Catholic Church officials said Friday that the recently created first synthetic cell could be a positive development if correctly used, but warned scientists that only God can create life.
Vatican and Italian church officials were mostly cautious in their first reaction to the announcement from the United States that researchers had produced a living cell containing manmade DNA. They warned scientists of the ethical responsibility of scientific progress and said that the manner in which the innovation is applied in the future will be crucial.
"It's a great scientific discovery. Now we have to understand how it will be implemented in the future," Monsignor Rino Fisichella, the Vatican's top bioethics official, told Associated Press Television News.
"If we ascertain that it is for the good of all, of the environment and man in it, we'll keep the same judgment," he said. "If, on the other hand, the use of this discovery should turn against the dignity of and respect for human life, then our judgment would change."
Fisichella, who heads Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life, stressed there is no necessary clash between science and faith.