Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

6/10/2010 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (

The Church enthusiastically supports research on Adult Stem Cells

Hawkings view of the insignificance of the human person is sad. His error concerning how the Church views the relationship between faith, science and reason is just plain wrong. It is one more example of the continual drumbeat against the Catholic Church in an increasingly hostile culture. What is needed are well formed Catholics who can learn how to defend the truth.

Pope Benedict XVI and Stephen Hawkings.

Pope Benedict XVI and Stephen Hawkings.


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

6/10/2010 (5 years ago)

Published in U.S.

NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) - World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking was in New York this past week to be honored by the World Science Festival. He gave an interview to Dianne Sawyer of ABC News. He posited his personal opinions that human life is "insignificant in the universe" and that there is an adversarial relationship between science and religion.  He told Sawyer "There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works." First out of the gate to defend the Church was New York's "pugilist with words", the President of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue. He responded: "How any rational person could belittle the pivotal role that human life plays in the universe is a wonder, but it is just as silly to say that all religions are marked by the absence of reason. While there are some religions which are devoid of reason, there are others, such as Roman Catholicism, which have long assigned it a special place. "It was the Catholic Church that created the first universities, and it was the Catholic Church that played a central role in the Scientific Revolution; these two historical contributions made possible Mr. Hawking's career.

"Reason, in pursuit of truth, has been reiterated by the Church fathers for nearly two millennia. That is why Hawking posits a false conflict: in the annals of the Catholic Church, there is no inherent conflict between science and religion. Quite the contrary: science and religion, in Catholic thought, are complementary properties. Ergo, nothing is gained by alleging a "victory" of science over religion. "Religion without reason, Pope Benedict XVI instructed us in his Regensburg address in 2006, leads to fanaticism. That much Hawking seems to understand. What he doesn't get is its contra: science without faith also leads to disaster-the genocidal regimes in Germany, the Soviet Union, China and Cambodia being Exhibits A, B, C and D." A Letter of the Venerable John Paul II set forth the proper relationship between Faith and Reason, "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth-in a word, to know himself-so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves." (Fides et Ratio, Faith and Reason) Hawkings view of the insignificance of the human person is sad. His error concerning how the Church views the relationship between faith, science and reason is just plain wrong. It is one more example of the continual drumbeat against the Catholic Church in an increasingly hostile culture, based on misinformation. One example of this kind of misinformation is the often repeated claim that the Catholic Church opposes "Stem Cell Research." The Church opposes deadly stem cell research such as research done on human embryos which always results in taking the life of the embryonic human person. It is immoral to take innocent human life even if one can then use parts of the human person who has been killed to develop a potential cure for another. The end can never justify the means. The Church enthusiastically supports research on Adult Stem Cells and cells derived from fetal cord blood. Neither type of stem cell research takes innocent human life. They also show tremendous scientific promise. A spokesman for the Vatican recently made known their strong support for the research being conducted at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine using adult stem cells. The Catholic Church insists that the human person is indeed significant in the universe.  In 2008 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith in the Catholic Church issued an instruction on the "Dignity of the Human Person." It began with these words "The dignity of a person must be recognized in every human being from conception to natural death. This fundamental principle expresses a great "yes" to human life and must be at the center of ethical reflection on biomedical research, which has an ever greater importance in today's world". The instruction offered "a word of support and encouragement for the perspective on culture which considers science an invaluable service to the integral good of the life and dignity of every human being. The Church therefore views scientific research with hope and desires that many Christians will dedicate themselves to the progress of biomedicine and will bear witness to their faith in this field. She hopes moreover that the results of such research may also be made available in areas of the world that are poor and afflicted by disease, so that those who are most in need will receive humanitarian assistance". Following the release of the instruction the Press was filled with reports concerning its content. A few accurately described it and affirmed its significance. Others passed on the caricatures of the Catholic Church such as what Hawkings said to Sawyer in this ABC interview. When I read professor Hawkings comments I felt compelled to again  encourage all Catholics  to read this teaching document. It is a "doctrinal" statement of the ordinary magisterium (teaching office) and must be given the full assent of our intellect and will. However, it was addressed not only to Catholics, other Christians or even just people of faith, it is addressed to "all who seek the truth". It presents the truth by drawing upon the "light both of reason and faith and seeks to set forth an integral vision of man and his vocation". The Church does not discourage progress in biomedicine, it encourages it. However, the human person is never an "it" - but an "I" - some-one who must never be treated as an object.  "The body of a human being, from the very first stages of its existence, can never be reduced merely to a group of cells. The embryonic human body develops progressively according to a well defined program with its proper finality, as is apparent in the birth of every baby." The insistence upon this framework for evaluating biomedicine is revealed in the Natural Law; the fundamental human right to life and the dignity of human persons. This right is knowable by and binding upon all men and women and is not simply a "religious" construct. Footnote 7 within the document cites Pope Benedict XVI's presentation to the United Nations in April of 2008 which summarizes this point well: "Human particular the right to life of every human being "are based on the natural law inscribed on human hearts and present in different cultures and civilizations. Removing human rights from this context would mean restricting their range and yielding to a relativistic conception, according to which the meaning and interpretation of rights could vary and their universality would be denied in the name of different cultural, political, social and even religious outlooks. This great variety of viewpoints must not be allowed to obscure the fact that not only rights are universal, but so too is the human person, the subject of those rights" I am deeply grateful for the Catholic Church, Defender of Life and Promoter of Science at the Service of the Person. What is needed are well formed Catholics who can learn how to defend the truth presented by the Church to an age which has lost its common sense, reason and moral compass. We need to read what our Church teaches and be ready to contend for the culture.


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

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More U.S.

MIRACLES DO HAPPEN: Days-old baby girl buried alive pulled to safety in California Watch

Image of Following the child's muffled cries, police eventually found the girl in a crevice along the biking path. Wrapped in a blanket, covered with a layer of rocks and rubble, the girl was cold - but alive.


While much still needs to be learned - authorities here in Compton, California are gratified to learn that miracles still happen. A days-old baby girl, estimated to be only two to three days old, has been pulled to safety from a riverbed after a passerby heard ... continue reading

Who Needs Advent? I do! Watch

Image of The candle is a symbol of Advent because it is a symbol of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, who is always coming to those with the eyes of living faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Jesus Christ is not just a memory to the Christian with living faith. He is alive in our midst and living His Life in and through His Body, the Church, of which we are members. The redemptive mission of the Lord Jesus continues until He returns. As Christians, we ... continue reading

BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big and so powerful, you won't believe this MASSIVE SHOCKING fact about it! Watch

Image of Obama is the titular head of the world's most nefarious terrorist organization, a title he may have inherited from his predecessor, and that will be passed to his successor.


If you were asked, what is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated in human history, how would you answer? Global warming? Vaccines? The Moon Landing? Entire religions?  (Not that we agree with these). But what would you say? In a moment, we're going to offer an answer ... continue reading

'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for best deals Watch

Image of Sales for pricey items such as electronic devices erupt into violence on


Everyone has had their turkey leftovers from the previous day's Thanksgiving Feast - and now it's out the door to the nearest "big box" store in a mad scavenger hunt called "Black Friday," where shoppers trample each other for the best deals then can get just before ... continue reading

President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in Thanksgiving address Watch

Image of The president then went on to say that, all Americans must open their neighborhoods, their homes, and hearts to Syrian refugees.


United States President Barack Obama called on Americans to welcome Syrian refugees this Thanksgiving season, who - like the pilgrims that set sail on the Mayflower, were likewise fleeing persecution in their native land. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving Day: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart Watch

Image of Around tables throughout America, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gather with mothers and fathers, Grandpas and Grandmas, extended family, neighbors and friends to thank God and one another. And then, we feast; not only on the food, but even more importantly, on the gift of the love which informs all family relationships and true friendships, the real source of lasting joy, the love of the God who gave us life and liberty.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Happy Thanksgiving Day. May it be a day for love and gratitude. No matter how difficult the challenges we face as a Nation, we have much to be grateful for. As we give thanks, we will find the strength we need to love even more fully. As we practice regularly ... continue reading

New ISIS video taunts United States to 'bring it on' Watch

Image of While the video is pumping up Islamist State, the fact of the matter is is the group is suffering heavy losses on the ground form allied bombardment, especially since Russia began bombing the group


A new video from the Islamic State is highlighting the high number of U.S. soldiers who commit suicide, in effect to tell the world's last remaining superpower to "bring it on." U.S. President Barack Obama has since dismissed ISIS as "a bunch of killers with ... continue reading

Horrific outrage erupts over proposed mosque in Virginia after Paris attacks Watch

Image of The Muslim community in Fredericksburg, Virginia has received support from the local Christian and Jewish clergy.


"Nobody wants your evil cult," declared a man at a zoning meeting in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was lobbing his invective at several American Muslims there over a proposed mosque to be built there. "Every one of you are terrorists. I don't care what you say. ... continue reading

The revealing truth behind the traditional presidential Thanksgiving turkey pardon Watch

Image of President Ronald Reagan was the first U.S. president to use the word


President Obama will pardon two turkeys - named Tom One and Tom Two - from a turkey farm in Modesto California on Thanksgiving Eve as part of an annual presidential tradition. Obama will make a few jokes with his family and then pardon the turkeys to live out ... continue reading

'Domestic terrorism': 5 People shot during Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis Watch

Image of Despite a shooting at a Minneapolis Black Lives Matter protest, the group plans to return to the precinct to continue their protests.


Protesters were standing outside the 4th Precinct in Minneapolis for Black Lives Matter in the case of 24-year-old Jamar Clark when gunshots rang out. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -Five protesters were shot outside the police station Tuesday afternoon as one ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • MIRACLES DO HAPPEN: Days-old baby girl buried alive pulled to safety ...
  • Daily Readings for Monday, November 30, 2015
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • St. Andrew: Saint of the Day for Monday, November 30, 2015
  • GRAPHIC IMAGES: Islamic extremist shown being BLOWN UP while making ...
  • CRYBABY KILLER: Islamist State fighter breaks down in tears after ...

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 33:14-16
14 "Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall fulfil the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
4 DIRECT me in your ways, Yahweh, and teach me your paths.5 ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
25 'There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations ... Read More

Reading 2, First Thessalonians 3:12--4:2
12 May the Lord increase and enrich your love for each other and for all, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 29th, 2015 Image

St. Saturninus
November 29: St. Saturninus Bishop of Toulouse and Martyr ... Read More