Initiative for the Protection of Human Embryos succeeds:
GERMANY (mkf) On January 23 - just a week before the Federal Parliament's decision on the import of stem cells from human embryos - the first 75,000 signatures collected by the Initiative for the Protection of Human Embryos will be passed on in Berlin, capital of Germany. For the opposition party in the German parliament, the Conservatives (CDU/CSU), the head of the parliamentary faction, Friedrich Merz, will receive the signatures at 10:00AM; for the Green Party, Christa Nickels, head of the Parliamentary Commission for Human Rights. On January 24, in the name of the Federal Government, Dr. Klaus Theo Schröder (Health Department) will receive the small delegation and accept the signatures.
The Initiative for the Protection of Human Embryos, started in June 2001 by the community "Bread of Life", Focolare Movement, and Schoenstatt, with 11 other movements, communities and organizations, has reached the goal of their efforts: on January 23 and 24, the delegates of the three movements – Dr. Ursula Dörpinghaus, Solingen, Focolare Movement, Thomas Held, Warendorf, Bread of Life, and Ruth and Peter Fischer, Siegburg, Schoenstatt Movement -, accompanied by journalists and representatives of the movements, will pass on the signatures collected since June – 75,000.
Human Being From the Very Beginning – for a Culture of Life
"The dignity of the Human Being is inviolable": this - so the initiators, and with them 75,000 persons who signed the lists and innumerable ones from other countries who expressed support - refers to the human embryo. "An embryo is a human being." This would be the crucial statement, held Fr. Beller, Movement director of the German Schoenstatt Movement, in his letter written to the German Schoenstatt Movement on behalf of the Covenant Day. "People never failed to find excuses. Some of the conquerors of South America said that the natives there were no human beings, so they could enslave them… Of course you don't enslave a human being. There is a Papal letter that states that these natives are human beings and have an immortal soul." In a similar way, people would today try to prove that embryos are no human beings; so one could use them for a good purpose. "An embryo is a human being. An embryo has an immortal soul and is loved by God." - "The human embryo is not only a potential human life but already person in existence, in the essential and substantial meaning of 'person', even as the embryo cannot yet act out the functions of being a person – like consciousness, communication. The embryo is also already a child of God which determines his dignity and inviolability", explains Dr. Elena Lugo PhD, founder and director of the Interdisciplinary Philosophy department of the University of Puerto Rico, main speaker on the annual conferences on bioethics in Nuevo Schoenstatt, Florencio Varela, Argentina; the come conference will work on this subject. "This refers to each human life," Dr. Elena Lugo adds, " to the mentally and physically handicapped life as well as to life in coma".
A Goal and a Beginnning: "This task will never end!"
Has the Initiative for the Protection of Human Embryos now reached the goal, when on January 24 the last signatures have been received, the press releases are distributed, members of the three movements from Berlin have met with the initiators to share about the events of the day, some informative presentations are given, and the mail carrier ceases to bring box loads of envelopes to the mailboxes of the three main actors?
The Initiative has achieved a goal that was worth while the work and dedication of hundreds of persons from all regions of Germany who collected signatures and helped to create the awareness of human life and dignity being at stake. "When I have been working for this Initiative, I often thought of the song from the Musical 'Risk and Love', about Fr. Kentenich: 'We won't fall silent, we won't be mute…' We cannot only complain about our deteriorating society or fall silent," says Ruth Fischer. "We have an obligation before our Creator to speak out and to act out. We have experienced that our four children fully support our work and have become very sensitive for the value of human life; their personalities have been formed in the past months – and this is the central task, a task that never ends."
Maybe only the beginning? "For me it is important, that Father Kentenich, during the thirties, made the cruelties of the Nazi regime public", is Peter Fischer's response. "We now successfully close a big and important action in view of human life, but our history obliges us as Schoenstatt Movement to continue to speak out for the protection and dignity of human life."
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