Pope Francis Condemns Destruction of Human Embryos


Pope Francis has told geneticists and scientists working on Huntinton’s Disease that “there is a great deal of expectation” regarding their work to find a cure for the disease, but also to improve the living conditions of those suffering from it. However, he said, finding the cure must be done in a way that does not fuel the “throw-away culture” that at times “infiltrates even the world of scientific research.”


“Some branches of research, in fact, utilize human embryos, inevitably causing their destruction,” the pope said. “But we know that no ends, even noble in themselves, such as a predicted utility for science, for other human beings or for society, can justify the destruction of human embryos.”


Meeting a group of people suffering from Huntington’s Disease, Pope Francis told them that despite their illness, they are “precious in the eyes of God” and in the eyes of the Church. “In many cases, the sick and their families have experienced the tragedy of shame, isolation and abandonment,” Pope Francis said. “Today, however, we are here because we want to say to ourselves and all the world: ‘HIDDEN NO MORE!’” he said, to an ovation by those present.


In his remarks, the pope addressed each of those present specifically, with words for the patients and their families, but also for the doctors who treat them and the geneticists and scientists who “sparing no energy” have spent their lives studying and researching a treatment for Huntington’s Disease.


Huntington’s is an inherited disorder that results in the death of brain cells. Although the symptoms may vary from one patient to the other, it affects mental abilities, generates a lack of coordination, and as it advances, uncoordinated, jerky body movements become more apparent. Physical abilities gradually worsen until coordinated movement becomes difficult, making it impossible for the patients to speak. The mental ability of many decline into dementia.


Those who took part in the audience came from 20 different countries. This was the first time a global leader welcomed them.


Addressing their families, Pope Francis acknowledged their self-sacrifice too, as mothers, fathers, spouses, children and siblings, “accompany your family members on this difficult path.” “The family is the privileged place of life and of dignity, and you can cooperate to build that network of solidarity and of help that the family alone can guarantee, and which the family is first called to live,” he said.

Crux. May 18.

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