THE HOLY SYNOD
SYNODAL COMMITEE FOR BIOETHICS
THE HOLY SYNOD OF THE CHURCH OF GREECE
Athens, the 17th August 2000.
The British Government΄s recent decision to allow experiments on human embryonic cells which originate from Dolly-type cloning, aroused intense political and medical conflict, but it also resurrected the importance of stressing that the moral criterion is undeniably superior to whichever scientific achievement.
Our Church, who, among other things participates in the daily drama of illness and the need for health and life for so many people, philathropically embraces every scientific endeavour which promotes health and gives hope for life.
However, it simultaneously expresses its sensitivity towards safeguarding eternal moral and spiritual values. Man as a persona is of a greater value than a biological being; we do appreciate how difficult it is to resist Science΄s data, when it is acknowledged as given, common practice, however, it may prove devastating if we surrender without resistance.
In view of the above,Our Church states that it is categorically opposed to experimentation on human embryonic cells. That it has been so named, does not imply the destruction of human embryonic cells, but of actual human embryos.
The aspect that the formation of the human persona begins from the 14th day after conception, may give the British Scientists an alibi, but, this being an aspect of scholastic origin and not a scientifically based one, it can only be taken as a subjective belief and as an irresponsible theory. The Church and the Christian conscience acknowledge man as a persona with an eternal and immortal prospect from the very moment of conception.
Discrimination between people has been increasing steadily. All evidence indicates that the course of society is clearly a “fittest” and racist one. Endeavours to improve life should not, however, demand the destruction of millions of human beings at embryonic age.
Our knowledge regarding the consequences of cloning are minimal, and the potentialities of pre-evaluation of our actions are even lesser. For this reason, every decision related to practices and experiments with cloning must be given serious consideration, with mutual agreements and extreme respect for human values. The danger of itemizing the human being and using it as material, now looms very close.
Furthermore, cloning could invariably lead to an economic - or even a reckless and programmed profiteering - perception of the human being. It could also deliver the fate and the future of people into the hands of governments or organizations with immoral and self-serving aims, or unto imprudent and careless handling.
A society which is considered lawful, may today legalize that which was forbidden yesterday; so, who can reassure us that tomorrow it will not legalize that which is forbidden today? Who, indeed, can protect us from the danger that “therapeutical” cloning may become the interim stage, before the “reproductive” cloning of mankind?
Could it be, that the British government wishes to retroactively legalize something that has already been done, and of which it has been aware for some time ?