Catholic Organization for Life and Family: What is the Status of the Human Embryo?

Thursday, March 28 2002

(Ottawa — CCCB) The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) recently held its fourth annual seminar on biotechnology, focusing on the status of the human embryo. The seminar, held March 22, 2002, in Ottawa, brought together scientists, geneticists, theologians, philosophers, bishops and Church staff to examine this complex issue.

The seminar began with an examination of the status of the human embryo from three different perspectives: biological, theological and moral. COLF Chairperson Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., of Halifax, felt the presentations permitted an open and respectful exchange of opinion between the scientific and religious communities. “These discussions allowed us to realize that science and faith are inseparable in helping us to understand what a human being is and what the challenges are concerning the status of the embryo,” he said.  Catholic teaching affirms that the unborn child must be considered as a human being from the very beginning.

The seminar also looked at the challenges of therapeutic cloning, the use of adult stem cells instead of embryonic stem cells, the creation of human embryos for research purposes, and the fate of embryos who remain after infertility treatments.

This annual meeting is organized by COLF in order to promote debate on the ethical and moral challenges that arise from the development of new technologies and to allow for an exchange between ethicists and the scientific community.

The Catholic Organization for Life and Family was jointly founded by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Knights of Columbus.  Its mission is to promote respect for life, human dignity and the essential role of the family.