Ignorance no excuse (letter)by John R. BarichNews Weekly
, July 16, 2005
Bill Muehlenberg identifies a disturbing feature of our age when he observes how "most Christians" remain "blissfully unaware" of where modern biotechnology is taking us (News Weekly
, June 18, 2005.)
There is no excuse for this ignorance, given the amount of work Christian groups, including Catholic ones, have done to raise public awareness concerning assisted reproductive technology (ART).
Over 25 years ago, B.A. Santamaria wrote a pamphlet warning of the dangers of in vitro fertilisation (IVF). His concern about the technology motivated, in a large part, the setting up of Thomas More Centres throughout Australia.
The Catholic Church has established bioethics centres in a number of capital cities and in Britain (the Linacre Centre), the USA, and Europe. The Vatican has a number of bodies examining such issues, and Dr Joe Santamaria is a member of one of them. Until recently, Rev. Dr John Fleming headed the Southern Cross Bioethics Centre in Adelaide, supported by the Knights of the Southern Cross.
In 1987, the Vatican issued its definitive teaching on ART in Donum Vitae
[The Gift of Life
] (1987). A number of church bodies continue to consider the morality of the latest developments such as cloning and withdrawing food and water from patients. A colloquium of Catholic doctors from all over the world met in Melbourne last month to consider such issues.
In the last 20 or so years, Christians have joined together in this field, but the Catholic Church has not skimped on its effortsJohn R. Barich,