Vatican funding Adult Stem Cell Research

Did you know that 35 craters of the moon have been named for Jesuit scientist-priests?

If you are surprised to learn that, it might be because you have trusted the mainstream press when it has told you -mostly based on their own distorted reporting- that “Christians -especially Catholics- hate science and would send us back to the Bronze Age.” The press -and more than a few politicians- like to pretend that faith and reason cannot co-exist, or that science is anathema to the church.

It takes only a search engine and a few minutes of one’s time to learn that nothing can be further from the truth, or to discover the names of great Christian scientists who go mostly unsung. Why would the mainstream media prefer to generate an ignorant and erroneous conventional wisdom over the simple truth? Aw, you guess.

So effective has been the disinformation campaign pitting science against religion that this is how ABC News chooses to report the news:

The Catholic Church may be the last organization you’d expect to fund stem cell research, but that’s precisely what they’re planning to do.

You would only expect the Catholic Church to be “the last organization” to fund stem cell research if you were getting your news from bigtime-professional-new outfits and Democrat political campaigns.

For the rest of us, this story -which is not exactly burning up the wires- will not be so surprising.

The Baltimore Sun has the best coverage:

With the financial backing of the Vatican, University of Maryland researchers will lead an international group of scientists to study adult stem cells from the intestines with the hope of discovering treatments for diseases while bypassing the ethical debates that have embroiled such research for a decade.

This is not the first time the Roman Catholic Church has funded stem cell research, said Richard Doerflinger, associate director of pro-life activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Catholic dioceses in South Korea and Australia have supported adult stem cell research with grant money, he said.

“The Vatican has been very interested in adult stem cell research for many years,” he said. “I think it’s a logical outgrowth of the church’s interest in this field and of promoting ethically sound and beneficial stem cell research.”

The funding is going to look specifically at what can be done with intestinal stem cells:

“They can become endocrine cells, cells of the nervous system and so on,” said [Dr. Alessio Fasano] . . . “This makes them very attractive.”

Like blood cells, the cells in the lining of the intestine are constantly being shed and rebuilt, making them very active. They also are easily harvested through endoscopy. Fasano envisions that patients could receive treatments using their own cells, which is not only convenient but less likely to spur rejection.

Much is not known about these cells, and the field of study is in its infancy, Fasano said. Clinical trials are years down the road. Ultimately, the Maryland team hopes to purify, study and transplant the cells, use them to treat damage to the intestine caused by diseases and to investigate the effects of drugs to find medications that work best…

There is the usual sniffing that $2.7 million dollars is a “trivial” amount and that the “non-liberal” church is “playing it safe,” but that’s just the predictable posturing. Some people do not know how to receive a good, which is why they get so few of them.

In another report, Fasano relates:

“We started discussing this a few months ago,” Fasano said. “It extended from discussions I had with Cardinal Martino. He liked the idea, and submitted it to the Holy Father (Pope Benedict XVI). The Holy Father loved it. This is unprecedented.”

Adult Stem Cell Research is showing a great deal of promise. This is a good thing. More, please.

Related:
Priest-Scientist Wins 1.6 Million Dollar Science Prize
As of 2006: Adult Stem Cells 72, Embryonic 0
Wonder Works

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • Jscriven

    I would like to share many of these truths on my facebook wall. Will you be using the “share” link in the near future?

    [Not being on fb myself, I am not sure what that means? -admin]

  • Rand Careaga

    I can’t recall the “mainstream media” ever saying that the Catholic Church was biased against scientific inquiry (which is not to say it has never happened, since it’s not as though I monitor the MM 24/7, but if it was a regular feature of “the press,” I’d have expected to have noticed by now). On the contrary, the Church’s stance on issues such as the age of the earth and the descent of modern species from earlier forms has generally been reported upon as a rational counterpoint to the excesses of the “young earth creationists” and other grotesque sports we typically associate with the more exotic strains of rural protestantism.

    Regarding the 35 lunar craters, I confess that the exact number had slipped my mind, but the factoid has lodged in my consciousness since it was mentioned in the course of an interview with the “Vatican astronomer” (an urbane and witty man, and himself a Jesuit if I recall aright), that I heard on NPR some years back.

    I do not doubt the project you describe will add to the sum of human knowledge, and will perhaps even yield therapeutic breakthroughs down the road. I expect much the same of the ongoing parallel inquiries conducted with the use of embryonic cultures.

  • cathyf

    A fun piece of trivial for you… When the light pollution in Rome got to be too much for the astronomers of the Vatican Observatory to do their work, they moved out to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo. The major work of building the buildings there was done by the same pope who silenced Galileo.

    The Vatican Observatory astronomers take great glee in pointing out that in the epic battle between astronomers and the papacy, they might have lost that first battle, but they won the war because they got the pope’s house!

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Even with some setbacks, like Galileo, compare scientific progress in, say, Christian countries with those of Islam, or the far East.

    Science fared much better in the West, under Judeo-Christianity, than it did in the rest of the world.

  • http://ConvertJournal.com George @ ConvertJournal

    A good book that many (particularly non-Catholics) may find interesting is How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

  • http://jscafenette.com Jeanette

    The liberal media do not want to give any credit to any of the Christian Church, including Catholics and the “rural protestants” as described by Rand Careaga.

    The dirty little secret is the Catholic Church is investing in research of adult stem cells and not embryonic stem cells. The left thinks aborting babies and using the leftovers for guinea pigs is the only answer.

    They don’t look for anything good done by the Christian Church. How much coverage did the various churches and denominations get for all the help they provided during the Haiti earthquake or any other natural disaster? And yet they were all there.

  • http://www.mysteriousthings.net Marc Puckett

    “Some people do not know how to receive a good, which is why they get so few of them”–a most perceptive observation!

  • http://sententiaedeo.blogspot.com/ Geremia

    Perhaps when ABC News said “The Catholic Church may be the last organization you’d expect to fund stem cell research, but that’s precisely what they’re planning to do,” they were thinking “embryonic stem cell research,” not “adult stem cell research?”

    [It is a distinction that the press has gone out of their way not to make for the past decade -admin]

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    The left thinks aborting babies and using the leftovers for guinea pigs is the only answer.

    Well, you are close Jeanette. Actually it is more like the left thinks aborting babies . . . is the only answer. That is their overriding, number one reason for supporting embryonic-killing stem cell research. Their main concern is NOT in finding any cures for anything. If that were their concern, they would be promoting the only research that has shown any promise of success — the use of adult cells.

    In pushing embryo-killing research (which has shown nothing but failure after failure, by the way), they show their priority to be their continued propaganda of denying the humanity and life of the unborn, which is, of course, part of their justification for the killing of the unborn for reasons of convenience.

  • Bill

    “Christians -especially Catholics- hate science and would send us back to the Bronze Age.” – Missed that announcement in the media.

    I remember when the Pope visited the US. Wolf Blitzer could hardly contain himself when he talked about meeting the Pope.

  • Robertlifelongcatholic

    It’s a bit disturbing to think 35 Jesuit priest are mooning us regularly.

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  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny L.

    Frankly Christianity is not at odds with science and the Catholic church has had a good history (as documented in this blog) with science. Science to me points to God, not toward atheism. It never seems to be mentioned that Isaac Newton was a devout Christian (Protestant, I assume Anglican but not sure) who was convinced of God’s existence.

    Kudos for posting this Anchoress. Scientific progress is the means of expanding Christian love for humanity, easing suffering and improving lives. But we must do it with Christian values.

  • cathyf

    Actually, Manny, Newton was kind of an oddball. After spending his youth effortlessly inventing calculus and physics, he spent his twilight years doing pretty wacky theology. Surely a believer, and devout, but he is a textbook example that brilliance in one (or two!) fields doesn’t mean you’ve got the sense God gave a lump of dirt in anything else!

  • Aimee

    Don’t forget, Galileo was supported by Pope Bruno for many, many years. The problem came when he insisted on delving into (and teaching) theology, and that his theory was right. Well, it wasn’t quite right, actually, as time has shown, (though it was a step forward)and he was also completely unable to prove it–in terms of how his theories were treated, it’s not that different from the way that those of a teaching scientist today might get treated were s/he to insist on teaching as fact that which coulf only be taught as theory. Not saying I support the whole house arrest thing–but it was a completely different era, and that was a theological issue.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny L.

    Maybe so Cathy, but he was devout nonetheless, even when he was a brilliant scientist.

  • Andy

    I do not doubt the project you describe will add to the sum of human knowledge, and will perhaps even yield therapeutic breakthroughs down the road. I expect much the same of the ongoing parallel inquiries conducted with the use of embryonic cultures.

    Except that, you know, things have actually been discovered about adult stem cells, whereas embryonic stem cells have yielded no results. This just goes to prove what Bender explained above; that the killing is more important than any actual scientific inquiry.

  • Doc

    Corporate media coverage of stem cell research comes close to topping all other topics in documenting the MSM’s corrupting influence on public opinion. They have deliberately misinformed from the beginning on this issue.

  • http://www.deepsoftime.com M. B.

    Shameless plug: For those interested in the relationship between Catholicism and science, I write a blog dedicated to the issue which can be found at deepsoftime.com

  • Lori

    At the end of the article in the Baltimore Sun, the university representative states that this funding comes with no strings…that any kind of stem cell research can be pursued…and that if there were restrictions on the money, they would not have accepted it. Don’t like the sound of that, myself, but it could be the reporter putting a quote in a different context somehow?

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