Text: Bishop Tartaglia preaches on Embryology Bill

 In a strongly worded homily preached yesterday at St Mirin's Cathedral in Paisley, Bishop Philip Tartaglia described the current Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill as a " state-sponsored attack on unborn human life". The Bishops' homily coincided with the distribution of a national pastoral letter from all Scotland's Bishops to the Catholic community warning of the dangers of the legislation: www.scmo.org/_titles/view.asp?id=537 The move to allow the creation of human-animal embryos is described by Bishop Tartaglia as a " twisted enterprise" and he repeats the call that MPs should "be able to vote according to their consciences". The full text of the homily is shown below "In the fullness of time, the eternal Father sent his co-eternal Son to become incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus fulfils in himself the words of the prophet today concerning the Servant of God who would come to save his people from their sins through his own suffering, "And now the Lord has spoken, he who formed me in the womb to be his servant. Even in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the unborn Jesus was known by God as his Son. Even in the womb we are all known and loved by God as distinct human individuals. It seems that hardly a year passes that the bishops need to bring before you yet another state-sponsored attack on unborn human life. It almost seems that the powers of evil are never done fomenting the culture of death among hapless human beings by attacking the innocent unborn or the weak terminally ill with the great lie that these lives have no value at all or only have the value that powerful men and women are prepared to concede them. The latest twisted enterprise is legislation soon to be presented by the Government at Westminster which would allow the creation of human-animal embryos. You should know that such procedures are banned in other countries. They have rightly been described by the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life as a "monstrous act against human dignity, and I am sure that that is the instinctive reaction of our moral reason. It will not surprise you to know that this experimentation is backed by commercial interests who see in it the potential for profit. However it does not have to be this way. The scientific community is increasingly appreciating that the use of adult stem cells is both ethically and practically a better solution than creating human or hybrid embryos. In fact adult stem cells have been successful in treating 73 conditions which weaken human beings. Embryonic stem cells have so far proved clinically useless and are used to treat no conditions, illnesses or pathologies. This suggests strongly that the way to go is not in harvesting embryonic human or hybrid stem cells, but in the clinical use of adult stem cells. All this is widely known in the scientific and political community. For that reason, the bishops have called for MPs not to have to tow the party line in the forthcoming vote on this matter, but to be able to vote according to their consciences. Democracy is not democracy when it is manipulated by vested interests. Democracy only works when there is freedom of spirit and freedom of conscience. The position of the Church in this matter is not anti-science. Science contributes greatly to making the world and mankind more human. But science can also destroy mankind and the world if it is not directed by a higher wisdom and by well-informed conscientious decisions of men and women of good will and of good faith. In today's Gospel, John the Baptist declares Jesus to be the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world. He is the one on whom the Spirit rests. John testifies and gives witness that Jesus is the Chosen One of God. In his name, I ask you to support any initiative which brings before our MP,s the sacredness of unborn human life and the moral repugnance and practical futility of creating human-animal hybrid embryos for the purposes experimentation. St Mirin's Cathedral 20th January 2008

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