(This article is part of an ongoing series showing different adult obsessions in waging “War Against Children” by Fr. Jerry Novotny, OMI.)
When we look at the state of the world today, it is easy to get discouraged and depressed. In all areas of our life as a society – whether it is the economy, the corona pandemic, world politics or the war on children – things are not good and in general appear to be getting worse, like the senseless attacks in Ukraine by Putin and his gestapo army. I think that most people will admit that our world is more divided now than ever before. The real value and dignity of human life has been placed on the slippery slope of destruction while science and technology are introducing a false world of hope, not to mention big business which rakes in money from these corrupt avenues of life. Just recently, we learned that Israeli scientists have created the world’s first “synthetic embryos”. This time the attack by adults focuses on pre-born children at the very beginning of their lives, ie. “synthetic embryos” grown outside of the womb without the natural process of sperm, egg and fertilization. The slippery slope of science continues.
Mass media informs us that scientists used mouse stem cells to create synthetic mouse embryos, nurtured them in an artificial womb, and grew them for 8 1/2 days which is equivalent of three weeks of a human pregnancy. The mouse embryos developed beating hearts, flowing blood, intestinal tracts and cranial folds in the brain. Most shocking is they were created from scratch in a Petri dish without a father’s sperm or a mother’s egg or womb. In short, they have bypassed the need for sperm, eggs and fertilisation.
Briefly, this Youtube shows how synthetic mouse embryo models were grown outside the womb. This 16-second video shows the device in action. Continuously moving beakers simulate the natural nutrient supply, while oxygen exchange and atmospheric pressure are tightly controlled.
The article “Synthetic Embryo” Breakthrough presents briefly the overall picture of what is happening and the future fears of where this creation may lead us.
(Quote) In research published in the journal Cell this week, scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel said found a way to have mouse stem cells self-assemble into embryo-like structures in the lab.
They started by collecting cells from the skin of mice, then made them return to the state of stem cells.
The stem cells were then placed in a special incubator designed by the researchers, which continuously moved to mimic a mother’s womb.
The vast majority of the cells failed to form anything.
But 50 – 0.5 percent of the 10,000 total – collected themselves into spheres, then embryo-like structures, the researchers said.
After eight days – around a third of the 20-day mouse gestation period – there were early signs of a brain and a beating heart, they added.
They were described as 95% similar to normal mouse embryos.(End of Quote)
Another Youtube video shows a synthetic mouse embryo model on day 8 of its development; it has a beating heart, a yolk sac, a placenta and an emerging blood circulation.
View detailed photo of Synthetic Embryo Day 8 and a Natural Embryo Day 8. The photo shows the Yolk sac, Placenta, Brain, Beating heart and Tail.
Although scientists intentions may sound heroic today, however, one wonders what will happen once this new development enters the stage of the “slippery slope” and big business steps in.
Could this suggest that perhaps a future baby will reach full term in an artificial womb without a mother?
The big question is: Can human beings be made artificially? According to the latest research, current biotechnology (synthetic biology and cloning of organs and tissues) makes artificial human reproduction feasible; however, ethical limits are difficult to accept at the moment. However, the answer is “Yes”. Science does believe that it is possible. Creating “synthetic mouse embryos” appears to be the first step in that direction.
Till now lab-grown human embryos were controlled by a 14-day rule? During this period, biologists were able to thaw human embryos, placed them into individual culture dishes and watched them grow during the earliest stages of development up to 14 days. Further research was prevented due to international guidelines. However, in May, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) released new guidelines that relaxed the 14-day rule. Although only a few labs around the world have perfected the techniques needed to culture human embryos up to day 14, the science is advancing rapidly. The relaxed rule allows lab groups, in countries where it is legal, to apply to the regulators for permission to continue research past 14 days. Then the slippery slope will burst wide open.
Stem cell research has led to the development of lab-created mice embryos. What does the future hold? According to Hanna Seariac in her article:
(Quote) Nature published a study on Thursday titled, “Synthetic embryos complete gastrulation to neurulation and organogenesis.” The Associated Press put it this way: “Scientists have created ‘synthetic’ mouse embryos from stem cells without a dad’s sperm or a mom’s egg or womb.” These lab-created embryos could shed light on human development, but also might be foundational to creating synthetic human embryos for research in the future. (End of Quote)
At present, scientists state that “synthetic embryos” are definitely not embryos. Yet the ultimate goal seems to be interfering with the beginning of a child’s life by creating “synthetic embryos” which are as close as possible to “natural embryos”. What will prevent them from becoming human embryos in the future as science develops? As Michael Cook so eloquently points out, “If the brief history of stem cell science has taught us anything, it is that scientists’ lust for power always outruns their interest in ethics.“
What God has created as something beautiful, man seems determined to destroy. The initial stage of the pre-born generation of children is on the line: God’s sacred creation or man’s factory production. In the face of all this uncertainty and conflict, it can be tempting for us to throw up our hands and give up. As ordinary people it seems that there is nothing we can possibly do to make things better. We might want to retreat into our own personal lives and pursue our own interests. We might decide that it’s better just to forget about the world and its problems.
While this attitude “to give up” is understandable, it is not what we are called to as believers in Christ. No matter how bad things are, we are called to be people of faith. No matter how dark the world gets, God expects us to bring the light of Christ into it. He can change the world only in and through us. We are His light, His instruments in the world.
In Amos 8: 4-7, we read that Amos had a comfortable life as a farmer, but left it all when he was called by God to denounce the corruption that he saw around him. He refused to stay silent when others were being taken advantage of and exploited. It wasn’t right, and he was not about to look the other way just so that he could keep a comfortable life. Because of his testimony to God’s love for the poor, people of faith down through the centuries have been inspired to work for justice.
As an obstacle to our spiritual growth, the devil is always trying to discourage us by telling us that whatever we do will not make a difference. The reason is that he doesn’t want things to change. But whatever we do out of love does make a difference. To be the voice of the voiceless sends out light that makes the world that much less dark. And it inspires others to do likewise.
So, whatever good you can do to protect pre-born children, do it. Even though the world is in a sad state of affairs and we feel discouraged and helpless, as Christians, there is one thing we can never do. We can never give up. We can never let ourselves become indifferent in the face of protecting our children. No matter what, we have to do whatever good we can do. And if all else fails, we can pray. Prayer supports those spiritual powers which are fighting the good fight of justice and goodness. Prayer also works to soften hearts that have become hardened so that God can reach them and change them through His love. Prayer does make a difference.
In his book, The Church of Mercy, Pope Francis writes, “[T]he first word that I wish to say to you [is]: joy! Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy born of having many possessions, but of having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst.”
You see, we have the answer to every problem that plagues our world. The answer is Jesus. If He is in our heart, and we share Him with others, then we can have confidence that the world will change and the war on children will end.
In conclusion, let me share with you the following: on August 17, 2002, Saint John Paul II entrusted the world to Divine Mercy. It is still very important for us today.
God, merciful Father,
in your Son, Jesus Christ, you have revealed your love
and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter,
We entrust to you today the destiny of the world and of every man and woman.
Bend down to us sinners,
heal our weakness,
conquer all evil,
and grant that all the peoples of the earth
may experience your mercy.
In you, the Triune God,
may they ever find the source of hope.
by the Passion and Resurrection of your Son,
have mercy on us and upon the whole world!