A Catholic environmentalist approach to the embryonic stem-cell debate

A Catholic environmentalist approach to the embryonic stem-cell debate

A Catholic environmentalist tries to explain to his secular friends in the movement why you can’t separate saving the unborn from saving the Earth. He says that the Gospel of Life demands we respect all life, and while there is a hierarchy of dignity that places human life at the top, the Church teaches that all life is sacred. And that’s where embryonic stem cells come in.

Nature teaches that physical life comes and goes by forces not entirely in our control. Against what the world considers wisdom, Catholicism finds peace by integrating the reality of suffering into our earthly, mortal existence. It recognizes that with life come illness, suffering and death—and as Christ did not flee his cross, Christians do not shun theirs.

But as the world seeks to add to its arsenal of pills and potions in a frantic attempt to stave off the inevitable, the new frontier of medical science has become the actual use of human life—conveniently frozen and detached from the rest of us by the doings of the fertility industry.

It’s an interesting argument to say that opposition to embryonic stem-cell research should be opposed by environmentalists because it is a tampering with the natural order. Yes, at this level there are giant rhetorical holes in the argument, but it might be the start of something you can consider. It’s certainly a unique approach.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
5 comments
  • He’s still placing that “all life is sacred” phrase in their, which will eventually come down to “human life is at the top of the chain, but we’re not necessarily talking about human life here… yet.” So that takles us to the “life” in a fetus being equally sacred as other life.

    Perhaps he made it clear that this wasn’t an acceptable equivocation. It is a possible equivocation based on the claim.

  • I’ve long wondered whether say, animal-loving vegetarians might be more amenable to a pro-life case.  But I think a lot of the environmentalist movement which claims that all life is sacred just ends up claiming no life is sacred, since there’s no way to distinguish a hierarchy of value between different forms of life.  Kinda like the flaws in pantheism.

  • What drives a lot of vegetarians is less a sense of life’s sacredness but a materialist belief in the existential equality of animal life, which is why sterilization, contraception, abortion, and euthanasia are frequently part of their agenda for humans. They have a narrow sense of dignity and quality of life.

    I was a vegetarian for a while before I returned to the Church, and I was married to an ethical vegetarian. She’s a bit more level headed than many, but she more than once expressed her opinion that likened humans to a cancerous growth.

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