Print Issue: January 2, 2003
Priest, Biologist To Speak On Cloning, Stem Cell Research
CONYERS - The scientific and moral basis for the Catholic Church's position on human cloning and stem cell research will be explored in a program at St. Pius X Church on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Father John Shramko, parochial vicar at the parish, and Dave Collart, Ph.D., an associate professor of biological sciences at Clark-Atlanta University, will lead the program and then answer questions from the audience.
"What does the church teach about human cloning? Why all the controversy? Would a cloned person have a soul? Is the embryo a human person?" These are some of the questions that will be delved into in the program.
Collart, a Catholic who holds a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology, will speak about the science that underlies stem cell research, the different types of stem cells, and the science of cloning in order to lead into the relevant theological questions.
Father Shramko will speak about the church's understanding of the dignity of the human person and how that teaching applies to the creation of life and to the transmission of life. He will address whether an embryo is a human person and why embryonic stem cell research (as opposed to adult stem cell research) destroys life. He will address whether it is morally acceptable to produce a human embryo for research through in vitro fertilization or to clone a human embryo solely for research, so-called therapeutic cloning. He will also talk about whether it is morally acceptable to use existing embryonic stem cell lines for research and speak of the church's position in light of the human and emotional appeals made by those with debilitating illnesses.
The two gave presentations on the topic to the Georgia chapter of the Catholic Medical Association.
Father Shramko, a newly ordained priest, said he draws upon papal documents and those of the U.S. bishops as well as a medical ethics class in seminary to present the church's position.
"I am not a professional ethicist. I am probably a David against a Goliath" in trying to clearly present the church's message when voices loudly communicate against it. The program is being offered in January as a pro-life opportunity.
The public from throughout the archdiocese is invited to the program at St. Pius. The church is located at 2621 Highway 20, SE. For more information, call the parish at (770) 483-3660.