Sunday, July 09, 2006

I missed this while I was away:

Scientists who carry out embryonic stem cell research and politicians who pass laws permitting the practice will be excommunicated, the Vatican said yesterday.

"Destroying human embryos is equivalent to an abortion. It is the same thing," said Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

"Excommunication will be applied to the women, doctors and researchers who eliminate embryos [and to the] politicians that approve the law," he said in an interview with Famiglia Christiana, an official Vatican magazine....

The problem is, the church doesn't have the guts to actually do this -- in America, maybe some scientists will be excommunicated (that could happen here because we have no respect for intellect and don't give a crap about what happens to scientists), but the church won't dare to get into a newsworthy excommunication fight with any prominent politician. I'm sorry about that -- I want Americans, Catholic and otherwise, to understand the church's extremism on this issue (and other issues) and to start thinking about whether Catholicism is still a mainstream faith rather than a fundamentalist one. It won't happen, though -- cafeteria Catholics (at least the ones who are Democrats) will merely be excoriated, and mostly just at election time, and life will go on more or less as usual.

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