Cloning & the Roman Catholic Church
29 SEP 2017
The Catholic Church has repeatedly opposed the idea of human cloning, arguing that scientists should not experiment on human lives or treat people as commodities. This position reinforces the Catholic belief that every life is a sacred gift from God.
1 Sanctity of Life
The primary ethical objection of the Catholic Church to cloning is that the creation of human life is a sacred process that should only take place between a man and his wife. Cloning reduces birth to an asexual act and separates the procreative act from the unifying aspect of marital intercourse. Essentially, a human being becomes a manufactured object created in a lab rather than a unique individual born from the love of a man and woman.
The Vatican also argues that cloning could lead to a kind of eugenic project in which scientists will have the ability to select who is born and manipulate human genes to dictate the outcome of human birth. The church posits that this advancement would disrupt the natural role of women as mothers and lead to the perversion of societal roles, allowing a woman to be the twin sister of her own daughter. Ultimately, the church argues, human cloning disrupts both society and the natural world. The church does, however, make an exception for animal cloning in situations in which it benefits mankind and doesn't diminish biodiversity or needlessly hurt the animal.
3 Practical Concerns
The Catholic Church has also expressed a number of practical concerns over the cloning procedure. For example, it argues, human cloning might take place at unreliable laboratories where scientists perform cloning experiments with little oversight or transparency. Similarly, scientists could potentially clone a person without their knowledge and create psychological problems for both the cloned individual and the clone himself who would have to live with the knowledge that he is simply a copy lacking individuality.
4 Related Issues
The church's position on cloning relates to issues including abortion, stem cell research, and even in vitro fertilization, all of which the church also opposes. The church's position is that a fertilized embryo is a human life; it argues that life begins at conception and that any kind of experimentation or manipulation of a human embryo is a disruption of a human life and contradicts God's will. Therefore, all of these issues fall under the same moral prohibition.