ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - “No cloning of human embryos ”: local Catholic Church and associations in Korea protest against experiments carried out by local scientists

Tuesday, 24 February 2004

Seoul (Fides Service) - Strong protest, street demonstrations, condemnation for morally incorrect and irresponsible behaviour: these were the reactions in Korea of the Catholic Church and several associations, Catholic and non, to the claim by Korean scientists led by Prof. Hwang Woo-suk of Seoul University, of cloned human embryos.
The Church protest was raised by the Bishops’ Conference Commission for Bio-ethics, presided by Rev. Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok, who told Fides: “It is truly sad that people consider cloning simply a scientific acquisition without thinking of the possible evil use of the result and the violation of human life. It is sad to see that the government which should be on front line to defend human life supports this research ”.
Father Paul Lee Chang Young, Vice Secretary General of the Bishops’ Conference wrote in the local Catholic Weekly: “They have committed an act which should never be committed. Science and technology, which must serve the good of humanity, have been reduced to a means of commercialisation for profit”.
Father Lee called on Catholic jurists researchers and scientists working in the field of bio-ethics, and media operators, to follow the teaching of the Church in their conscience and to take responsible decisions which respect Christian moral especially in questions connected with respect and defence of life.
Kim Myong hee, head of a Catholic movement “One body, one Mind ”, told Fides: “the act of cloning is not only morally wrong it also opens the way for trading the body of women”.
A non Catholic association “Solidarity of the People and Democratic Participation ” ha said in a statement: “The researchers went ahead with the project ignoring the moral aspect. This behaviour is irresponsible”.
In Korea a bill on the question of bio-ethics recently approved in parliament will come into force in January 2005. In the light of recent scientific developments the Church in Korea has called for the bill to be re-examined and revised.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 24/2/2004 lines 37 words 372)