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Embryo origins in projects discussion

VATICAN CITY (CNS): A better scientific understanding of the origin and development of the human embryo can help answer many of today’s hot-button bioethical issues, participants in a Vatican-sponsored project said.

Participants in the project, “Science, Technology and the Ontological Quest”, were to hold an international conference in Rome from November 15-17.

It was to bring together medical doctors, scientists, jurists, philosophers and theologians to discuss the genesis of human life.

Open, honest and accurate study and debate can help contribute to “an authentic sense of mankind”, Pontifical Council for Culture president Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi said.

The council co-ordinates the project.

Archbishop Ravasi and others involved in the conference spoke at a Vatican press conference on November 6.

Titled “Ontogeny and Human Life”, the conference aimed to promote dialogue between experts and scholars from different schools of thought, and prompt them to work together “for the quest for truth”, professor at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum Athenaeum Pietro Ramellini said.

The concept of genesis should have a greater place in today’s studies of biology, he said, because the “question of the identity and status of the human embryo” has raised “numerous and hot bioethical debates that have had important social and political repercussions for many nations”.

Dean of the philosophy department at Regina Apostolorum Fr Rafael Pascual told CNS that understanding the origin of life is key to protecting people’s innate and inviolable dignity and rights.

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