It is the Church's role to raise the moral and ethical spiritual questions about food. Eating is a moral act. We have an obligation to ask where does our food come from, under what conditions was it produced, to whose benefit does that production go? Who is helped and who is hindered? We certainly have the responsibility to ask about the quality of the web of life, about the condition of nature and the condition of society. We stand as one of the institutions that sees itself as having responsibility to defend nature and its integrity, and defend human communities and human dignity. If that means we ask questions that challenge government and business and even ourselves in terms of our own practices, so be it. That's part of what our role has been for thousands of years. To raise the questions of value and to assert when everything's not right that its not right.
We have in the Catholic Church...a set of principles, of moral principles, that come, we believe, from the Gospel, the scriptures, and the experience of the church thinking about life and how's it organized and how we are to live. These principles we call an ethic, and they include the dignity of the human person, the integrity of creation, the search for the common good. They include a principle we call subsidiarity and solidarity. These principles shape our thinking about a lot of issues including biotechnology.
It is not intrinsically or essentially wrong to explore the science and the potential of scientific application to the potential betterment of the world. There's no intrinsic evil in such exploration, in fact, I would suggest to the contrary, that it is part of human nature to be open to and want to discover scientific truth. The problems come not from such discovery, but from some of the consequences of such discovery, in which applications are sought without sufficient careful scrutiny.
Transcript for Clip 3 -- Web of Life:
Catholic Bishops in the United States say this, "the web of life is one." Natural ecologies, animals and plants, and human ecologies, human beings and communities have to be seen as one common web. And what you do to any one part of the web affects the rest of the web. So some of our intervention through biotechnology or bioengineering into plant life has unintended and sometimes unexpected consequences on other parts of plant life, which can also affect animal life which can also affect human communities.
With regard to medical ethics, cloning for example and also the mining of fetal tissue, there are very strong negative judgments against such practices. When it comes to plant and animal experimentation, again you go back to these principles of Catholic social and environmental teaching as the value framework to assess what it is we should or will do. You come back to that framework again and you examine the question in light of those values.