NewsFri Oct 7, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST
South Korea Catholic Church offers $10 Million for Adult Stem Cell Research
SEOUL, October 7, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic Church in South Korea announced that it would fund adult stem cell research with its own funds. The Archdiocese of Seoul said it would provide 10 billion won (US$9.6 million), with most of the money coming straight from diocesan coffers.
Bishop Yeom Su-jeong, head of the funding committee said, “We plan to devote ourselves to saving human dignity above everything else ... and raise awareness of respecting lives.”
Contrary to the claims of much of the secular media, the Catholic Church does not oppose stem cell research. In Australia, the Archdiocese of Sydney contributed $100,000 to support research that led to a major breakthrough in adult stem cells.
The Catholic Church of Korea also plans to award an annual 300 million won grant to a scientist working in adult stem cell research. The bishop said in a statement, “We established the committee to encourage and support adult stem cell research which can help patients with incurable diseases essentially in line with the Catholic creeds.”
“Keeping and saving lives ... is the mission of the times that our church must accomplish in the face of whatever difficulties,” Bishop Yeom said.
South Korea has made international news in recent months because of the work of Dr. Hwang Woo-suk who is progressing from using and killing “spare” embryos left over after in vitro fertilization to human cloning which, he claims, will provide genetically matched cells. The need to match a patient’s cells derives from the immune system rejection that is one of the many medical barriers to using embryo cells in direct therapies.
Dr. Hwang’s work, while acclaimed around the world, has been vehemently opposed by the local Catholic Church which recognizes the inherent dignity of human beings at the embryonic stage. Hwang, continues to make the bizarre claim that because he will not allow any of his clones to live past a certain point, that he is not engaging in ‘human cloning.’ The Catholic Church, along with basic principles of the science of human embryology, rejects this distinction as an inherent contradiction.
Thus far, the value of cloned and IVF-derived embryonic stem cells for disease treatment remains entirely speculative. Cloning and embryo research, despite the hype, have yet to provide a single cure or treatment, whereas adult stem cells are routinely used to treat many diseases including various forms of cancer and more breakthroughs are coming regularly.
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Cloners in State of Complete Moral Disconnect
Catholic Church in Australia Offers $100,000 Grant for Adult Stem Cell Research
Australian Research Team Finds Stem Cell Gold in the Nose