No compromises

The ie is close to his heart: After the stem cell debate in the Bundestag, Joachim Cardinal Meisner called on members of parliament to stand up for the protection of life. The Archbishop of Cologne once again called on politicians not to make any compromises.

"Compromises at the expense of the weakest – and in the debate about embryo-consuming stem cell research, these are embryonic humans – cannot and must not exist," the archbishop wrote in a guest article for the Kolnische Rundschau newspaper. "For every compromise these people, who cannot raise their voice against it themselves, pay with their lives."

"Ethics of healing" Meisner stresses that recent research has produced "ethically unproblematic alternatives" to embryonic stem cells. These include adult stem cells as well as the recently developed reprogramming of mature stem cells into a kind of embryonic stem cells. From the point of view of an "ethics of healing," he said, it would be much more promising if research in Germany turned to these alternatives. Politicians should be "courageous and unconventional" in their efforts to protect life.Meisner acknowledged that ethical decisions were becoming more complicated due to medical advances. He also understands that the therapeutic hopes in stem cell research are as great as the prere of expectations. "In this situation, life must never be weighed against life, especially not for scientific or even economic reasons."

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