VATICAN, July 25, 2001 ( – Several media outlets were caught attempting to twist the pope's message on embryonic stem cell research. The Vatican today issued a clarification of his public statement to President George Bush in order to set the record straight. The Catholic Church opposes all research procedures that exploit living human embryos and fetuses, said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

The most reckless spin of the pope's comments came from the Washington Post, which declared misleadingly, “The pope's denunciation of stem cell research could have been much broader. By making his comments specific to stem cells that are manufactured, he gave Bush room for the type of compromise decision that many administration officials believe he is seeking.” Incredibly, the same pro-abortion publication also attempted to suggest that the Catholic Church in the US had “spun” the pope's message to make it a stronger denunciation of research which destroys human embryos.

The controversy stems from a misinterpretation of the pope's public remarks to President Bush – a misinterpretation that demonstrates either an intentional wish to create confusion on the issue or an absolute ignorance of Pope John Paul II and his most public fight for the right to life from conception until natural death. The specific part of the pope's speech in question reads: “Experience is already showing how a tragic coarsening of consciences accompanies the assault on innocent human life in the womb, leading to accommodation and acquiescence in the face of other related evils, such as euthanasia, infanticide, and more recently, proposals for the creation for research purposes of human embryos, destined to destruction in the process.” The pope was obviously expressing the extremes to which the culture of death leads, and several media outlets interpreted the statement to mean the pope condemned only these extremes. For example, following the same logic, the pope while condemning infanticide would permit abortion.

See the full speech of the Pope at:

See the coverage on the Vatican clarification from Catholic World News: