Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

6/10/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/10/2010 (4 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 rights.in 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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More U.S.

Fr. Randy Sly on Thanksgiving and Our Roots of Faith

Image of Ceremonies and periods of thanksgiving are woven through the entire tapestry of history. We find them in the Jewish Calendar of Feasts, in other world religions, in European cultures and native practices of North America, South America, Asia and Africa.

By Fr. Randy Sly

Thanksgiving Day has become a time when we watch parades and then take in large amounts of food and football. According to some calculations, 46 million turkeys-around 550 million pounds-will be consumed during Thanksgiving this year. But that's not how it began! ... continue reading


Thanksgiving Day: We are Still One Nation - Under God Watch

Image of The sincere sentiments expressed by this extraordinary leader, George Washington, should inform our response to all of the challenges we face today in the United States of America. We are still one Nation - under God. They should also inspire us to pray for great leaders to emerge in this our great hour of need. Leaders who can help us see this as an hour of opportunity and an invitation to reaffirm our reliance on God.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

This week the people of the United States of America struggle to find a way through the trauma we are experiencing in the wake of the riots in Ferguson, Missouri. Too many self-appointed "experts" seem all too eager to tell us what divides us. However, even in ... continue reading


Following Ferguson shooting, police departments rush to adopt body cameras Watch

Image of The purchasing of body cameras by police departments nationwide has increased dramatically following the shooting of Michael Brown.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Whether you believe the story told by Ferguson police officer Daren Wilson, or by the family of Michael Brown, it is certain that the case has changed the face of law enforcement in America. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The use of body cameras by police ... continue reading


Catholic Shopping .com is about to have its biggest sale ever for Black Friday weekend!

Image of Sign up so you don't miss any deals during this special Black Friday weekend sale!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

This weekend, Catholic Shopping .com is having an amazing sale with up to 70% off of selected items. These deep discounts will help you finish your shopping early, but be prepared, many of these sales will last just an hour or two and then the specials will be gone! ... continue reading


A Boston man has something new to be thankful for after he received a double arm transplant Watch

Image of Will Lautzenheiser, a professor of film production and screenwriting at Boston University had to undergo surgery to remove his arms and legs in 2011 after he came down with a life-threatening streptococcal infection.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Boston man who received a double arm transplant in October is making remarkable recovery, just in time for Thanksgiving. The best part, he says, is that he is able to hug his loved ones again. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Will Lautzenheiser became infected ... continue reading


Dreaded cartel overlord Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez sentenced to 22 years in prison in U.S. Watch

Image of Top Sinaloa cartel thug Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez has been sentenced to 22 years in prison in the U.S. for planning the delivery of more than 600 pounds of cocaine.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Top Sinaloa cartel thug Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez has been sentenced to 22 years in prison in the U.S. for planning the delivery of more than 600 pounds of cocaine. Some of the damning evidence against him was provided by twin brothers Pedro and Margarito ... continue reading


Here's 3,000 reasons why Obama just made illegal immigrants more attractive to your employer Watch

Image of Due to a loophole in Obamacare, the president's new amnesty plans mean that employers who hire illegals don't have to cover them with insurance, and won't be fined for doing so.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama's new amnesty plan is going to have some drastic effects that most American's aren't aware of, one that may just get you kicked out of a job because of all things, Obamacare. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Under the Affordable Care Act, ... continue reading


Acknowledging Unknown Soldier over known soldiers: Over 1.2 million veterans lack health insurance Watch

Image of As a culture, many of us feel more comfortable honoring the tomb of the Unknown Soldier --

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As many leave laurels at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the United States refuses to acknowledge the health and benefits of known soldiers. While most people assume that veterans automatically receive health care coverage through the Veterans Health ... continue reading


Ferguson in flames as policeman who shot, killed teenager found not guilty Watch

Image of Police claimed they came under heavy automatic weapon fire. Some buildings were left to burn because of the danger.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People have responded to violence - with violence. After Police Officer Darren Wilson was been cleared of all charges in the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown in August. His surrounding community of Ferguson, Missouri has responded with widespread ... continue reading


Priest in Ferguson reports deep mistrust between groups fueling tension Watch

Image of Police in Ferguson move detain a protester.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Catholic priest assigned to Ferguson, MO, spoke with Vatican Radio about the "festering" mistrust between the populace and police. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Vatican Radio shared an interview with Fr. Arthur Cavitt, a parish priest who was asked about the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter