Genetic Engineering: Is eating meat hypocritical?

This was suggested to me by an atheist. We all know the Church’s stance on genetic engineering, with it being frowned upon. However isn’t the majority of the meat we eat optimized by selective breeding, which is in essence a much slower and drawn out branch of genetic engineering? So are all of us Catholic meat eaters hypocrites? Any thoughts would be much appreciated

not just with animals but plants and evry othe thing since before recorded history people have encouraged the best to advance. as a student of genetics i can tell you a few thousand years ‘corn’ had 1 ear and maybe 2-5 kernels per ear. farmers have always saved the seed from the best plants for the next season. just like ranchers have always tried to breed the best bull with the best cow.

using the best of what God gave us is in no way comparable to trying to do it better ourselves then justifying it. it isnt hypocritical. God gave us dominion over the animals by breeding them we carry out His will.

No, in fact I’ve never heard about the Church’s stance on genetic engineering. Please describe it to me. I’ve know about selective breeding and such to develop natural immunizations between animals and plants but how can the Church be against that?

I’ve heard a Christian suggest that if we could artificially clone a human being than that clone would be without a “soul” and it would also be absolved of “original sin”. Is that the reason why they’re against it?

Okay, I admit to being poorly catechized, but I don’t remember hearing anything about genetic engineering. Could you explain the Church’s objections?

However isn’t the majority of the meat we eat optimized by selective breeding, which is in essence a much slower and drawn out branch of genetic engineering?

When I read the term “genetic engineering” I think of inserting genes from different species, which is quite different from selectively breeding the genes within a species. For example, corn hybrids are developed by selective breeding within the species of corn, but BT corn is genetically modified - it it incorporates a gene from a bacterium which codes for a protein which is poisonous to the corn borer, a major pest.

The problem only arises when one is attempting to mess about with human genetics to breed a super human or to cross a human with an animal. Genetic engineering would also be a different discipline than gene therapy for an individual.

But disease could be prevented by detecting people/plants/animals that are genetically prone to certain hereditary diseases, and preparing for the inevitable. Also, infectious diseases can be treated by implanting genes that code for antiviral proteins specific to each antigen. Animals and plants can be ‘tailor made’ to show desirable characteristics. Genes could also be manipulated in trees for example, to absorb more CO2 and reduce the threat of global warming. And what happens when a human is born with a random mutated gene, aka evolution, that in a sense makes them superior to another? Like this superboy from Germany. There’s also been other documented gene mutations that made the individual faster, smarter, more sociable, advanced hearing, and a reduction in pain when inflicted. Are all these natural and random gene mutations considered a problem?


The Vatican’s Academy for Life issued a paper on Xenotransplation ( the use of animal organs for transplanation purposes). The Church is in favor of that, as long as the animals are properly cared for during their lifes.

The paper also gives approval for the genetic modification of animal genes via the addition of human genes, again as long as certain criteria are met

As a consequence, the sacrifice of animals can be justified only if required to achieve an important benefit for man, as is the case with xenotransplantation of organs or tissues to man, even when this involves experiments on animals and/or genetically modifying them.

However, even in this case, there is the ethical requirement that in using animals, man must observe certain conditions: unnecessary animal suffering must be prevented; criteria of real necessity and reasonableness must be respected; genetic modifications that could significantly alter the biodiversity and the balance of the species in the animal world must be avoided

Also, from the section on Transgenesis

**As we have already observed, the possibility of working out such genetic modifications, using genes of human origin as well, is morally acceptable **when done in respect for the animal and for biodiversity, and with a view to bringing significant benefits to man himself. Therefore, while recognizing that transgenesis does not compromise the overall genetic identity of the mutated animal or its species, and reaffirming man’s responsibility towards the created order and towards the pursuit of improving health by means of certain types of genetic manipulation, we will now enumerate some fundamental ethical conditions which must be respected:

It goes on to list several criteria, such as responsible care for the animals, that care be taken to ensure transgentically modified animals do not join the general genetic pool.

During the international conference on geneticly modified foods, the singular Vatican objection is that it might negativly impact poor farmers who could not afford the prices charged for genetically modified seed, and that would put them at an economic disadvantage.

In short, to get an understanding of how the Church views genetic engineering as a whole, read Section 15 of the above document.

From memory, not too long ago the Pope came out and said that genetic engineering was a mortal sin.

Even if he didn’t mean to call it a sin, it still shows his opinion of it. I’m not completely sure why, although there are several ethical issues that are raised. Firstly, we don’t always know the exact effects of genetic engineering in a lab, and the effect of putting in and removing certain genes on the host body. Secondly, genetic engineering could lead to “designer babies”, where by once a baby is born the parents could remove whatever genes they want (handicaps, disabilities).

That being said, we have selectively bred animals, quite successively as well, to optimize a variety of farm animals and crops. This is a type of genetic engineering, albeit not as uncontrolled or as fast as what we now call genetic engineering.

I hope this clears up my dilemma

Your source has it wrong. It was Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti who made that statement, when he proposed a set of social sins.

Folks here at CAF might remember this occasion because of the hullabaloo when Archbishop Girotti’s comments were billed in the media as the modern seven deadly sins, supposedly replacing the old set.

And in this case, it was not a blanket condemnation of genetic engineering, but a condemnation of using such experimental techniques on humans.

Only for humans.

Global warming. Oye. :whacky:

I’ve heard a Christian suggest that if we could artificially clone a human being than that clone would be without a “soul” and it would also be absolved of “original sin”. Is that the reason why they’re against it?

Even if Godless minded arrogant scientist’s could and possibly already have cloned human beings, such a being WOULD NOT BE WITHOUT A SOUL. And NO again such a human soul whose body was cloned would not be automatically be absolved from original sin. Who do you think gave these Neanderthal scientist’s the intelligence to think period.
There actions themselves to even consider cloning a human being is Satanic in no uncertain terms. Only God creates. Not scientist’s who gloat over their arrogant achievements.

well I am part of “we” and I don’t know this. source please

the link to the food democracy site gives no reference or quote of an acutal papal document, and instead grossly misstates and misinterprets a press release from the Vatican into something that was never said

Yep, read the link I posted above, it IS from teh Vatican. Section 15 of the doc covers genetic engineering, specifically transgenesis (the insertion of genes from one species into another. The Vatican doesn’t have a problem as long as it fits certain criteria.

In all honesty I don’t care. Meat is tasty it is filling and does the best job of anything to keep my hypoglycemia at bay.

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