My, how Catholic the European Union is

Potential cures for dozens of debilitating conditions are under threat from a European ruling that claims that making money from embryonic stem cell research is immoral, leading scientists have warned.

As one raised as a Papist I can see the logic being deployed. Good cannot come from an evil act. This was used a decade or more back to insist that British Catholics should not use the newer Rubella vaccine, for it had been created from the cells of an aborted foetus. That abortion itself was an evil act and thus good cannot come from the vaccine created out of it.

The monk who drafted this (entirely unsurprising, given Catholic moral teachings) opinion was in fact one of the history teachers at my old school.

Anyway, we can see at least elements of this in this ruling:

EU judges are considering a test case that could make it unlawful to patent applications using embryonic stem cells, or anything derived from them, on moral grounds.

Perhaps not \”you may not do this\” but at least \”you may not profit from this\” which amounts, in the end, to very much the same thing. For without profit no one will do it.

Despite the dreadfulness of the subject matter (\”is it OK to kill someone in order to save others?\”) there is a certain amusement in it all.

For those who insist that there are no moral concerns about embryonic stem cell research, hey, a blastocyst isn\’t a person so it doesn\’t matter, are exactly those who tend to argue that there are moral concerns over the use of money in the creation of blastocysts. No money should change hands for eggs or sperm for example. The Mary Warnocks of this world (purely as an example, I don\’t actually know what her views are on these two subjects, just a symbol for those who would do the moral philosohpy behind the law for us).

6 thoughts on “My, how Catholic the European Union is”

  1. 12 stars in a circle is a Catholic symbol, and it is the EU flag too. Made sense when it was introduced when there were 12 members, but has not been increased for the extra members like the US flag.

    It is all a Catholic plot I tells you!

  2. Gosh, do I remember the European elite sneering at Dubya for his opposition to stem cell research? Why, yes, I do!

  3. Reading the judgement, it looks like this isn’t a judge off the reservation at all.

    The underlying law says that commercial or industrial applications of human embryos are not patentable on grounds of immorality. All the monkjudge is doing is taking the (obviously correct) position that using embryonic stem cells to treat another person’s medical condition (destroying the embryo in the process) constitutes a commercial or industrial application of the embryo.

  4. As always when one is governed by a behemoth, the logic used by it varies with it’s aims.

    In this case, nothing good can come from an illegal act, but in the case of the flow of booze and fags within the EU, the law specifically states that a successful prosecution can result from an illegal stop and search.

    Which is why I prefer Common Law.

  5. As soon as I heard the story I was concocting the counter-argument that this cuts right into the abortion question in ways the Court almost certainly doesn’t want to be raising.

  6. Tim,

    Thank you for this piece. My boy is due to get his MMR very soon, and after reading it I checked our Church’s current position on this.

    The Vatican’s most recent statement on the use of vaccines derived from the bodies of aborted babies is that their use is licit, but provides the following directions –

    “the lawfulness of the use of these vaccines should not be misinterpreted as a declaration of the lawfulness of their production, marketing and use, but is to be understood as being a passive material cooperation and, in its mildest and remotest sense, also active, morally justified as an extrema ratio due to the necessity to provide for the good of one’s children and of the people who come in contact with the children (pregnant women); ”


    “such cooperation occurs in a context of moral coercion of the conscience of parents, who are forced to choose to act against their conscience or otherwise, to put the health of their children and of the population as a whole at risk. This is an unjust alternative choice, which must be eliminated as soon as possible.”

    It’s not strictly germane to the point at hand, but at least they can be used.

    As for your main point, the unscrupulousness of those on the other side of the fence on this matter, you are of course correct.

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