South Korean stem-cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk, left, shakes hands with the leader of the Roman Catholic Church Seoul Archbishop Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk
SEOUL, South Korea – The world’s leading stem-cell researcher, Hwang Woo-suk, said Wednesday he would push forward with his research while maintaining respect for human dignity after confronting Catholic critics who have condemned his work as unethical.
"I will take lessons from the great teachings and guidance," Hwang told reporters after a meeting with Seoul Archbishop Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk. "I will not fail to meet the Archbishop’s expectations."
The debate over stem cell research was rekindled after Hwang’s team created the first embryonic stem cells that genetically match injured or sick patients – a major step in the quest to grow replacement tissue to treat diseases. Last year, Hwang’s team created the world’s first cloned human embryos.
…However, Cheong said Wednesday he was somewhat relieved to find out Hwang’s research would be "complementary" to research into adult stem cells – an area supported by many opponents of the use of embryonic stem cells as an alternative that doesn’t involve destroying embryos. Researchers, however, say adult stem cells are less versatile and are sometimes damaged by the health problems of the adult.
"I will pray for God’s blessing for his future research," Cheong said.
I hope they misquoted the Archbishop here. Just because you are doing ethical stem-cell research along with unethical stem-cell research it certainly doesn’t make alright. This is like getting half of your cadavers for medical research donated and then go out and kill some people to provide the other half as being no problem. God certainly can’t bless research that involves murder.
"We can stop, at any time, embryonic stem cell research into areas where adult stem cells have proven to provide cures," she told reporters.
The archbishop has also expressed fears Hwang and his researchers may have heightened the possibility of cloning humans. Hwang has repeatedly said human cloning is neither the aim of his research nor a possible venture. [Source]
Excuse me? The doctor who is cloning human embryo’s so as to provide an exact tissue match is not going to venture into human cloning.
Well is the story true or not?
If it is, then it’s time to start holding our popes to account for appointing such bad bishops.
This is totally unacceptable.
To be fair, after reading the whole story, it seems like he could have easily been misquoted, or had his words twisted to say something he didn’t mean.
Still, if a bishop was doing his job correctly, his position would be so clear that it would be impossible for anyone to be confused about it, or get it wrong.
It’s one of those cases of “Tell them what they want to hear” and do what ever the hell it is you want or need to do. Smiling glad handers make me sick.
*heavy sigh* I feel like it’s 1973 all over again. Incremental steps towards great evil. With millions of abortions under our belt and thousands of women beginning to speak out on their suffering post abortion, I thought society was getting a clearer picture on the matter.
He’s cloning embryos, but won’t clone humans. That’s like jumping out of an airplane and swearing you won’t hit the ground.
By the way… the fact that Jeff started off the article with having to identify which was the researcher and which was the Archbishop in the photo kinda left me with a “Houston, we have a problem” feeling.
What is nearly always ommitted in such reporting is the fact that there has been quite a lot of success with adult stem cells in recent years, while the medical outlook of embryonic stem cell research (regardless of its ethical implications) is questionable at best. But for stem cell research ideologists, embryonic stem cells just seem more glamorous…
Goodness! I certainly hope that the archbishop has been misquoted, but who knows.
You are right, God can never bless such a thing.
I ran a Google search of Korean language articles on the meeting using the prof’s and the Archibishop’s names. Most of these articles report: (1) both parties agree on the dignity of human life but the prof does not think an embryonic cell is a human life; (2) the Archibishop recommended adult stem cell research to the prof (in fact, the medical dept. of the Catholic Univ. of Korea ran an adult stem cell clinical trial recently with very favorable results); (3) the prof said he has no plan to attempt reproductive cloning; and (4) they could not reach an agreement on the ethics of the prof’s research because their views are so radically apart.
Importantly, I did not find in any article a reference to “God’s blessing”, or any indication that the Archibishop approved of the research. So I am inclined to think that this reference was a result of misreporting.
The meeting lasted about 50 minutes but was not open to the press. It was scheduled after the Archibishop issued a statement opposing the prof’s cloning research. It should be noted that the prof’s cloning success has generated much media hype in Korea and the Catholic Church initially was the lone voice of opposition to this practice. It has been villified for this opposition from other religious as well as secular groups, some invoking the medieval inquisition (which, by the way, didn’t happen in Korea but no matter) and Galileo. Since then, some other religious and secular voices joined the Church in expressing opposition. I myself am proud of the Catholic Church in Korea for its witness for the Truth.
I did some more search on the “blessing” business since the last posting. While there are some confusing reports, it appears what the Archibishop actually said can be better translated as “I wish (or pray for) God’s grace on Prof. Hwang for his life-long efforts for patients of incurable diseases.” Which is not exactly the same as invoking a blessing for his research — I would think that one can wish or pray for God’s grace on anyone (especially sinners, for the grace of repentence). True, it can be misinterpreted and I don’t know exactly what the Archibishop had meant in his own mind. But it sounds more like a politeness and face-saving thing that’s considered important in Far East. Same thing for the smile and handshake business — they may be off-putting but don’t mean that much. Politicians who hate one another do that too.
The main thing is that they made clear about their disagreement on the main issue – ethics of the embryonic stem cell research. No party’s views had changed. I don’t know why this AP story did not clearly mention that. Perhaps their own agenda?