Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Chimeras in real life

I first was aware of the term "Chimera" from some Anime that my roommate used to watch. The idea of an animal-human hybrid lives in the realm of fiction, and seems to have no place in reality.

Enter England. The English parliament has been considering removing a ban on creating such a being, but requiring that such an embryo must be destroyed within a couple weeks. Needless to say, many people worldwide are very much opposed to such legislation, the Church in particular.

Then, I read today that the position of the English Bishops is that if such a hybrid is produced, it should be given the rights of a human, and should be even allowed to be carried to term.
Human embryos injected with animal cells, or chimeras, should be accorded human status under proposals to be considered by the British Parliament in the fall, said the Catholic bishops of England and Wales.

They also said politicians should reconsider a proposed ban on the implantation of chimeras into women.

"In particular, it should not be a crime to transfer them, or other human embryos, to the body of the woman providing the ovum, in cases where a human ovum has been used to create them," the bishops said.

"Such a woman is the genetic mother, or partial mother, of the embryo; should she have a change of heart and wish to carry her child to term, she should not be prevented from doing so," they added.

In their submission, the bishops said that most of the procedures covered by the bill "should not be licensed under any circumstances," principally on the grounds that they violate human rights.

However, they said, "at very least, embryos with a preponderance of human genes should be assumed to be embryonic human beings and should be treated accordingly," they said.

Wow. I have no idea why anyone would even want to do such a thing, but I applaud the Church for taking the safe position. I haven't been reading news like I should, but I wonder if there has been something come out about cloning. I see cloning as little different than identical twinning, though wrong to do, it doesn't make the clone any less human. I heard a protestant apologist once say that he believes a clone would not have a soul. I would think the clone would have a soul, and therefore is fully human. A chimera would be at least part human, but I would think that it would not be truly human, maybe to the point of not gaining an eternal soul. But, we don't know, and really can't know, so must treat such a being as human, with all the dignity deserved.

I just hope we never have to find out.

Friday, June 22, 2007

TOB 1-10: The Beginning

I have been reading the Theology of the Body now for 4 days (not counting the introductions), and I figure I should be at the point where I can put a reflection forward on what has happened thus far.

At this point, John Paul II is still talking about the creation of man as laid out in Genesis, and the appeal of Christ to those words.

Man was created as male and female, and it is significant that there are two separate accounts which each tell us different things about this important aspect of mankind. Christ refers to both of these when he appeals to "the beginning".

When we examine the second creation story in detail, and in relation to the first, we note a certain richness that is expressed there. In this story, God created man (Adam) first, but man was alone. Though similar to the beasts, because he possessed a body, Man was different from them in significant ways. He could make choices, he was in the image of God.

Adam was the first man, or properly the first Human. In him was embodied all that is humanity. But, it is not good for man to be alone, so God created the animals, which didn't change the solitude that Man existed in, to this point. And so, God put Adam into a deep slumber (removing the will of Adam from the equation) and fashioned woman from the rib of Adam.

It was not until this point that Adam had any sense of "maleness" because an understanding of sex (gender) cannot exist without the complimentary relation between male and female. And so, up until the creation of Eve, Adam and Eve were literally and actually one flesh. And so, when it is said that through conjugal union, the two will become one flesh, this is what it meant by that. Adam, being the archetypal human, is complete in all ways. This completeness is what is reached when "the two become one flesh" through the conjugal union.
When they unite with each other (in the conjugal act) so closely so as to become "one flesh," man and woman rediscover every time and in a special way the mystery of creation, thus returning to the union in humanity ("flesh from my flesh and bone from my bones") that allows them to recognize each other reciprocally and to call each other by name, as they did the first time. ... The fact that they become "one flesh" is a powerful bond established by the Creator through which they discover their own humanity, both in its original unity and in the duality of a mysterious reciprocal attraction. (TOB 10:2)
Man is not truly complete as only male or only female, but regains a fullness in humanity through the community of persons, the relations between male and female.

I look forward to continuing these discourses.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Old Habits Die Hard

Some who read this post title might think I'm writing about some arcane religious order who refuse to change the garb they wear on a daily basis.

Alas, I am only speaking of myself. As busyness ensued, this was one of the first neglected areas. I am sorry for that. This, however does not mean that I will be back in the swing of things. If I happen upon something interesting, I will post it, but I am not going to likely be seeking out interesting stories in a well organized sense.

I will, however, be reading the Theology of the Body, by John Paul II, and hope to post commentary on it as I go. We'll see how far that goes.