opinion. Given the growing relevance of the debate on the limits and liceity of the production and use of such cells, there is a pressing need to reflect on the ethical implications which are present. The first section will very briefly set out the most recent scientific data on stem cells and the biotechnological data on their production and use. The second section will draw attention to the more relevant ethical problems raised by these new discoveries and their applications. Scientific Aspects Although some aspects need to be studied more thoroughly, a commonly accepted definition of Astem cell" describes it as a cell with two characteristics: 1) the property of an unlimited self-maintenance - that is, the ability to reproduce itself over a long period of time without becoming differentiated; and 2) the capability to produce non-permanent progenitor cells, with limited capacity for proliferation, from which derive a variety of lineages of highly differentiated cells (neural cells, muscle cells, blood cells, etc.). For about thirty years stem cells have provided a vast field of research in adult tissue,[i] in embryonic tissue and in in vitro cultures of embryonic stem cells of experimental animals.[ii] But public attention has recently increased with a new milestone that has been reached: the production of human embryonic stem cells. Human embryonic stem cells Today, the preparation of human embryonic stem cells (human ES cells) implies the following[iii]: 1) the production of human embryos and/or the use of the surplus embryos resulting from in vitro fertilization or of frozen embryos; 2) the development of these embryos to the stage of initial blastocysts; 3) the isolation of the embryoblast or inner cell mass (ICM) - which implies the destruction of the embryo; 4) culturing

these cells on a feeder layer of irradiated mouse embryonic fibroblasts in a suitable medium, where they can multiply and coalesce to form colonies; 5) repeated subculturing of these colonies, which lead to the formation of cell lines capable of multiplying indefinitely while preserving the characteristics of ES cells for months and years. These ES cells, however, are only the point of departure for the preparation of differentiated cell lines, that is, of cells with the characteristics proper of the various tissues (muscle, neural, epithelial, haematic, germinal, etc.). Methods for obtaining them are still being studied;[iv] but the injection of human ES cells into experimental animals (mice) or their culture in vitro in controlled environments to their confluence have shown that they are able to produce differentiated cells which, in a normal development, would derive from the three different embryonic tissue layers: endoderm (intestinal epithelium), mesoderm (cartilage, bone, smooth and striated muscle) and ectoderm (neural epithelium, squamous epithelium).[v] The results of these experiments had a great impact on the world of both science and biotechnology - especially medicine and pharmacology - no less than the world of business and the mass media. There were high hopes that the application of this knowledge would lead to new and safer ways of treating serious diseases, something which had been sought for years.[vi] But the impact was greatest in the political world.[vii] In the United States in particular, in response to the long-standing opposition of Congress to the use of federal funds for research in which human embryos were destroyed, there came strong pressure from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), among others, to obtain funds for at least using stem cells produced by private groups; there came also recommendations from the National Bioethics Advisory Committee (NBAC), established by the Federal Government to study the problem, that public money should be given not only for research on embryonic stem cells but also for producing them. Indeed, persistent efforts are being made to rescind definitively the present legal ban on the use of federal funds for research on human embryos. Similar pressures are being brought to bear also in England, Japan and Australia. Therapeutic cloning It had become clear that the therapeutic use of ES cells, as such, entailed significant risks, since - as had been observed in experiments on mice - tumours resulted. It would have been necessary therefore to prepare specialized lines of differentiated cells as they were needed; and it did not appear that this could be done in a short period of time. But, even if successful, it would have been very difficult to be certain that the inoculation or therapeutic implant was free of stem cells, which would entail the corresponding risks. Moreover there would have been a need for further treatment to overcome immunological incompatibility. For these reasons, three methods of therapeutic cloning[viii] were proposed, suitable for preparing pluripotent human embryonic stem cells with well defined genetic information from which desired differentiation would then follow. 1. The replacement of the nucleus of an oocyte with the nucleus of an adult cell of a given subject, followed by embryonic development to the stage of blastocyst and the use of the inner cell mass (ICM) in order to obtain ES cells and, from these, the desired differentiated cells. 2. The transfer of a nucleus of a cell of a given subject into an oocite of another animal. An eventual success in this procedure should lead - it is presumed - to the development of a human embryo, to be used as in the preceding case.

3. The reprogramming of the nucleus of a cell of a given subject by fusing the ES cytoplast with a somatic cell karyoplast, thus obtaining a "cybrid". This is a possibility which is still under study. In any event, this method too would seem to demand a prior preparation of ES cells from human embryos. Current scientific research is looking to the first of these possibilities as the preferred method, but it is obvious that - from a moral point of view, as we shall see - all three proposed solutions are unacceptable. Adult stem cells From studies on adult stem cells (ASC) in the last thirty years it had been clearly shown that many adult tissues contain stem cells, but stem cells capable of producing only cells proper to a given tissue. That is, it was not thought that these cells could be reprogrammed. In more recent years,[ix] however, pluripotent stem cells were also discovered in various human tissues - in bone marrow (HSCs), in the brain (NSCs), in the mesenchyme (MSCs) of various organs, and in umbilical cord blood (P/CB, placental/cord blood); these are cells capable of producing different types of cells, mostly blood cells, muscle cells and neural cells. It was learnt how to recognize them, select them, maintain them in development, and induce them to form different types of mature cells by means of growth factors and other regulating proteins. Indeed noteworthy progress has already been made in the experimental field, applying the most advanced methods of genetic engineering and molecular biology in analyzing the genetic programme at work in stem cells,[x] and in importing the desired genes into stem cells or progenitor cells which, when implanted, are able to restore specific functions to damaged tissue.[xi] It is sufficient to mention, on the basis of the reported references, that in human beings the stem cells of bone marrow, from which the different lines of blood cells are formed, have as their marker the molecule CD34; and that, when purified, these cells are able to restore entirely the normal blood count in patients who receive ablative doses of radiation and chemotherapy, and this with a speed which is in proportion to the quantity of cells used. Furthermore, there are already indications on how to guide the development of neural stem cells (NSCs) through the use of various proteins - among them neuroregulin and bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) - which can direct NSCs to become neurons or glia (myelinproducing neural support cells) or even smooth muscle tissue. The note of satisfaction, albeit cautious, with which many of the cited works conclude is an indication of the great promise that Aadult stem cells" offer for effective treatment of many pathologies. Thus the affirmation made by D. J. Watt and G. E. Jones: A The muscle stem cell, whether it be of the embryonic myoblast lineage, or of the adult satellite status, may well turn out to be a cell with far greater importance to tissues other than its tissue of origin and may well hold the key to future therapies for diseases other than those of a myogenic nature" (p. 93). As J. A. Nolta and D. B. Kohn emphasize: AProgress in the use of gene transfer into haemotopoietic cells has led to initial clinical trials. Information developed by these early efforts will be used to guide future developments. Ultimately, gene therapy may allow a number of genetic and acquired diseases to be treated, without the current complications from bone marrow transplantation with allogeneic cells." (p. 460); and the confirmation offered by D. L. Clarke and J. Fris?n: "These studies suggest that stem cells in different adult tissues may be more similar than previously thought and perhaps in some cases have a developmental repertoire close to that of ES cells" (p. 1663) and Ademonstrates that an adult neural stem cell has a very broad developmental capacity and may potentially be used to generate a variety of cell types for transplantation in different diseases@ (p. 1660). The progress and results obtained in the field of adult stem cells (ASC) show not only their great plasticity but also their many possible uses, in all likelihood no different from those of embryonic stem cells, since plasticity depends in large part upon genetic information, which can

be reprogrammed. Obviously, it is not yet possible to compare the therapeutic results obtained and obtainable using embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. For the latter, various pharmaceutical firms are already conducting clinical experiments[xii] which are showing success and raising genuine hopes for the not too distant future. With embryonic stem cells, even if various experimental approaches prove positive,[xiii] their application in the clinical field - owing precisely to the serious ethical and legal problems which arise - needs to be seriously reconsidered and requires a great sense of responsibility before the dignity of every human being. Ethical Problems Given the nature of this article, the key ethical problems implied by these new technologies are presented briefly, with an indication of the responses which emerge from a careful consideration of the human subject from the moment of conception. It is this consideration which underlies the position affirmed and put forth by the Magisterium of the Church. The first ethical problem, which is fundamental, can be formulated thus: Is it morally licit to produce and/or use living human embryos for the preparation of ES cells? The answer is negative, for the following reasons: 1. On the basis of a complete biological analysis, the living human embryo is - from the moment of the union of the gametes - a human subject with a well defined identity, which from that point begins its own coordinated, continuous and gradual development, such that at no later stage can it be considered as a simple mass of cells.[xiv] 2. From this it follows that as a Ahuman individual" it has the right to its own life; and therefore every intervention which is not in favour of the embryo is an act which violates that right. Moral theology has always taught that in the case of Ajus certum tertii" the system of probabilism does not apply.[xv] 3. Therefore, the ablation of the inner cell mass (ICM) of the blastocyst, which critically and irremediably damages the human embryo, curtailing its development, is a gravely immoral act and consequently is gravely illicit. 4. No end believed to be good, such as the use of stem cells for the preparation of other differentiated cells to be used in what look to be promising therapeutic procedures, can justify an intervention of this kind. A good end does not make right an action which in itself is wrong. 5. For Catholics, this position is explicitly confirmed by the Magisterium of the Church which, in the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, with reference to the Instruction Donum Vitae of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, affirms: AThe Church has always taught and continues to teach that the result of human procreation, from the first moment of its existence, must be guaranteed that unconditional respect which is morally due to the human being in his or her totality and unity in body and spirit: >The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among

which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life'"(No. 60).[xvi] The second ethical problem can be formulated thus: Is it morally licit to engage in so-called Atherapeutic cloning" by producing cloned human embryos and then destroying them in order to produce ES cells? The answer is negative, for the following reason: Every type of therapeutic cloning, which implies producing human embryos and then destroying them in order to obtain stem cells, is illicit; for there is present the ethical problem examined above, which can only be answered in the negative.[xvii] The third ethical problem can be formulated thus: Is it morally licit to use ES cells, and the differentiated cells obtained from them, which are supplied by other researchers or are commercially obtainable? The answer is negative, since: prescinding from the participation - formal or otherwise - in the morally illicit intention of the principal agent, the case in question entails a proximate material cooperation in the production and manipulation of human embryos on the part of those producing or supplying them. In conclusion, it is not hard to see the seriousness and gravity of the ethical problem posed by the desire to extend to the field of human research the production and/or use of human embryos, even from an humanitarian perspective. The possibility, now confirmed, of using adult stem cells to attain the same goals as would be sought with embryonic stem cells - even if many further steps in both areas are necessary before clear and conclusive results are obtained - indicates that adult stem cells represent a more reasonable and human method for making correct and sound progress in this new field of research and in the therapeutic applications which it promises. These applications are undoubtedly a source of great hope for a significant number of suffering people. The President Prof. Juan de Dios Vial Correa The Vice President S.E. Mons. Elio Sgreccia Vatican City, August 25, 2000.

NOTES [i].Cf. M. LOEFFLER, C. S POTTEN, Stem Cells and Cellular Pedigrees - a Conceptual Introduction, in C. S. POTTEN (ed.), Stem Cells, Academic Press, London (1997), pp.1-27; D. Van der KOOY, S. WEISS, Why Stem Cells?, Science 2000, 287, 1439-1441.

[ii].Cf. T: NAKANO, H. KODAMA, T. HONJO, Generation of Lymphohematopoietic Cells from Embryonic Stem Cells in Culture, Science 1994, 265, 1098-1101; G. KELLER, In Vitro Differentiation of Embryonic Stem Cells, Current Opinion in Cell Biology 1995, 7, 862-869; S. ROBERTSON, M. KENNEDY, G. KELLER, Hematopoietic Commitment During Embryogenesis, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1999, 872, 9-16. [iii].Cf. J. A .THOMSON, J. ITSKOVITZ-ELDOR, S. S. SHAPIRO et al., Embryonic Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Blastocysts, Science 1998, 282, 1145-1147; G. VOGEL, Harnessing the Power of Stem Cells, Science 1999, 283, 1432-1434. [iv].Cf. F. M. WATT, B. L. M. HOGAN, Out of Eden: Stem Cells and Their Niches, Science 2000, 287, 1427-1430. [v].Cf. J. A. THOMSON, J. ITSKOVITZ-ELDOR, S. S. SHAPIRO et al., op. cit. [vi].Cf. U.S. CONGRESS, OFFICE OF TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT, Neural Grafting: Repairing the Brain and Spinal Cord, OTA-BA462, Washington, DC, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990; A. McLAREN, Stem Cells: Golden Opportunities with Ethical Baggage, Science 2000, 288, 1778. [vii].Cf. E. MARSHALL, A Versatile Cell Line Raises Scientific Hopes, Legal Questions, Science 1998, 282, 1014-1015; J. GEARHART, New Potential for Human Embryonic Stem Cells, ibid., 1061-1062; E. MARSHALL, Britain Urged to Expand Embryo Studies, ibid., 2167-2168; 73 SCIENTISTS, Science Over Politics, Science 1999, 283, 1849-1850; E. MARSHALL, Ethicists Back Stem Cell Research, White House Treads Cautiously, Science 1999, 285, 502; H. T. SHAPIRO, Ethical Dilemmas and Stem Cell Research, ibid., 2065; G. VOGEL, NIH Sets Rules for Funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Science 1999, 286, 2050; G. KELLER, H. R. SNODGRASS, Human Embryonic Stem Cells: the Future Is Now, Nature Medicine 1999, 5, 151-152; G.J. ANNAS, A. CAPLAN, S. ELIAS, Stem Cell Politics, Ethics and Medical Progress, ibid., 1339-1341; G. VOGEL, Company Gets Rights to Cloned Human Embryos, Science 2000, 287, 559; D. NORMILE, Report Would Open Up Research in Japan, ibid., 949; M. S. FRANKEL, In Search of Stem Cell Policy, ibid., 1397; D. PERRY, Patients Voices: the Powerful Sound in the Stem Cell Debate, ibid., 1423; N. LENOIR, Europe Confronts the Embryonic Stem Cell Research Challenge, ibid., 1425-1427; F. E. YOUNG, A Time for Restraint, ibid., 1424; EDITORIAL, Stem Cells, Nature Medicine 2000, 6, 231. [viii].D. DAVOR, J. GEARHART, Putting Stem Cells to Work, Science 1999, 283, 1468-1470. [ix].Cf. C. S. POTTEN (ed.), Stem Cells, Academic Press, London 1997, p. 474; D. ORLIC, T. A. BOCK, L. KANZ, Hemopoietic Stem Cells: Biology and Transplantation, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sciences, vol. 872, New York 1999, p. 405; M. F. PITTENGER, A. M. MACKAY, S.C. BECK et al., Multilineage Potential of Adult Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Science 1999, 284, 143-147; C. R. R. BJORNSON, R.L. RIETZE, B. A. REYNOLDS et al., Turning Brain into Blood: a Hematopoietic Fate Adopted by Adult Neural Stem Cells in vivo, Science 1999, 283, 534536; V. OUREDNIK, J. OUREDNIK, K. I. PARK, E. Y. SNYDER, Neural Stem Cells - a Versatile Tool for Cell Replacement and Gene Therapy in the Central Nervous System, Clinical Genetics 1999, 56, 267-278; I. LEMISCHKA, Searching for Stem Cell Regulatory Molecules: Some General Thoughts and Possible Approaches, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1999, 872, 274-288; H. H. GAGE, Mammalian Neural Stem Cells, Science 2000, 287, 1433-1438; D. L. CLARKE, C. B. JOHANSSON, J. FRISEN et al., Generalized Potential of Adult Neural Stem Cells,

Science 2000, 288, 1660-1663; G. VOGEL, Brain Cells Reveal Surprising Versatility, ibid., 1559-1561. [x].Cf. R. L. PHILLIPS, R. E. ERNST, I. R. LEMISCHKA, et al., The Genetic Program of Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Science 2000, 288, 16351640. [xi].Cf. D. J. WATT, G. E. JONES, Skeletal Muscle Stem Cells: Function and Potential Role in Therapy, in C. S. POTTEN, Stem Cells, op. cit., 75-98; J. A. NOLTA, D. B. KOHN, Haematopoietic Stem Cells for Gene Therapy, ibid., 447-460; Y. REISNER, E. BACHAR-LUSTIG, H-W. LI et al., The Role of Megadose CD34+ Progenitor Cells in the Treatment of Leukemia Patients Without a Matched Donor and in Tolerance Induction for Organ Transplantation, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1999, 872, 336-350; D. W. EMERY, G. STAMATOY?ANNO? POULOS, Stem Cell Gene Therapy for the ?-Chain Hemoglobinopathies, ibid., 94-108; M. GRIFFITH, R. OSBORNE, R. MUNGER, Functional Human Corneal Equivalents Constructed from Cell Lines, Science 1999, 286, 2169-2172; N. S. ROY, S. WANG, L. JIANG et al., In vitro Neurogenesis by Progenitor Cells Isolated from the Adult Hippocampus, Nature Medicine 2000, 6, 271-277; M. NOBLE, Can Neural Stem Cells Be Used as Therapeutic Vehicles in the Treatment of Brain Tumors?, ibid., 369-370; I. L. WEISSMAN, Translating Stem and Progenitor Cell Biology to the Clinic: Barriers and Opportunities, Science 2000, 287, 1442-1446; P. SERUP, Panning for Pancreatic Stem Cells, Nature Genetics 2000, 25, 134-135. [xii].E. MARSHALL, The Business of Stem Cells, Science 2000, 287, 1419-1421. [xiii].Cf. O. BRUSTLE, K. N. JONES, R. D. LEARISH et al., Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Glial Precursors: a Source of Myelinating Transplants, Science 1999, 285, 754-756; J. W. McDONALD, X-Z LIU, Y. QU et al., Transplanted Embryonic Stem Cells Survive, Differentiate and Promote Recovery in Injured Rat Spinal Cord, Nature Medicine 1999, 5, 1410-1412. [xiv].Cf. A. SERRA , R. COLOMBO, Identit? e Statuto dell'Embrione Umano: il Contributo della Biologia, in PONTIFICIA ACADEMIA PRO VITA, Identit? e Statuto dell'Embrione Umano, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Citt? del Vaticano 1998, pp.106-158. [xv].Cf. I. CARRASCO de PAULA, Il Rispetto Dovuto all'Embrione Umano: Pro?spettiva Storico-Dottrinale, in ibid., pp. 9-33; R. LUCAS LUCAS, Statuto Antropologico dell'Embrione Umano, in ibid., pp.159-185; M. COZZOLI, L'Embrione Umano: Aspetti Etico-Normativi, in ibid., pp.237- 273; L. EUSEBI, La Tutela dell'Embrione Umano: Profili Giuridici, in ibid., pp. 274-286. [xvi].JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter "Evangelium Vitae" (25 March 1995), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 1995, 87, 401-522; cf. also CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origins and on the Dignity of Procreation "Donum Vitae" (22 February 1987), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 1988, 80, 70-102. [xvii].CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, op. cit., I, no. 6; C.B.COHEN (ed.), Special Issue: Ethics and the Cloning of Human Embryos, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 1994, n.4, 187-282; H. T. SHAPIRO, Ethical and Policy Issues of Human Cloning, Science 1997, 277, 195-196; M.L. DI PIETRO, Dalla Clonazione Animale alla Clonazione dell'Uomo?, Medicina e Morale 1997, no. 6, 1099-2005; A. SERRA, Verso la Clonazione dell'Uomo? Una Nuova Frontiera della Scienza, La Civilt? Cattolica 1998 I, 224-234; ibid., La

Clonazione Umana in Prospettiva "Sapienziale", ibid., 329-339. Stem Cell Basics(website) Stem Cells(New Registry)


ompleted in 2003, the Human Genome Project (HGP) was a 13-year project coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy

and the National Institutes of Health. During the early years of the HGP, the Wellcome Trust (U.K.) became a major partner; additional contributions came from Japan, France, Germany, China, and others. See our history page for more information. Project goals were to identify all the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA, determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA,  store this information in databases,  improve tools for data analysis,  transfer related technologies to the private sector, and  address the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) that may arise from the project.

Though the HGP is finished, analyses of the data will continue for many years. Follow this ongoing research on our Milestones page. An important feature of the HGP project was the federal government’s long-standing dedication to the transfer of technology to the private sector. By licensing technologies to private companies and awarding grants for innovative research, the project catalyzed the multibillion-dollar U.S. biotechnology industry and fostered the development of new medical applications.

From the Genome to the Proteome
Cells are the fundamental working units of every living system. All the instructions needed to direct their activities are contained within the chemical DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA from all organisms is made up of the same chemical and physical components. The DNA sequence is the particular side-by-side arrangement of bases along the DNA strand (e.g., ATTCCGGA). This order spells out the exact instructions required to create a particular organism with its own unique traits.

The genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA. Genomes vary widely in size: the smallest known genome for a free-living organism (a bacterium) contains about 600,000 DNA base pairs, while human and mouse genomes have some 3 billion. Except for mature red blood cells, all human cells contain a complete genome. DNA in the human genome is arranged into 24 distinct chromosomes--physically separate molecules that range in length from about 50 million to 250 million base pairs. A few types of major chromosomal abnormalities, including missing or extra copies or gross breaks and rejoinings (translocations), can be detected by microscopic examination. Most changes in DNA, however, are more subtle and require a closer analysis of the DNA molecule to find perhaps single-base differences. Each chromosome contains many genes, the basic physical and functional units of heredity. Genes are specific sequences of bases that encode instructions on how to make proteins. Genes comprise only about 2% of the human genome; the remainder consists of noncoding regions, whose functions may include providing chromosomal structural integrity and regulating where, when, and in what quantity proteins are made. The human genome is estimated to contain 20,000-25,000 genes. Although genes get a lot of attention, it’s the proteins that perform most life functions and even make up the majority of cellular structures. Proteins are large, complex molecules made up of smaller subunits called amino acids. Chemical properties that distinguish the 20 different amino acids cause the protein chains to fold up into specific three-dimensional structures that define their particular functions in the cell. The constellation of all proteins in a cell is called its proteome. Unlike the relatively unchanging genome, the dynamic proteome changes from minute to minute in response to tens of thousands of intra- and extracellular environmental signals. A protein’s chemistry and behavior are specified by the gene sequence and by the number and identities of other proteins made in the same cell at the same time and with which it associates and reacts. Studies to explore protein structure and activities, known as proteomics, will be the focus of much research for decades to come and will help elucidate the molecular basis of health and disease.

How is genome sequencing done?
Download a PDF illustration courtesy of the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute. See also their step-by-step illustrated guide to how sequencing is done.

Chromosomes, which range in size from 50 million to 250 million bases, must first be broken into much shorter pieces (subcloning


Each short piece is used as a template to generate a set of fragments that differ in length from each other by a single base that will be identified in a later step (template preparation and sequencing reaction steps). See a figure depicting the sequencing reaction.

The fragments in a set are separated by gel electrophoresis (separation step).

New fluorescent dyes allow separation of all four fragments in a single lane on the gel. See an example of an electropherogram using fluorescent dyes. Click on the image for a caption.

The final base at the end of each fragment is identified (base-calling step). This process recreates the original sequence of As, Ts, Cs, and Gs for each short piece generated in the first step. Current electrophoresis limits are about 500 to 700 bases sequenced per read. Automated sequencers analyze the resulting electropherograms and the output is a four-color chromatogram showing peaks that represent each of the four DNA bases. After the bases are "read," computers are used to assemble the short sequences (in blocks of about 500 bases each, called the read length) into long continuous stretches that are analyzed for errors, gene-coding regions, and other characteristics. To read about all the trouble researchers go through to "finish" this raw sequence from automated sequencers Click here (and scroll to bottom that begins "Here are our definitions of...").

Finished sequence is submitted to major public sequence databases, such as GenBank. Human Genome Project sequence data are thus made freely available to anyone around the world. For more on genome sequencing, see the Sequencing Fact Sheet.

What We've Learned So Far
What Does the Draft Human Genome Sequence Tell Us?
By the Numbers
 The human genome contains 3164.7 million chemical nucleotide bases (A, C, T, and G). The average gene consists of 3000 bases, but sizes vary greatly, with the largest known human gene being dystrophin at 2.4 million bases.

The total number of genes is estimated at 30,000 —much lower than previous estimates of 80,000 to 140,000 that had been based on extrapolations from gene-rich areas as opposed to a composite of gene-rich and gene-poor areas.  Almost all (99.9%) nucleotide bases are exactly the same in all people.  The functions are unknown for over 50% of discovered genes. The Wheat from the Chaff

 Less than 2% of the genome codes for proteins. Repeated sequences that do not code for proteins ("junk DNA") make up at least 50% of the human genome.  Repetitive sequences are thought to have no direct functions, but they shed light on chromosome structure and dynamics. Over time, these repeats reshape the genome by rearranging it, creating entirely new genes, and modifying and reshuffling existing genes.  During the past 50 million years, a dramatic decrease seems to have occurred in the rate of accumulation of repeats in the human genome. 

How It's Arranged
 The human genome’s gene-dense "urban centers" are predominantly composed of the DNA building blocks G and C. In contrast, the gene-poor "deserts" are rich in the DNA building blocks A and T. GC- and AT-rich regions usually can be seen through a microscope as light and dark bands on chromosomes.  Genes appear to be concentrated in random areas along the genome, with vast expanses of noncoding DNA between. Stretches of up to 30,000 C and G bases repeating over and over often occur adjacent to gene-rich areas, forming a barrier between the genes and the "junk DNA." These CpG islands are believed to help regulate gene activity.  Chromosome 1 has the most genes (2968), and the Y chromosome has the fewest (231).

How the Human Compares with Other Organisms Unlike the human’s seemingly random distribution of gene-rich areas, many other organisms' genomes are more uniform, with genes evenly spaced throughout.  Humans have on average three times as many kinds of proteins as the fly or worm because of mRNA transcript "alternative splicing" and chemical modifications to the proteins. This process can yield different protein products from the same gene.  Humans share most of the same protein families with worms, flies, and plants, but the number of gene family members has expanded in humans, especially in proteins involved in development and immunity.  The human genome has a much greater portion (50%) of repeat sequences than the mustard weed (11%), the worm (7%), and the fly (3%).  Although humans appear to have stopped accumulating repeated DNA over 50 million years ago, there seems to be no such decline in rodents. This may account for some of the fundamental differences between hominids and rodents, although gene estimates are similar in these species. Scientists have proposed many theories to explain evolutionary contrasts between humans and other organisms, including those of life span, litter sizes, inbreeding, and genetic drift.

Variations and Mutations

Scientists have identified about 1.4 million locations where single-base DNA differences (SNPs) occur in humans. This information promises to revolutionize the processes of finding chromosomal locations for disease-associated sequences and tracing human history.  The ratio of germline (sperm or egg cell) mutations is 2:1 in males vs females. Researchers point to several reasons for the higher mutation rate in the male germline, including the greater number of cell divisions required for sperm formation than for eggs.

Applications, Future Challenges Deriving meaningful knowledge from the DNA sequence will define research through the coming decades to inform our understanding of biological systems. This enormous task will require the expertise and creativity of tens of thousands of scientists from varied disciplines in both the public and private sectors worldwide. The draft sequence already is having an impact on finding genes associated with disease. A number of genes have been pinpointed and associated with breast cancer, muscle disease, deafness, and blindness. Additionally, finding the DNA sequences underlying such common diseases as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancers is being aided by the human variation maps (SNPs) generated in the HGP in cooperation with the private sector. These genes and SNPs provide focused targets for the development of effective new therapies. One of the greatest impacts of having the sequence may well be in enabling an entirely new approach to biological research. In the past, researchers studied one or a few genes at a time. With whole-genome sequences and new high-throughput technologies, they can approach questions systematically and on a grand scale. They can study all the genes in a genome, for example, or all the transcripts in a particular tissue or organ or tumor, or how tens of thousands of genes and proteins work together in interconnected networks to orchestrate the chemistry of life.

The Next Step: Functional Genomics
The words of Winston Churchill, spoken in 1942 after 3 years of war, capture well the HGP era: "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." The avalanche of genome data grows daily. The new challenge will be to use this vast reservoir of data to explore how DNA and proteins work with each other and the environment to create complex, dynamic living systems. Systematic studies of function on a grand scalefunctional genomics-will be the focus of biological explorations in this century and beyond. These explorations will encompass studies in transcriptomics, proteomics, structural genomics, new experimental methodologies, and comparative genomics. Transcriptomics involves large-scale analysis of messenger RNAs transcribed from active genes to follow when, where, and under what conditions genes are expressed.  Studying protein expression and function--or proteomics--can bring researchers closer to what’s actually happening in the cell than gene-expression studies. This capability has applications to drug design.  Structural genomics initiatives are being launched worldwide to generate the 3-D structures of one or more proteins from each protein family, thus offering clues to function and biological targets for drug design.  Experimental methods for understanding the function of DNA sequences and the proteins they encode include knockout studies to

inactivate genes in living organisms and monitor any changes that could reveal their functions. Comparative genomics—analyzing DNA sequence patterns of humans and well-studied model organisms side-by-side—has become one of the most powerful strategies for identifying human genes and interpreting their function.

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Observations on the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights
(Paris, 11 November 1997) * The Holy See is convinced of the importance of this international document on the human genome and the rights of the human person. Faced with rapid developments in science and technology, with all their promises and risks, UNESCO has sought to affirm the need for controls in the area. For the first time, it proclaimed in a solemn Declaration the need to protect the human genome for the good of future generations, together with the rights and dignity of human beings, freedom of research and the demands of solidarity. The Declaration contains many commendable elements: these include the rejection of all genetic reductionism (Articles 2b and 3), the affirmation of the primacy of respect for the human person over research (Article 10), the rejection of discrimination of various kinds (Article 6), the confidentiality of data (Article 7), the promotion of independent ethics committees (Article 16), the commitment of States to foster education in bioethics and debate open to religious concerns (Articles 20 and 21). Finally, it is interesting that a procedure for monitoring the application of the Declaration is envisaged (Article 24). Because of the document’s importance, the Holy See considers it necessary to offer some observations relating to fundamental elements of the Declaration, which asks States to apply the principles which it enunciates (Article 22). The relationship between human dignity and the human genome

Article 1 affirms that “the human genome underlies the fundamental unity of all members of the human family, as well as the recognition of their dignity and diversity”: as formulated, the text would seem to mean that the genome is the foundation of the human being’s dignity. In reality, it is human dignity and the unity of the human family which confer value upon the human genome and require that it be protected in a special way. Application of the notion of “heritage of humanity” to the human genome The second part of Article 1 declares: “In a symbolic sense, it is the heritage of humanity”. According to the Explanatory Note (No. 20), this formulation implies the responsibility of all humanity, excluding however an unacceptable collective appropriation. Yet the phrase remains vague and unclear; it would be better to avoid notions such as “heritage of humanity” and to affirm instead that “all humanity has a special responsibility to protect the human genome”. Moreover, the genome has two dimensions: a general dimension inasmuch as it is a characteristic of all those who belong to the human species, and an individual dimension inasmuch as it is different for each human being, who receives it from his or her parents at the moment of conception: this is what it normally means to speak of the “genetic heritage” of a human being. It seems clear that this “heritage” should be given fundamental juridical protection, since this “heritage” belongs concretely and individually to each human being. Free and informed consent Article 5a covers the rights of those who undergo “research, treatment or diagnosis” on their own genome. In elaborating specific norms, it would be best to distinguish between research, treatment and diagnosis, since they require interventions of different kinds. Article 5e provides guidelines for research on the genome of a person unable to give consent. When this research is carried out not for the sake of any direct health benefit for the person, but in the interests of a third party, it is envisaged that such research will be carried out only “by way of exception, with utmost restraint”. Given that it is a question of research, and therefore a very restricted intervention on the patient, it can be acceptable, provided that “it is not otherwise possible” and, if the subject is unable to give consent, that further conditions are met: minimal risk, consent by those whose legal right it is to give it, undoubted advantage for the health of persons in the same category, lack of other resources and possibilities for research. Information on the results of a genetic examination Article 5c affirms respect for the right of each person to decide whether or not to be informed of the results of a genetic examination. Yet the right of the individual concerned cannot be absolute in this regard: there is a need to consider cases where this information has consequences for the health of other persons (e.g. family members). Moreover, it would be appropriate to state the requirement that information on the results of the test be accompanied by a professional “genetic consultation”. Conscientious objection on the part of researchers and health workers

Article 10 - “No research concerning the human genome or its applications [...] should prevail over the respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human dignity of individuals or, where applicable, of groups of people” - is very timely. It would be good to add respect for conscientious objection on the part of researchers and health workers, so that recognition is given to the right of persons working in these areas to refuse, for reasons of conscience, to carry out interventions on the human genome. Rejection of human cloning Article 11 declares that cloning with a view to the reproduction of human beings is a practice contrary to human dignity and should not be allowed. Regrettably, this formulation does not exclude human cloning, equally unacceptable, for other purposes, e.g. research or therapy. Freedom of research Article 12b rightly recognizes that “freedom of research [...] is part of freedom of thought”. This is a necessary but not sufficient condition, in the sense that to conduct research with true freedom there is a need likewise to guarantee freedom of conscience and religion. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 18) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 18) put freedom of conscience and religion on the same level as freedom of thought. Therefore, the words “freedom of conscience and religion” should be added wherever mention is made of freedom of thought in connection with freedom of research. Research aimed at preventing genetic disease Article 17 encourages States to develop research designed to include the “prevention” of genetic disease. It should be kept in mind that “prevention” can be understood in different ways. The Holy See is opposed to strategies of interference with fetal anomalies with a view to deciding who should and should not be born on the basis of genetic criteria. Lack of reference to the embryo and fetus The Declaration limits itself intentionally to the human genome. Thus it does not define the bearers of the rights which it proclaims; it does not affirm that these rights belong to every human being from the moment when he or she emerges as an individual from his or her genetic heritage. Nor is there any reference to the embryo and the fetus. The question is delicate, especially as regards the embryo in the first 6-7 days of life. The fact that unborn human beings and human embryos are not explicitly protected opens the door, particularly in the field of genetic intervention, to the very forms of discrimination and the violations of human dignity which the Declaration seeks to ban. 24 May 1998 * Document edited by the "Informal Working Party of Bioethics" (of whom Bishop Mons. Elio Sgreccia is also a member), Section for "Relations with States", Secretariat of State (Vatican City).

Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights 11 November 1997 UNESDOC - (PDF) English - French - Spanish - Russian - Chinese - Arabic The General Conference, Recalling that the Preamble of UNESCO’s Constitution refers to the democratic principles of the dignity, equality and mutual respect of men, rejects any doctrine of the inequality of men and races, stipulates that the wide diffusion of culture, and the education of humanity for justice and liberty and peace are indispensable to the dignity of men and constitute a sacred duty which all the nations must fulfil in a spirit of mutual assistance and concern, proclaims that peace must be founded upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind, and states that the Organization seeks to advance, through the educational and scientific and cultural relations of the peoples of the world, the objectives of international peace and of the common welfare of mankind for which the United Nations Organization was established and which its Charter proclaims, Solemnly recalling its attachment to the universal principles of human rights, affirmed in particular in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948 and in the two International United Nations Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and on Civil and Political Rights of 16 December 1966, in the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 9 December 1948, the International United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 21 December 1965, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons of 20 December 1971, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons of 9 December 1975, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women of 18 December 1979, the United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power of 29 November 1985, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989, the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities of 20 December 1993, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction of 16 December 1971, the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education of 14 December 1960, the UNESCO Declaration of the Principles of International Cultural Co-operation of 4 November 1966, the UNESCO Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers of 20 November 1974, the UNESCO Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice of 27 November 1978, the ILO Convention (No. 111) concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation of 25 June 1958 and the ILO Convention (No. 169) concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries of 27 June 1989, Bearing in mind, and without prejudice to, the international instruments which could have a bearing on the applications of genetics in the field of intellectual property, inter alia the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of 9 September 1886 and the UNESCO Universal Copyright Convention of 6 September 1952, as last revised at Paris on 24 July 1971, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 20 March 1883, as last revised at Stockholm on 14 July 1967, the Budapest Treaty of the WIPO on International Recognition of the Deposit of Micro-organisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedures of 28 April 1977, and the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPs) annexed to the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization, which entered into force on 1 January 1995,

Bearing in mind also the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity of 5 June 1992 and emphasizing in that connection that the recognition of the genetic diversity of humanity must not give rise to any interpretation of a social or political nature which could call into question the inherent dignity and (...) the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family, in accordance with the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Recalling 22 C/Resolution 13.1, 23 C/Resolution 13.1, 24 C/Resolution 13.1, 25 C/Resolutions 5.2 and 7.3, 27 C/Resolution 5.15 and 28 C/Resolutions 0.12, 2.1 and 2.2, urging UNESCO to promote and develop ethical studies, and the actions arising out of them, on the consequences of scientific and technological progress in the fields of biology and genetics, within the framework of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, Recognizing that research on the human genome and the resulting applications open up vast prospects for progress in improving the health of individuals and of humankind as a whole, but emphasizing that such research should fully respect human dignity, freedom and human rights, as well as the prohibition of all forms of discrimination based on genetic characteristics, Proclaims the principles that follow and adopts the present Declaration. A. Human dignity and the human genome Article 1 The human genome underlies the fundamental unity of all members of the human family, as well as the recognition of their inherent dignity and diversity. In a symbolic sense, it is the heritage of humanity. Article 2 (a) Everyone has a right to respect for their dignity and for their rights regardless of their genetic characteristics. (b) That dignity makes it imperative not to reduce individuals to their genetic characteristics and to respect their uniqueness and diversity. Article 3 The human genome, which by its nature evolves, is subject to mutations. It contains potentialities that are expressed differently according to each individual’s natural and social environment, including the individual’s state of health, living conditions, nutrition and education. Article 4 The human genome in its natural state shall not give rise to financial gains.

B. Rights of the persons concerned Article 5 (a) Research, treatment or diagnosis affecting an individual’s genome shall be undertaken only after rigorous and prior assessment of the potential risks and benefits pertaining thereto and in accordance with any other requirement of national law. (b) In all cases, the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned shall be obtained. If the latter is not in a position to consent, consent or authorization shall be obtained in the manner prescribed by law, guided by the person’s best interest. (c) The right of each individual to decide whether or not to be informed of the results of genetic examination and the resulting consequences should be respected. (d) In the case of research, protocols shall, in addition, be submitted for prior review in accordance with relevant national and international research standards or guidelines. (e) If according to the law a person does not have the capacity to consent, research affecting his or her genome may only be carried out for his or her direct health benefit, subject to the authorization and the protective conditions prescribed by law. Research which does not have an expected direct health benefit may only be undertaken by way of exception, with the utmost restraint, exposing the person only to a minimal risk and minimal burden and if the research is intended to contribute to the health benefit of other persons in the same age category or with the same genetic condition, subject to the conditions prescribed by law, and provided such research is compatible with the protection of the individual’s human rights. Article 6 No one shall be subjected to discrimination based on genetic characteristics that is intended to infringe or has the effect of infringing human rights, fundamental freedoms and human dignity. Article 7 Genetic data associated with an identifiable person and stored or processed for the purposes of research or any other purpose must be held confidential in the conditions set by law. Article 8 Every individual shall have the right, according to international and national law, to just reparation for any damage sustained as a direct and determining result of an intervention affecting his or her genome. Article 9

In order to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, limitations to the principles of consent and confidentiality may only be prescribed by law, for compelling reasons within the bounds of public international law and the international law of human rights. C. Research on the human genome Article 10 No research or research applications concerning the human genome, in particular in the fields of biology, genetics and medicine, should prevail over respect for the human rights, fundamental freedoms and human dignity of individuals or, where applicable, of groups of people. Article 11 Practices which are contrary to human dignity, such as reproductive cloning of human beings, shall not be permitted. States and competent international organizations are invited to co-operate in identifying such practices and in taking, at national or international level, the measures necessary to ensure that the principles set out in this Declaration are respected. Article 12 (a) Benefits from advances in biology, genetics and medicine, concerning the human genome, shall be made available to all, with due regard for the dignity and human rights of each individual. (b) Freedom of research, which is necessary for the progress of knowledge, is part of freedom of thought. The applications of research, including applications in biology, genetics and medicine, concerning the human genome, shall seek to offer relief from suffering and improve the health of individuals and humankind as a whole. D. Conditions for the exercise of scientific activity Article 13 The responsibilities inherent in the activities of researchers, including meticulousness, caution, intellectual honesty and integrity in carrying out their research as well as in the presentation and utilization of their findings, should be the subject of particular attention in the framework of research on the human genome, because of its ethical and social implications. Public and private science policy-makers also have particular responsibilities in this respect. Article 14 States should take appropriate measures to foster the intellectual and material conditions favourable to freedom in the conduct of research on the human genome and to consider the ethical, legal, social and economic implications of such research, on the basis of the principles set out in this Declaration. Article 15 States should take appropriate steps to provide the framework for the free exercise of Research on the human genome with due regard for

the principles set out in this Declaration, in order to safeguard respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human dignity and to protect public health. They should seek to ensure that research results are not used for non-peaceful purposes. Article 16 States should recognize the value of promoting, at various levels, as appropriate, the establishment of independent, multidisciplinary and pluralist ethics committees to assess the ethical, legal and social issues raised by research on the human genome and its applications. E. Solidarity and international co-operation Article 17 States should respect and promote the practice of solidarity towards individuals, families and population groups who are particularly vulnerable to or affected by disease or disability of a genetic character. They should foster, inter alia, research on the identification, prevention and treatment of genetically based and genetically influenced diseases, in particular rare as well as endemic diseases which affect large numbers of the world’s population. Article 18 States should make every effort, with due and appropriate regard for the principles set out in this Declaration, to continue fostering the international dissemination of scientific knowledge concerning the human genome, human diversity and genetic research and, in that regard, to foster scientific and cultural co-operation, particularly between industrialized and developing countries. Article 19 (a) In the framework of international co-operation with developing countries, states should seek to encourage measures enabling: (i) assessment of the risks and benefits pertaining to research on the human genome to be carried out and abuse to be prevented; (ii) the capacity of developing countries to carry out research on human biology and genetics, taking into consideration their specific problems, to be developed and strengthened; (iii) developing countries to benefit from the achievements of scientific and technological research so that their use in favour of economic and social progress can be to the benefit of all; (iv) the free exchange of scientific knowledge and information in the areas of biology, genetics and medicine to be promoted. (b) Relevant international organizations should support and promote the initiatives taken by states for the above-mentioned purposes. F. Promotion of the principles set out in the Declaration Article 20

States should take appropriate measures to promote the principles set out in the Declaration, through education and relevant means, inter alia through the conduct of research and training in interdisciplinary fields and through the promotion of education in bioethics, at all levels, in particular for those responsible for science policies. Article 21 States should take appropriate measures to encourage other forms of research, training and information dissemination conducive to raising the awareness of society and all of its members of their responsibilities regarding the fundamental issues relating to the defence of human dignity which may be raised by research in biology, in genetics and in medicine, and its applications. They should also undertake to facilitate on this subject an open international discussion, ensuring the free expression of various sociocultural, religious and philosophical opinions. G. Implementation of the Declaration Article 22 States should make every effort to promote the principles set out in this Declaration and should, by means of all appropriate measures, promote their implementation. Article 23 States should take appropriate measures to promote, through education, training and information dissemination, respect for the abovementioned principles and to foster their recognition and effective application. States should also encourage exchanges and networks among independent ethics committees, as they are established, to foster full collaboration. Article 24 The International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO should contribute to the dissemination of the principles set out in this Declaration and to the further examination of issues raised by their applications and by the evolution of the technologies in question. It should organize appropriate consultations with parties concerned, such as vulnerable groups. It should make recommendations, in accordance with UNESCO’s statutory procedures, addressed to the General Conference and give advice concerning the follow-up of this Declaration, in particular regarding the identification of practices that could be contrary to human dignity, such as germ-line interventions. Article 25 Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any state, group or person any claim to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the principles set out in this Declaration.

UNESDOC - (PDF) English - French - Spanish - Russian - Chinese - Arabic Date of adoption 1997

Socrates believed that by knowing someone is to know their soul and that the soul is invisible, immortal, and directs the physical body. Well, now, said Socrates, are we not part body, part soul? Certainly. Then to which class do we say that the body would have the closer resemblance and relation? Quite obviously to the visible. And the soul, is it visible or invisible? Invisible to men, at any rate, Socrates, he said. But surely we have been speaking of things visible or invisible to our human nature. Do you think that we had some other nature in view? No, human nature. What do we say about the soul, then? Is it visible or invisible? Not visible. Invisible, then? Yes. So soul is more like the invisible, and the body more like the visible? That follows inevitably, Socrates. .... I think Socrates, said Cebes, that even the dullest person would agree, from this line of reasoning, that the soul is in every possible way more like the invariable than the variable. And the body? To the other. Look at it in this way too. When soul and body are both in the same place, nature teaches the one to serve and be subject, the other to rule and govern. In this relation which do you think resembles the divine and which the mortal part? Don't you think that it is the nature of the divine to rule and direct, and that of the mortal to be subject and serve? I do. Then which does the soul resemble? Obviously, Socrates, soul resembles the divine, and body the mortal....

Augustine, On the Immortality of the Soul
translated from the Latin by George G. Leckie 1938 (D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc.) Introductory Note This treatise, which may be regarded as a sequel to the Soliloquies, was composed also in 387 A.D. and bears the same marks of the mind of the author while he was residing in Cassiciacum. As his thought was in a state of transition from Neo-Platonism to a fully developed Christianity, it is not strange that the writing of this period is still under a strong Platonic influence. In the treatise On the Immortality of the Soul Saint Augustine reproduces arguments that derive from Plato, though it is impossible to tell whether they came through direct contact or through the medium of Cicero or Plotinus. In any event, that he undertook to write on the problem of the soul's immortality indicates his interest at this period in developing a rational demonstration to support his own positive belief. In the Rectractationes, he refers to his early work in unfavorable terms, but for all its obscurity it remains an important document for this phase of Saint Augustine's thought.

CHAPTER I The First Reason Why the Soul is Immortal: It is the Subject of Science Which is Eternal
If science [disciplina] exists anywhere, and cannot exist in that which lives; and if it is eternal, and nothing in which an eternal thing exists can be non-eternal; then that in which science exists lives eternally. If we exist who reason, that is, if our mind does, and if our mind cannot reason rightly without science, and if without science no mind can exist except as a mind without science, then science is in the mind of man. Science, moreover, is somewhere, for it exists, and whatever exists cannot be nowhere. Further, science cannot exist except in that which lives. For nothing which is not alive learns anything, and science cannot be in a thing which does not learn. Again, science is eternal. For what exists and is unchangeable must be eternal. But no one denies that science exists. And whoever admits that it is impossible that a line drawn through the midpoint of a circle is not greater than all lines which are not drawn through the midpoint, and admits that this is a part of science, does not deny that science is unchangeable. Further, nothing in which an eternal thing exists can be non-eternal. For nothing which is eternal ever allows to be taken from it that in which it exists eternally. Now, truly, when we reason it is the mind which reasons. For only he who thinks reasons. Neither does the body think, nor does the mind receive the help of the body in thinking, since when the mind wishes to think it turns away from the body. For what is thought is thus eternal, and nothing pertaining to the body is thus eternal, therefore the body cannot help the mind as it strives to understand; for it is sufficient if the body does not hamper the mind. Again, without science [disciplina] nobody reasons rightly. For thought is right reasoning moving from things certain to the investigation of things uncertain, and there is nothing

certain in an ignorant mind. All that the mind knows, moreover, it contains within itself, nor does knowledge consist in anything which does not pertain to some science. For science is the knowledge of any things whatsoever. Therefore the human mind always lives.

CHAPTER IX Mind is Life, and Thus It Cannot Lack Life
If anyone asserts that the mind ought not to fear that destruction in which that which was something becomes nothing, but ought to fear that in which we call those things dead which lack life, let him notice that there is no thing which lacks itself. Moreover, mind is a certain life, so that all which is animated lives. But every inanimate thing which can be animated is understood to be dead, that is, deprived of life. Hence the mind cannot die. For if anything can lack life, this thing is not mind which animates, but a thing which has been animated. If this is absurd, this kind of destruction should be feared. For if the mind dies wholly when life abandons it, that very life which deserts it is understood much better as mind, as now mind is not something deserted by life, but the very life itself which deserted. For whatever dead thing is said to be abandoned by life, is understood to be deserted by the soul. Moreover, this life which deserts the things which die is itself the mind, and it does not abandon itself; hence the mind does not die.

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