Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Pell and NSW Stem Cell Research

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-06-06

Archbishop Pell wants priests to refuse communion to any Roman Catholic MP who votes in favor of stem cell research in the NSW parliament.

While he talks about monstrous human-animal hybrid embryos, he misuses the word embryo (it doesn’t deserve the term until much later), he forgets that human-animal chimeric concepti aren’t viable, and his theology is muddled.

Either his deity creates a soul for each conceptus whether or not it will implant, in which case he thinks the majority of concepti that don’t implant (usually the woman is "a couple of days late") deserve a requiem mass, or the omniscient deity knows that the conceptus will not become a live birth and doesn’t bother creating a soul.

If Pell’s deity doesn’t create souls, then it’s none of Pell’s business.

If Pell’s deity does create souls for human-animal hybrids, then why does the Roman Catholic church object to the proposals to grant gorillas and chimps quasi-human rights (BBC, Observer, NewScientist) , given that they are much closer to human than a human/hamster chimeric conceptus?

Pell is also saying to all those waiting for the expected benefits of stem cell research, including sufferers of type-1 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, et al, that Pell’s deity wants their suffering to continue.

Actually, it’s probably silly of me to expect logical or theological consistency from a man who follows not the compassionate sayings of Jesus, but the traditions of the CDF (formerly known as the Spanish Inquisition) of which he is a member.

See Also:
Club Troppo discussion, Barlett Diaries (and my reaction below in the comments), Courier Mail story on WA Parl committee investigating Pell

5 Responses to “Pell and NSW Stem Cell Research”

  1. Dave Bath said

    Good update by Andrew Barlett (Dem), where he quotes the (Fed) senate contempt of parliament rules:

    A person shall not, by fraud, intimidation, force or threat of any kind, by the offer or promise of any inducement or benefit of any kind, or by other improper means, influence a Senator in the Senator’s conduct as a Senator or induce a Senator to be absent from the Senate or a committee.

    A person shall not inflict any punishment, penalty or injury upon, or deprive of any benefit, a Senator on account of the Senator’s conduct as a Senator.

    Bartlett then goes on to say that he doesn’t consider Pell’s statements as contempt, depending on how threatening it is too a catholic.

    Andrew Barlett, if you’re a catholic, what is more threatening, losing your life, or losing your soul and being damned for eternity?

  2. If you’re a Catholic, you’d know (or believe) that it’s not George Pell who decides if you get damned for eternity, it’s God. You could believe that George Pell is either right or wrong in providing his assessment that voting for the Bill would be a serious sin, but you would also believe that Pell’s pronunciation would make no difference on whether it would be a serious sin. That’s something God would determine anyway, and God would have the same view about it, regardless of whether or not Pell said anything or what Pell believed.

    You would also know that, even if you accepted George Pell’s inference that voting for the Bill would put you outside the community of the Church, or in a state of serious sin, then you have the ability to remedy that situation through the sacrament of reconciliation/confession, hence alleviating the eternal damnation threat.

  3. Dave Bath said

    I don’t dispute Andrew Bartlett’s theology, which is sensible, but Pell has been known to refuse sacraments to people because of a number of reasons, including wearing sashes that indicate they are homosexual.

    I’d have to wonder if Pell (and priests with similar views) would go so far as to refuse the last rites to a homosexual, or someone who voted in favor of stem-cell research. I suppose the only thing that would let Pell do the last rites is that there wouldn’t be much chance of them “sinning” again, but then Pell might doubt if they were repentent.

    Friends of mine have even had to hunt around to find a priest that would marry them in a RC church, one a devout catholic, the other a devout CofE.

    This opens up a completely different thread on the “left-wing” and the “right-wing” of the high churches (RC and CofE). The “right-wing” of the RC includes Pell, of the CofE includes Jensen. Political analysts have even noticed that they cannot use “catholic vote” or “protestant vote” anymore, but have to find out the “wings” (e.g. Jesuits tend to be “left-wing”)

    I’ll doubtless discuss the wings, and the dangers of high-and-low church “right-wings” another time.

  4. Dave Bath said

    I just realized: if Pell’s deity is omniscient, then it would understand that concepti that won’t result in a live birth won’t reach term and probably won’t be baptized and will therefore be condemned to Hell, or, if an all-loving loving, would not create a soul doomed to Hell…. oh dear … so abortion doesn’t destroy the body containing a soul after all … unless the deity is a nasty bit of work …

    Also, perhaps Pell should argue that therapies derived from stem-cell research should have a label on them: Caution: This medication may be damaging to your soul.  If you have any concerns, please discuss them with your priest.  Either Darwin will solve our problems or believers will start questioning the RC right-wing ideologues.

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