Feb 05, 2002
Pope John Paul on Tuesday said not all advances in biotechnology were morally legitimate and urged mankind to resist the temptation to play God.
"Life cannot be considered a possession or private property even if the potential we have today to improve its quality could make people think they are the masters of it," the 81-year-old leader of some one billion Roman Catholics said.
Speaking in his message for the Roman Catholic season of Lent, which begins this year on February 13, the Pontiff said human life was a gift from God and should not be considered a commodity.
He said people cannot let themselves be led to think that technological leaps forward made them all-powerful.
"Conquest in medicine and biotechnology can sometimes convince man that he is his own creator, and lead him to give in to the temptation to meddle with the 'tree of life,'" he said.
But he added, "Not everything that is technically possible is morally permissible."
The Roman Catholic Church condemns a number of modern medical advances, such as stem cell research using human embryos and cloning.
Lent is the 40-day period leading up to Easter during which Catholics are asked to make personal sacrifices and help those less well off.
Tuesday's comments followed the Pope's
call on Sunday for legislators to give embryos formal legal recognition
as human beings.
Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited