HENRIETTA — There’s no such thing as a guilty embryo, according to Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, 40, a neuroscientist who is director of education for the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, Pa.
"The embryo is always, always innocent," he said during an interview at a local restaurant.
Yet those arguing that it’s moral to harvest embryonic stem cells are treating embryos — innocent human beings — as if they can be killed and used for any purpose that might benefit humanity, he said.
…Father Pacholczyk, a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Mass., said scientists who argue for embryonic stem-cell harvesting and research downplay the humanity of the blastocyst, or five-day-old embryo, which has no discernible human features. However, such scientists are being disingenuous, he noted.
"Any scientist worth his salt knows that they were a blastocyst," he said. Pro-choice scientists really believe "in some instances, it should be allowable to destroy another member of the species because of the great good it will do."
He added that the role of scientists’ egos in the stem-cell debate should not be overlooked. Some scientists would love to receive Nobel Prizes for advancing embryonic stem-cell research, he said.
"It’s like splitting the atom," he said. When asked why scientists can’t be content with focusing on adult stem-cell research, which raises no moral objections, Father Pacholcyzk chuckled and said that adult stem cells "just aren’t as glamorous as" embryonic ones.
Scientists "are human like the rest of us," the priest said, adding that today’s society treats scientists as the ancients did their religious high priests. However, he said, many scientists lack the moral tools to tackle the stem-cell debate. Father Pacholcyzk said that scientists need to become grounded in philosophy, bioethics and religious traditions in order to handle the debate.
"These questions do deal with the interface between science and religion and values and technology," he said. "These questions are critical for the future of mankind." [Source]