`Progress in biotech could harm human dignity`

Pope Benedict XVI warned that advances in biotech may harm human dignity.

Last Updated: Sep 13, 2010, 23:48 PM IST

Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI on Monday warned that advances in biotechnology may lead to practices harming human dignity and called for vigilance on the medical application of scientific discoveries.

"The new possibilities offered by biotechnology and
medicine often put us in difficult situations in which we are
walking on thin ice," Benedict said in a statement addressed
to the new German ambassador to the Holy See.

"We have the duty to diligently study up to what point
these methods can help humans and where they amount to a
manipulation of man, to a violation of his integrity and
dignity," the pope said.

The pontiff said that although humanity should not reject
these scientific developments, it should remain vigilant.

"Once you begin to discriminate ... between lives that
are worth living and those that are not, no phase of life will
be spared, even less so old age and illness," Benedict said.

In February 2009, the Vatican had already condemned the
practice of discriminating through genetic selection.

The Vatican fears that progress in biotechnology will
multiply genetic interventions aimed at "improving" the human
race, such as the elimination of certain diseases through
prenatal tests and abortions.

PTI