Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland, has recently publicly condemned embryonic stem cell research. During the course of a wide-ranging homily in St. John’s Cathedral in Limerick, the Cardinal said:
‘… Now most people are willing to accept, and most legislators to legislate for the hard ethical choices we need to make to ensure the well-being of creation. However, this willingness is less evident when it comes to safe-guarding other aspects of the integrity and well-being of creation such as:
* respect for human life in all its stages;
* respect for marriage between man and woman as the natural cradle of life, love and formation in society;
* the right of every person to an adequate share in the goods of the earth.
‘When these aspects of our “human ecology” are respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits.
‘This poses a particular challenge for Ireland at this time. The advent of embryonic stem cell research indicates just how attractive a morality of the end justifying the means can be. This same utilitarian approach to morality underlies the present ecological crisis. It is the attitude which says that creation and life are there solely to serve me and my needs and that man is the master of creation rather than its steward. To plunder human life at its genesis, without respect for its inherent dignity reflects the very moral attitude which has put our created world in jeopardy. If we cannot respect our own inherent dignity from the moment of conception, what hope has the rest of creation of receiving our care and respect? If we afford more protection and respect to other forms of life and creation than we do to ourselves, then by any standards we have inverted our moral priorities completely.
‘Pope Benedict has spelt out clearly the impact on the overall moral tenor of society. “If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology.” [Caritas in Veritate]