March 13 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
Category: Biotechnology Year: 2008 Rating: 12
An interview by Italian newspaper L’Osservatore Romano with Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti has set the blogosphere ablaze. Sounding off on an assortment of “new sins”, the high-ranking Girotti voiced his opinions about the course he think the Vatican should be taking.
“Priests must take account of new sins which have appeared on the horizon of humanity as a corollary of the unstoppable process of globalization,” insisted the Girotti, coming off as a bit of a Catholic futurist.
“You offend God not only by stealing, blaspheming or coveting your neighbour’s wife, but also by ruining the environment, carrying out morally debatable scientific experiments, or allowing genetic manipulations which alter DNA or compromise embryos,” the Archbishop continued.
Of all these “new sins”, it was unsurprisingly biotech and stem-cell research that seemed to worry Girotti the most.
“Within bioethics, there are areas where we absolutely must denounce some violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments and genetic manipulation whose outcome is difficult to predict and control,” he said.
So, will Pope Benedict and the broader Vatican soon mimic Girotti’s rigid stance on biotech? Or will they more carefully pick battles and language? As disruptive new technologies continue to add complexity to the moral horizon, the church will be under great pressure to take a hard stance. Either way, we should expect hear a great deal more from foresighted clergy, such as Girotti, with growing concerns about the future of, well, everything.