The Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun, President of the Committee for Bioethics of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK), issued a message on April 29, 2009, protesting the decision of the National Bioethics Committee to give a qualified consent to the stem cell research on the somatic cloned human embryo, requested by the researchers of CHA General Hospital in Seoul.
In his message, Bishop Chang said, "The Committee cannot but deploring the fact that a national institution leads the destruction of life and even the contempt for life which will be brought about by such a research aiming for the development of embryonic stem cell production method as well as for the production of stem cell line from cloned human embryo, on the excuse of the research for the treatment for incurable diseases. The newly approved stem cell research on the somatic cloned human embryo is an act of ruthless violence destroying human life in the name of science."
And Bishop Chang stressed, "The Catholic Church never turns her face away from the patients who are suffering from the incurable disease, even if she opposes the research on the somatic cloned human embryo. More than any other organization, the Catholic Church has worked and will work for the terminally-ill patients with other concerned parties."
In conclusion, Bishop Chang said, "The Catholic Church supports especially such as the adult stem cell research and the stem cell research with dedifferentiation of skin cells. Such researches can be rewarded with good results without the destruction of human life, in defiance of nature. …… Bio-technology should strive for the true development of human beings, standing by life, recognizing its precious vocation to serve the integral life."
Three years ago, the government banned all stem cell researches on the somatic cloned embryo, as the scandal of Dr. Hwang Woo-seok resulted in a great social confusion. At that time, Dr. Hwang manipulated the results of the embryonic stem cell research to entice the government subsidy. His misbehavior aroused so much public rage that the government had to ban all researches related to the stem cell research in general.