Saturday, 5 August 2017

EMBRYO RESEARCH AND MORALITY




Church objects to latest embryo research

The complexity of many disorders means the latest breakthrough cannot be used for many disorders


The Catholic Church in Ireland has voiced its total opposition to the use of embryos in research following a breakthrough study by scientists who “edited” human genomes to remove mutations linked to heart failure.
Scientists believe such “editing” could also work for other conditions caused by single gene mutations such as cystic fibrosis and some breast cancers.
None of the research so far has involved the birth of babies from the modified embryos.
However, Bishop Kevin Doran, chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Consultative Group on Bioethics and Life Questions, said – as part of the research – human embryos were “being deliberately generated under laboratory conditions with a higher than average risk of congenital heart disease”.

Image result for bishop kevin doran

They were being “deprived of any other purpose than to be used for research and then disposed of”, he told The Irish Times. “These individual human beings are all the more entitled to protection precisely because they do not yet have the capacity to speak for themselves or to give their consent.”
His comments come as an Irish expert on genetic law warned that Ireland had no concrete legal framework to deal with these issues, and was effectively operating in a regulatory vacuum.
Dr Aisling de Paor, a law lecturer in Dublin City University, said the new research was a “game-changer” in scientific and ethical terms but Ireland was ill-prepared to deal with its implications.
Medical intervention
Setting out the church’s stance, Bishop Doran said: “Medical intervention on human embryos should only be permitted if it is designed to protect the life and health of the specific embryo being treated.”
This position is contained in the bishops’ submission to the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction in 2003.
More recently, in its New Charter for Healthcare Workers, the Vatican said it was “gravely immoral to sacrifice a human life for therapeutic ends”, the bishop said.
That charter stated: “To create embryos with the intention of destroying them, even with the intention of helping the sick, is completely incompatible with human dignity, because it makes the existence of a human being at the embryonic stage nothing more than a means to be used and destroyed.”
This, Bishop Doran said, reflected “the consistent belief of the church that ‘a human embryo has, from the very beginning, the dignity proper to a person’.”
Research published in the scientific journal Nature has, for the first time, shown how editing genes in human embryos can repair a disease-causing mutation and produce apparently healthy embryos. Although it is a long way from clinical use, it raises the possibility that gene editing, in the future, may protect babies from hereditary conditions.
What is a gene mutation?
A gene mutation is a permanent alteration in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene. Mutations range in size; they can affect anything from a single DNA building block to a large segment of a chromosome that includes multiple genes.
There are two types of gene mutation: hereditary mutations, which are inherited from a parent and are present throughout a person’s life in virtually every cell in the body; and acquired mutations, which occur at some time during a person’s life and are present only in certain cells. These changes can be caused by environmental factors or can occur if a mistake is made as DNA copies itself during cell division.
What disease did the researchers focus on?
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which affects the muscles in the heart, occurs in about one in 500 people. It leads to heart failure and has been implicated in some cases of sudden adult death. It is caused by a mutation in a gene called MYBPC3.
What did they do?
Using sperm from a man with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and eggs from 12 healthy women, the researchers created fertilised eggs. They injected Crispr-Cas9, which works as a genetic scissors, to cut out the mutated DNA sequence on the male MYBPC3 gene. Next they injected a synthetic healthy DNA sequence into the fertilised egg. The male gene then copied the healthy sequence from the female gene, thereby eliminating the mutation that would otherwise have caused the heart-muscle problem to develop.
Will the new treatment work for other diseases?
Yes, but it will not be of use in all diseases.
Most are caused by multiple factors – often a combination of genetic factors, the environment, lifestyle and infection. The new technique may work in disorders caused by mutations in a single gene, for example sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis.
But common medical problems such as heart disease and diabetes do not have a single genetic cause: they are associated with the effects of multiple genes in combination with lifestyle and environmental factors.
And although complex disorders often cluster in families, they do not have a clear-cut pattern of inheritance. This means the latest gene-editing breakthrough cannot be used to treat many common diseases.
Are there ethical or legal issues surrounding this treatment?
Critics of the Crispr technology have argued that gene editing could lead to eugenics and to the production of embryos with certain features, in order to develop so-called designer babies.
Gene editing has yet to be shown to be completely safe in people; there are concerns it may affect future generations in unexpected ways.
The technique already faces substantial regulatory hurdles. The United States Congress has barred the US Food and Drug Administration from even considering human trials with edited embryos.
Earlier this year a US National Academy of Sciences committee endorsed modifying embryos, but only to correct mutations that cause “a serious disease or condition” and when no “reasonable alternatives” exist.
In the UK it is illegal to implant genetically modified embryos in women.

PAT SAYS:

All the moral questions that surround embryo research should be important to all of whether or not we are believers.

On the one hand you have the spectre of Hitler's perfect race - and on the other hand, you have the possibility of preventing millions and millions of people being born with and suffering from horrible diseases.

I would not take the likes of KEVIN DORAN too seriously.

During the equal marriage referendum in Ireland, he said that being gay was like having Down's Syndrome!

That's how much he knows about science.


But there are very important moral and ethical issues involved.

Is it morally permissible to create a human embryo purely for research purposes and then destroy it when the lab is finished with it?

Involved in this question, of course, are those two other questions: "When does an embryo became a person" and "When does an embryo have a soul"?


As a Christian and a human being, I am very worried about using human embryos for research.

But then is it ok for use a small number of embryos to save or improve millions of lives.

These are very tough corners in morality and ethics.

Is is a case of "Better for one man to die for the people"?


It would be less of a problem for me if we could establish that embryos were not "persons" or did not have souls until a certain stage.

Thue use of "pre-personed" or "pre-soul" embryos would be less problematic for me. 


I'm not sure the debate is helped by black and white absolutes.

The Roman Catholic Church is coming down with black and white absolutes.


This whole issue needs more debate.

We need to hear more about it from a wide range of experts on morality and ethics. 


I suppose we Christians must ask ourselves "What does God think"?

We will find some answers to that question in our Scriptures, in listening to many experts, in reading, in thinking, in praying, in listening to people with horrible diseases etc.

I, for one, with not be paying any attention to a man who thinks that being gay is like having Downs Syndrome!

INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT:

Pointlessness of worry

The worried cow would have lived till now
If she only saved her breath:
But she feared her hay wouldn't last all day,
And she mooed herself to death.

71 comments:

  1. Pat as someone who has never fathered a child, don't dare lecture about human life when all you do is push little children to their deaths.

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    1. Where do I push "little children" to their deaths by asking questions?

      Are you a member of the RC Taliban?

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    2. No I am father who does not wish death on any human. Are you in the gay taliban that hates all life?

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  2. Pat, at last a serious topic, morally, ethically and spiritually. But we need less of the condemnation of Bishop Doran and the Church. Just respect the experts in ethics and moral thinking. We all have our views on embryo research and the church has every right to uphold its'teachings. Why don't you just listen to -and-respect the different views of others? It makes for healthier and more positive debate which hopefully will take place without the language of prejudice and cobdemnation against people you dislike. We who follow Christ have relevant questions to ask and much intellectual rigour to bring to this debate re: embryonic research. Our voices must be heard. I respect the ecpertise of Kevin Doran.....

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    1. Like Kevin Doran is a father whose child could be saved by research? He is a thoroughly brainwashed RC apologist.

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  3. No, Pat - I don't think it needs more debate. We can debate, discuss and dialogue until the cows come home, but the human embryo is either a human being or it is not. This is a black and white issue, and no amount of debate will change that. The Church teaches - rightly, in my opinion - that human life begins at conception. It is an absolute - black and white - because life cannot both begin at conception and not begin at conception.

    I also think you need to get over Bishop Doran's remarks - which are from two years ago, and which he clarified - and deal with what he is saying now on this issue. It is hardly good logic to dismiss what he is saying now on a completely different topic based on something he said over two years ago. Why don't you engage with what he is saying now, in August 2017?

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    1. Nothing is black and white.

      Stop defending Doran who is an embarrassment even to his fellow bishops.

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    2. "Nothing is black and white" - Nothing?? Not even your statement that nothing is black and white?

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  4. I'd watch the souls thing. The dominant view in Catholicism today is that the soul is not a disembodied entity but is somehow part of the body. The idea of a soul being separate from the body is a discredited Descartes notion. Please google soul form of the body Benedict XVI. The thinking is that God transcends time and space which is why a saint will experience death and then resurrection as if they are directly connected. The argument that an embryo has a soul like a born person is dubious.

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    1. The big question for me as a believer is: What would Jesus think/do?

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    2. 11:26, compare your statements, 'the dominant view in Catholicism today is that the soul is not a disembodied entity but is somehow part of the body' and 'the argument that an embryo has a soul like a born person is dubious'. Can you see the contradiction here? It's a glaring one.

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  5. Pat, what really are you more interested in? Genuine, honest, respectful & intelligent debate about serious moral and ethical issues, about which the Catholic Church has deep philosolhical, theological and moral teachings, or do you wish to invite outrage and venom against Bishop Doran? Bishop Doran is intellectually very competent to talk about these issues, with far greater learning than you. Why don't you argue your case on the issue without initiating negative reaction and bias against Bishoo Doran, simy because you don't like him (Who in all honesty do you like?).You don't have to agree with him but name calling and dismissing him in so mean spirited a way is arrogant. Stay with the substance of issue and stop personalising and playing being the victim all the time. You make many people victims of your naastiness here.....

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    1. It was Doran made the statement to the press!!!

      The fact that he equated being gay to having Downs Syndrome brings his intelligence and intellectual abilities into question. Simple!

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    2. The limp wrist, girlie voice and sybillant s are all part of the syndrome.

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  6. Well Pat just look into your vast repository of faith which is so much purer that the RC lot; or better still use the direct line to God you seem to have which bypasses the church Jesus established.

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    1. Jesus Christ did not establish the RC institution. That is a lie they peddle which millions swallow.

      Jesus Christ established his church "where two or three gather in my name".

      The RC institution in my opinion is an ecclesiastical Kremlin.

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    2. So why did you bother being ordained a priest and bishop then?

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    3. To serve Jesus and his people. Certainly not to serve a new Roman empire.

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    4. You are so full of contradictions Pat. Why did you become a bishop if the orders come from such a vile source? and why have you been pictured in full Episcopal splendour if it's the dress of Kremlin officers?
      The reality is Pat that you are an excommunicate 'latae sententiae', any your expulsion deeply pains you but expresses itself as venemous hatred.

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    5. No medication required - just to be loved and cherished as any challenged person.

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    6. But is the Church is so rotten why seek orders from it???

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    7. Pat if the church is present where two or three etc... why did you seek ordination? By that standard it's superflous?

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    8. 12:10: The episcopate was present in the early NT church long before Rome became an empire. My Episcopal orders come from a Rome critical source.

      I very seldom wear Episcopal gear apart from a ring with the cross of Christ on it and a crucifix created in Auschwich by a prisoner.

      Even the Roman crowd said I excluded myself and they did not exclude me.

      For me to go back "in" would be me selling my soul.

      There is true church outside of Rome.

      Just as Christ died outside the walls.

      If He came back today he would be crucified by the Chief Priests Burke & Co.

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    9. Yes but the paraphernalia that accompany it was a roman invention of the early middle ages, so be consistent and jettison it! Or perhaps the dressing up makes you feel important?

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    10. "An ecclesiastical Kremlin" - Pat that OTT nonsense does you no favours (and I am broadly sympathetic to some of your causes). Also Granny Burke and co are in no way the sum total of the Church today. If anything, they are a sideshow and a laughing stock.

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  7. He was quite correct in his assertions. Being 'Gay' or more correctly homosexual is a clear aberration of nature just as Downs Syndrome. That doesnt mean we don't love homosexuals - on the contrary see the love lavished on downs syndrome children. But lets call a spade a spade

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    1. Ah now we are squeezing the truth out of the RC Taliban's.

      So being gay IS an intellectual disability?

      Is that you Kevin?

      What medication does Dr Doran recommend for homosexuality?

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    2. I didn't mention being Gay as an intellectual disability is is rather a disorder of the human personality.

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    3. I shared an office with a gay man once for two years - it was a scream. He was more girly than any of my four sisters and had a volatile personality. His emotional maturity was of a 16 year old girl, whereas he was 38. He regularly cried and in the end made a pass at a customer and was fired. Clearly he was 'challenged'.

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    4. I imagine he would recommend membership of Caffmos as therapy for homosexual priests.

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    5. You are so right. It's the infiltration of the priesthood by these disordered individuals that has destroyed our church. Just look at Maynooth.....all caused by closet gays.

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    6. Many of the problematic gays at Maynooth are not typical of gay men in general.

      The Maynooth ones are immature, non integrated, and living a lie in a system which condemns them.

      They go on to be the Rory Couples, the McCamleys and the Gorgeous.

      Many out, integrated and honest gay men in civvy street are not like that.

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    7. These young priests, even the older queers, will thank you in the end for outing them and helping them to become respectable members of the community, instead of a motley crew of undercover-sissies, dirty-old-girls, and peep-freaks

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    8. 12:13, are you a medical professional? How do you know that being gay is a personality disorder ('a disorder of the human personality')?

      Can you provide citations for your claim (medical, not philosophical)? I'd be more inclined to take your point seriously should you do so.

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  8. Just takes something like this to bring all sorts of theories to the surface. I do not claim to be an expert on medical matters. I do believe human life is sacred but I also believe medicine is challenged to do the best they can for all in their care

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  9. So ALL gay people are "disabled" because you worked with ONE gay man with emotional issues?

    Is that another teaching from the Summa Theologica Doranensis :-)

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    1. Pat, I think we can all recognise the person at 12:15 described. It is somewhat a caricature but contains some truth. I love gay people. some of my friends are gay, but they are DIFFERENT!

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    2. Different yes. Disabled in someway? No.

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    3. No Pat disabled. Disabled in their human capacity to pro-create with and love a woman. This is a clear biological imperative ordered towards the propagation of humankind and allows of no discussion.
      People with a different orientation are not culpable no more than downs children are culpable.

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    4. 12:32, 'DIFFERENT'? (And in capital letters, too.)

      Are you frightened of difference? Does human difference unsettle you? The racial difference between black and white, for instance? Or the gender difference?

      Learn to appreciate and celebrate difference: diversity.

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    5. Being DIFFERENT is not of itself good or evil it is simply a fact. When that difference involves the God given faculty for heterosexual attraction then it poses a problem for society. Marriage is an instituted which safeguards the good of society and ensures a safe and stable environment for rearing children, for that reason it enjoys a certain status involving tax breaks etc. Homosexuals can no marry than a man can give birth to a baby - nature doesn't permit. So the fact that the state issues a marriage certificate to same sex couples is pure nonsense. Some things can't be changed.

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    6. 'A clear biological imperative ordered towards the propagation of humankind'? This dogmatic nonsense is bad enough, but to go on and state that it 'allows of no dicussion' is infinitely worse.

      You sound like some petty, medieval curial official.

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    7. 16:08, but then, 'some things' have changed, haven't they? Whether you like it or not. Proving that all along these things could change, but that such dogmatism as peddled by you and others stood in the way of this.

      Your sociological prescription of what is good for society (heterosexuality, mixed-sex marriage) is an ideology whose time has too long come but, thankfully, is now going.

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  10. Pat. You have highlighted the problem of Maynooth. You should head up the campaign to rid our seminaries of gays.
    Good-on-ya boy!

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    1. No. Surely you mean promiscuous, untruthful, in denial and double life gays?

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    2. I am a gay man who is also a priest. I have never betrayed my promise of celibacy. In other words since I made my celibacy promise as a deacon I have never had sex with anyone. Nor do I frequent internet and mobile apps like some of my colleagues. Armagh Priest.

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    3. It's simple - If Gays were kept out of seminaries we wouldn't have the disgraceful situation of Maynooth.

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    4. Congratulations on your integrity and honesty.

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    5. But Father, who knows if your urges will cause you to some horrendous indiscretion? You are a danger.

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    6. 12:45, the same goes for 'hetero-' priests. So this makes them a danger, too. (You didn't think your argument through, did you?)

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    7. Suppressing basic instinct can manifest itself in different ways.

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    8. I have at times an 'instinct' to 'strangle' certain people, but I always suppress (sacrifice) it for my good and the good of others.

      Don't confuse suppression and sacrifice of instinct with each other: one leads to self-frustration; the other to holiness.

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    9. The danger that a heterosexual priest poses is within the natural order.

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    10. If 12:42 knows of any such nefarious activities by priests in ministry he should report them to the competent authority in the church i.i. the lacal bishop. Not to do so is to collude with immorality and is of itself a grave sin.

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    11. If guys were kept out of Maynooth we wouldn't have half of what we do have.

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    12. That should be 'If gays were kept out....

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  11. Perhaps medical science will one day correct the DNA that causes these disorders.

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    1. Perhaps it will soon be able to correct prejudice genetically. I doubt it somehow. Only free will can do that.

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  12. From what I read in today's blog, people are asking you, Pat, if there is any bishop you think is doing a good job in Ireland.

    I suppose like in your case, of looking from the outside in, ie having left the Roman Catholic Church, you are naturally going to see things differently.

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  13. Bishop Doran is a good man not afraid to set out his stall for all to see. The other Bishops hide away and some like Il Duce in Dublin speak out of both sides of their mouth. They are the ones who being neither hot nor cold of whom Jesus said he would spew them out of his mouth. DM is all over the world giving talks and addresses while Dublin is falling apart.
    Pity he couldn't be genetically modofied!
    So Bravo Bishop Doran you are a man of courage.

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    1. I agree, Bishop Doran is a man of courage and integrity.
      He has supported people who are carrying a cross in their lives.
      He is compassionate.
      His priests speak very positive of him.
      He is one of the good guys.

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  14. Luke's gospel is in no doubt that human personhood (ensoulment) is present from the moment of conception.

    We are told that immediately after her conception of Jesus, Mary set out to visit her cousin Elizabeth; Elizabeth was already six-months pregnant with her son John.

    When Mary and Elizabeth met, Elizabeth proclaimed, not Mary's forthcoming motherhood of Jesus, but her actual and current status: 'Why should I be honoured with a visit from the MOTHER of my Lord?' If Jesus had not been a person at this initial (pre-embryonic) stage of Mary's pregnancy, Elizabeth could not have proclaimed any such thing. To explain Elizabeth's remark simply as gynaecological ignorance is to suggest the same of the Holy Spirit, since it was under his inspiration that Elizabeth spoke.

    Medically speaking, embryos are within the fifth and eleventh weeks of pregnancy and do therefore (according to Luke's gospel) have personhood.

    If (for Christians) Scripture is to be given any weight in this argument, then experimentation on embryos,
    ( however pressing, and humanly desperate, the reasons), is morally and utterly indefensible; it can never be justified.

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    1. Beautiful Magna Carta! And that is not my usual reaction to your contributions on here :-)

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  15. I'm Gobsmacked! Magna Carta speaking sensibly and truthfully. Have you had your genes edited?

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  16. I think the Vatican is now calling in all kinds of lay experts to look at the role of over population on climate warming. This is really good.

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    1. They called in experts before Humane Vitae?

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    2. Yes. Who is to say that same-sex attraction isn't the human species' way of evolving to deal with over-population?

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    3. Interesting :-)

      And of course if all couples were gay there would be no enbryos for research?

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  17. Pat, if you introduce a serious moral and ethical subject, embryonic research, plesse deal with the substance of the issue. All day you have been obsessed with sexual failings of others, name calling and inferring all kinds of wrong doing by priests and bishops whom you intensely dislike. For God's sake - do you like anyone?? Please spare us your judgment and denigration of good people. It is somewhat tiring.

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    1. If you don't like what you read 23.09 there is a very simple solution - don't read it. If you feel it all tiring then a good night's sleep should sort that for you treacle.

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  18. In the past week or more Pat has not made any significant contribution of worth to the many issues he blogged. When he receives serious, challenging and balanced comnents he dismisses them rather quickly. I don't know why throws out notions, ideas, subjects and then fail to respond with some modicum of respect, fairness and intlligence. It discourages true debate which is unfortunate. Also, I think Pat gives too much space to very nasty people. Pat, you promised not to entertain such vile, nasty blogging. Hope you will review your approach. There are a lot of very poisonous comment aimed at particular individuals.

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