God's Rottweiler is taking yet another bite out of science with the announcement that any scientist who engages in stem cell research of any kind will be excommunicated. The same goes for any politician who votes in favor of legislation permitting such research to take place.
"Destroying human embryos is equivalent to an abortion. It is the same thing," said Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
"Excommunication will be applied to the women, doctors and researchers who eliminate embryos [and to the] politicians that approve the law," he said in an interview with Famiglia Christiana, an official Vatican magazine.
Excommunication - "exclusion from the communion" - is like having your decoder ring taken away, you don't get to take part in any more of the church's magic.
And you get to sleep in on Sundays.
Professor Cesare Galli, of the Laboratory of Reproductive Technologies in Cremona, was the first scientist to clone a horse. He's at the top of the Vatican's hit list and he doesn't care.
"I can bear excommunication. I was raised as a Catholic, I share Catholic values, but I am able to make my own judgment on some issues and I do not need to be told by the Church what to do or to think.
"I will be, together with Elena Cattaneo [a scientist working in the University of Milan] the first to be affected by the excommunication and then there are two other labs that I know using imported embryonic stem cells."
Even members of bizarre Catholic cult Opus Dei - one of the Pope's favorites - think Ratzi's edict is ridiculous.
"I am upset and stunned," said Paola Binetti, an Italian senator and Opus Dei member. "It is a mistake to give out the idea that God is angry with Man because he is not in agreement with him."
Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly made clear his fear of the black arts that we call "science." During his Good Friday sermon this spring he warned of the dangers of progress.
"Lord Jesus, open our eyes: Let us see the filth around us and recognize it for what it is, so that a single tear of sorrow can restore us to purity of heart and the breath of true freedom," he wailed.
Though Ratzi's predecessor, J.P., made his stance against capital punishment clear, there's no word yet if the butchers who practice or vote in favor of that barbaric act will be similarly kicked out of the gang.
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