Note: These resources are presented for your information, and do not constitute an endorsement by the Diocese of Trenton.
Stem cells are tiny building blocks of the body with an ability to repair or even replace damaged cells or tissues and lead to cures and treatments for a wide range of illnesses and conditions. Research on stem cells is a central focus of the medical community, because of the potential for helping persons with illness or disease. Stem cells can be derived from two distinct sources: embryonic stem cell lines or adult stem cells.
This is a very important question! The Church isn’t against stem cell research in general – we oppose only the research which destroys an embryo, because it’s a human life. Adult stem cell research is totally acceptable.
Adult stem cells come from a living person or from umbilical cord blood. Science is succeeding in developing treatments from stem cell research that uses adult (also called non-embryonic) stem cells. Adult stem cells have resulted in successful treatment of dozens of illnesses, including diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and immune deficiencies, just to name a few.
Definitely! Embryonic stem cell research destroys human embryos. Embryos are human persons deserving of our protection. Some people try to justify embryonic research because they believe it may lead to cures for certain disabling diseases. However, even the desire to find cures and help the sick cannot justify the killing of other human persons.
In conjunction with the New Jersey Catholic Conference, the New Jersey Catholic Respect Life Directors have launched a joint effort to educate the faithful on the issues surrounding stem cell research.
In September 2007, all Catholic parishes in NJ received a DVD and a packet of information to help dispel the myths and clarify Church teaching on stem cell research. This initiative was undertaken with the support and blessing of the bishops of New Jersey who have been concerned that the voices heard in the public square are sending a misleading message to people.
The citizens of New Jersey had the opportunity to vote on the NJ Stem Cell Research Bond Act in November in order to approve or disapprove $450 million dollars to fund stem cell research. The bond issue included funding for both embryonic and adult stem cell research, but the great majority of funding was to be dedicated to embryonic stem cell research. On November 6, 2007, the referendum was defeated. We are grateful for all of those persons who worked to insure that the Catholics of our state could make an informed decision on this referendum.
Remember, in light of Church teaching on the sanctity of human life, we can and do support adult stem cell research, while we are opposed to any funding for human embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. Embryonic stem cell research always involves the destruction of the human embryo, which is innocent human life.
Catholics have an obligation to protect human life and promote responsible scientific research. Therefore, we can never support embryonic stem cell research.
To learn more about the science of adult stem cell research and cord blood donation, please click HERE (194k, .pdf).
There are many resources available to assist women who may need them during a pregnancy and for their babies. Let us Spread the Word that this help is available. This information might save some lives. This resource list is a starting point with essentials but there are even more local possibilities which can provide help.
Certain kinds of stem cell research involve the manipulation and destruction of living human embryos. On the other hand, adult stem cell research (also known as non-embryonic stem cell research) has already resulted in successful treatment for dozens of illnesses, including diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, corneal regeneration, Crohn’s disease and immune deficiencies.