Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Hilary White

10/30/2008 (6 years ago)

Catholic Online (

The Edinburgh Cardinal said that the implications of the new law were "grotesque", "horrifying" and "nightmarish"


By Hilary White

Catholic Online (

10/30/2008 (6 years ago)

Published in Europe

EDINBURGH, October 30, 2008 ( - The UK government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) bill contains "grotesque," "horrifying" and "nightmarish" provisions that are reminiscent of the Nazi eugenics policies, says the cardinal archbishop of Edinburgh. Following his speech last weekend at a pro-life conference in Glasgow, Keith Cardinal O'Brien has issued a scathing open letter telling MPs who voted for the bill that they are acting against the ethical developments of the last 50 years of human rights laws.

Schedule 3 of the bill "enshrines the concept of 'presumed consent' in UK law," the cardinal observed, meaning that the bill would allow the removal of tissue from mentally incapacitated adults or children, without their specific consent. This tissue would then be used to create cloned animal-human hybrid or other embryos. This provision was ensured by an amendment, agreed upon by an all-party committee of only 17 MPs after the main parliamentary debates.

"I am appalled that you are promoting a Bill which seeks, by stealth, to create a regime where extracting tissue and cells from human beings no longer requires their consent or involvement," Cardinal O'Brien wrote.

The cardinal's reference to the Nazis derives from the aims of the eugenics programs that foreshadowed the Holocaust. Under the pre-war Nazi eugenics programs, and later during the war, incapacitated and mentally ill patients as well as those interned in concentration camps, were used as experimental test subjects without their consent. In response to these atrocities, the post-war Nuremberg Code was adopted by all western countries to ensure that consent was the first consideration made when using human beings as test subjects in medical and scientific research.

"The proposals in this Bill," the cardinal said, "represent a breach of 50 years of ethical medical research.They by-pass the Declaration of Helsinki, the Human Tissue Act, the Mental Capacity Act and the Human Rights Act. Removing parts of people's bodies without their consent utterly flies in the face of all BMA and GMC guidance on consent to research."

Referring to the post-war revelations of Nazi medical atrocities, the Cardinal said, "The hideous savagery of their experiments convinced the civilized world that such practices must be outlawed forever.

Among the bill's provisions is also one that allows the reclamation of ova from aborted female babies. Children created from these recovered ova would be the offspring of people killed before they were born. The cardinal said, "The grotesque implications of these procedures are utterly horrifying."

The cardinal pointed to the public consultation on such practises conducted by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority that surveyed 9,000 respondents, 83.2 per cent of whom opposed the practice involving aborted female babies, "and even the few in favour underlined the necessity of consent."

"I am staggered that you would endorse legislation, which describes the creation of embryos from a person without their consent as 'non-invasive' and which enshrines the concept of 'presumed consent' in UK law."


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2015
That opportunities for education and employment may increase for all young people.
Evangelization: That catechists may give witness by living in a way consistent with the faith they proclaim.


More Europe

Is ancient Greek tomb for Alexander the Great's friend Hephaestion? Debate continues Watch

Image of After his death in 325 B.C., Alexander the Great reportedly ordered that shrines be constructed throughout the empire. Hephaestion died less than a year before the Macedonian leader.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologist Katerina Peristeri declared that the mysterious Amphipolis monument is a tomb to Hephaestion, Alexander the Great's best friend who died less than a year before Alexander did.Fragmentary inscriptions link the monument to Hephaestion. Other archaeologists ... continue reading

10,000 copies of Germany's constitution was printed in Arabic to help nearly 800,000 migrants integrate Watch

Image of


Germany translated the first 20 articles of its constitution, which concerns basic rights such as freedom of speech, into Arabic for refugees to learn in an attempt to help immigrants integrate. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At the moment, Germany struggles to ... continue reading

Segregation of Jewish and Muslim pupils in a French school echoes chilling Nazi segregation Watch

Image of


Jewish and Muslim students at the Piedallous primary school in Auxere, Burgundy were ordered to wear disks around their necks. The incident brought with it memories of Nazi segregation and caused an uproar. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - Daily Mail ... continue reading

German refugee camps plagued with rape and child abuse Watch

Image of The European migrant crisis continues to grow. Rape and sexual abuse are already being reported inside German refugee camps.


Rape and sexual abuse is now becoming a major problem in several German refugee asylums as the country tries to cope with their migrant crisis. HOLLYWOOD, CA (Catholic Online) - Refugees are facing several problems inside overcrowded refugee centers across the country ... continue reading

OVERRUN AND OUT OF PATIENCE: Immigrants quickly wear out welcome in Germany Watch

Image of In Germany, there are a few terrorist agents mixed in with those who say they are fleeing the brutal persecution of Islamic State, when in fact they themselves are ISIS.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Germany was lauded by the international community for taking in the large influx of immigrants feeling violence in Syria and Iraq. However . this generosity has a heavy price. Many of these so-called immigrants have left their native lands to make their ... continue reading

Expert confident forensic remains of fabled 'Mona Lisa' found Watch

Image of Most everyone is familiar with the image of a young woman with an enigmatic smile, her hands folded on her lap.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," perhaps the world's most famous painting, has cast a spell across the imagination. Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo, is thought to have been the portrait's model. Bone fragments have ... continue reading

British mother of six brutally assaulted in acid attack Watch

Image of Thirty-seven-year-old Carla Whitlock says that she is still trying to come to terms with how her life has been changed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In what is common in India - but most unusual in the United Kingdom, a 37-year-old mother of six is struggling to come to terms after suffering a vicious acid attack. Witnesses saw her face visibly melt, and doctors say she will probably lose the sight in one ... continue reading

EU holds summit to discuss migrant crisis Watch

Image of The migrant crisis has resulted in over 160,000 eligible refugees with no country to settle in.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

European Union leaders met in a summit Wednesday evening in Brussels to talk about reinforcing surveillance of the frontiers, particularly sea routes into Greece where hundreds of refugees die in the midst of attempts to reach Greek islands. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA ... continue reading

Majority of migrants entering Europe NOT Syrian refugees Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The migrant crisis hitting Europe has driven headlines over the past month, tugging at the heartstrings of people wanting to help desperate refugees running from a war-torn country. However, new reports from Europe show that "only one in five migrants claiming asylum" ... continue reading

Hungarian officials approved for weapon use against migrants Watch

Image of Hungarian officials can now use non-lethal weapons against migrants trying to illegally cross borders.


Hungarian parliament have granted police and the Hungarian army the power to keep migrants out of their country. Fears of Europe being overran by migrants continue to increase. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban ... continue reading

All Europe News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29
5 ¡Ánimo, pueblo mío, memorial de Israel ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:33-35, 36-37
33 For God listens to the poor, he has never scorned ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:17-24
17 The seventy-two came back rejoicing. 'Lord,' they ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Ewald & Ewald
October 3: Martyred Northumbrian brothers, one called "the Fair" and one ... Read More