Human Cloning: An Ethical and Theological Approach

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 1-1-2009


Campus Only

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Aaron Mackler

Committee Member

George Worgul

Committee Member

Elizabeth Agnew Cochran


cloning, ethics, theology


This dissertation provides readers the opportunity to explore the topic of human cloning from the scientific, magisterial, theological, ethical, and spiritual perspectives. The first chapter of this dissertation discusses the development of the science and technique of human cloning. The chapter begins with a discussion of embryology that serves as a basis to human cloning research today. I divide history from 1880-1995 and 1995 to the present. The final part of this chapter poses a question to the readers: Do we, human beings, have the ethical fortitude and conviction to approach this scientific endeavor honestly, open-mindedly, and with the willingness to assume our roles as co-creators?

The second chapter presents the magisterial statements by the Roman Catholic Church in regards to the biosciences and human cloning related to life issues. The chapter focuses on the magisterium's approach to the topic of human cloning and biosciences from 1973 to the present. The chapter introduces into the dialogue the encyclicals Donum Vitae and Evangelium Vitae as they address this topic. The scope of theological and magisterial statements is presented in a historical chronological order. The chapter clearly sets forth in its conclusion that the discussions between science and the Church will continue.

The third chapter focuses on Catholic and other important faith traditions’ reactions to human cloning. Various religious arguments against human cloning will be presented and the critical writing of Leon Kass will serve as a summary of the religious arguments. The chapter reminds the reader that it is important to know the whole of a particular subject such as human cloning by listening to all the viewpoints on the subject.

The final chapter reflects on the experience of the scientists, theologians, and the Church to foster a dialogue of mutual respect in discussing this scientific breakthrough toward human cloning. The dialogical model presented in this chapter, regarding the consistent ethic of life, is that of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. The commitment of the dissertation from the beginning though this final chapter has been to place into dialogue the biosciences and the Roman Catholic tradition on this most important scientific advancement of human cloning that both presents a challenge and an opportunity for all people.





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