By ALESSANDRA RIZZO, Associated Press
Catholic Church officials said Friday the recent creation by researchers of the first synthetic cell can be a positive development if correctly used, but warned scientists that only God can create life.
Vatican and Italian church officials were mostly cautious in their first reaction to the announcement from the United States that researchers had produced a living cell powered by manmade DNA. They warned scientists of the ethical responsibility of scientific progress and said that the manner in which the innovation is applied in the future will be crucial.
"If it is used toward the good, to treat pathologies, we can only be positive" in our assessment, Monsignor Rino Fisichella, the Vatican’s top bioethics official, told state-run TV. "If it turns out not to be … useful to respect the dignity of the person, then our judgment would change."
"We look at science with great interest. But we think above all about the meaning that must be given to life," said Fisichella, who heads Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life. "We can only reach the conclusion that we need God, the origin of life."