Australian cardinal says he regrets vote for therapeutic cloning

SYDNEY, Australia – Cardinal George Pell of Sydney said he regrets the passage of a therapeutic cloning initiative by the New South Wales state parliament.

Noting that the church supports adult stem-cell research, especially for medical reasons, Cardinal Pell expressed hope that lawmakers would be better informed in the future.

“Certainly the Sydney Catholic Life Office is prepared to offer information and advice to any person who wishes to understand the pro-life position better,” he said in a statement June 7, the same day the state parliament passed the initiative.

At a June 5 press conference, Cardinal Pell said he did not think “any Catholic politician, any Christian politician, any pro-life politician who has properly informed his or her conscience should vote for these changes.”

The cardinal noted that there would be “consequences for their life in the church” for Catholic politicians who voted for legislation that would allow the use of therapeutic cloning in Australia’s most populous state.

Asked how their position in the church will change if they support the bill, Cardinal Pell would not specify, though he could not rule out denying them Holy Communion.

The premier of New South Wales is a practicing Catholic and member of the ruling Australian Labor Party.

“I don’t believe in crossing bridges before you get to them, and I am hoping all the Catholic politicians will do the right thing,” the cardinal said.

The initiative legalizes the creation of “human-animal hybrids” and opening “a perverse new direction in human experimentation,” he said.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.