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#14 - JRL 7003
Russian Orthodox Church Warns Against Human Cloning

MOSCOW. Dec 27 (Interfax) - The Russian Orthodox Church believes that cloning is a dangerous experiment which could cause a deep moral crisis. "If human cloning has indeed taken place, it is a very alarming fact for orthodox Christians," Father Vsevolod Chaplin, deputy chief of the external relations department of the Russian Orthodox Church, told Interfax on Friday.

Practically all major Christian churches of the world agree on this, and the legislation of civilized countries currently bans human cloning, he said.

There are good reasons for this, Father Vsevolod said. "There are doubts that a cloned child would grow to be a healthy and functional member of society, but even if this did happen, there are two deep moral problems," he said.

"How will the person feel about being simply a copy of someone? And why is so much money and effort being invested in cloning experiments?" Father Vsevolod asked.

The priest believes "the real issue is that these experiments are being promoted by rich, faithless, proud people seeking eternal life." It is not a coincidence that the sect believed to have sponsored a cloning attempt said that its ultimate goal is to constantly transfer the brain from one cloned body to another, i.e., actually "growing new bodies to replace old ones," the priest said.

The Russian Orthodox Church does not condemn the cloning of separate organs, but if human clones are grown to fulfil the egotistical desire of people wishing to give themselves a second, third, hundredth life, a profound moral decline will occur, Father Vsevolod said.

"From the point of view of a Christian, sickness and even death are not always evil, and if man tries to make his earthly life eternal, forgetting about Godly laws, he creates great unhappiness for himself and immeasurable suffering for his clones, especially if these humans being are doomed to be 'spare parts'," Father Vsevolod said.

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