Comments: Three parent baby law is 'irresponsible' says Church of England

I entirely agree with the Bishop of Swindon.Here is yet another example of the Church of England showing its utter inability to understand the pain and the longing of ordinary people in society.

The so called 'statement by the Church of England' does not speak for me!

Posted by Jean Mayland (Revd) at Saturday, 31 January 2015 at 7:52pm GMT

Oh CofE, if you can't say something sensible (or compassionate!), can you PLEASE Just Say Nothing At All???

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 31 January 2015 at 8:00pm GMT

I beg Brendan's pardon - I see that we know who the spokesperson is. But I think he and "the Church of England" are wrong and the bishop is right. This is a procedure with risks, certainly, but I think it is worth taking for the sake of those who have suffered so much with the impact of mitochondrial disease in their lives. It is not a cavalier move towards designer babies.

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Saturday, 31 January 2015 at 8:06pm GMT

The Church of England continues to make itself a laughingstock.

Posted by Jeremy at Sunday, 1 February 2015 at 12:26am GMT

The "Comment is Free" article seems to be an attempt by MPA to cover its back against accusations of obscurantism. The only problem is that once the first MPA announcement had been made, the cat was out of the media bag, and the "Comment is Free" article won't get much attention. Also the blog isn't the easiest piece of writing to understand, is it.

It seems almost inevitable that the legislation will go through. The perceived twisting and turning on the part of the C of E will continue to stoke the view that it is irrelevant at best (a position already held by 60% of the population according to Linda Woodhead's research) or that it is stuffy and out of touch.

How much better it would have been if MPA had taken the trouble to talk to Bishop Lee before it made its original statement. An advantage of establishment is that people like Bishop Lee get put on committees like HEFA. But if the Church doesn't make use of their expertise, what's the point?

Woodhead's research has also demonstrated that the church leadership is doubly out of touch with the general population and with Anglicans in particular, in that it is much more "conservative" on social and ethical issues, and much more "welfarist" on economics. It's fine to be out of touch if you are right, but ....

Finally, the term "three parent baby" is perhaps misleading. Given the ratio of mDNA to DNA, perhaps 2.00001 parent wouuld be more accurate, even if you take the reductionist view that DNA defines parenthood.

Posted by Turbulent priest at Sunday, 1 February 2015 at 2:49pm GMT

"Turbulent priest" suggests that the church leadership is "out of touch" because it disagrees with the rank and file. Utter nonsense - to disagree with people, even with a majority of people, does not mean you are out of touch with them.

The Church of England is (rightly) not a democracy and its leadership are (rightly) not elected in any conventional sense. They are not representative in the way that MPs are representative. They have no particular obligation to speak the opinions of those attending Church of England churches.

Posted by Sam at Sunday, 1 February 2015 at 5:05pm GMT

I find it hard to believe that Dr McCarthy knows better than the Wellcome Trust and the HFEA on this.

Posted by Flora Alexander at Sunday, 1 February 2015 at 5:57pm GMT

The term "three parents" is both irresponsible, unscientific and false.


Posted by Laurie at Sunday, 1 February 2015 at 6:10pm GMT

I am presently in hospital being treated for an acute exacerbation of my idiopathic bronchiectasis; most of my fellow patients on this ward have bronchiectasis caused by the genetic disorder of cystic fibrosis.

Over the years there have been many, many attempts to assist my fellow patients by gene therapy research; the fact that they are not that much further forward seems to me to call for more research, not less.

My daughter, who is a doctor, tells me that she sees patients with mitochondrial diseases with equally, and sometimes much worse, symptoms for which there are no effective treatments.

It seems a pity that I can recognise from my hospital bed the urgent need for research to assist the alleviation of suffering of others when the Church really can't seem to grasp the basic principles of science, much less engage with compassion and empathy.

And, for the avoidance of all possible doubt, there is absolutely no possibility that the research could benefit me in any way; apart, that is, in recognising and affirming that no man is an island. John Donne put it much better...

Posted by Stevie Gamble at Monday, 2 February 2015 at 2:19am GMT

It is difficult to see from the official CofE submission to the consultation on this issue, whether these are genuine ethical concerns on a scientific basis or rather an unscientific stance of some more conservative members of the Mission and Public Affairs Council seeking the impossible "proof of a negative"

"Question 9: Do you have comments on any other aspect of the draft regulations?
While supportive, in principle, of both MST and PNT, we believe that further research is necessary into the relationship between mtDNA and nDNA. Concerns have been raised, for example, with regard to potential mismatches between the mitochondrial and nuclear genome,with varying responses noted from scientists.Concern has also been voiced with regard to heteroplasmy arising from donor mtDNA and the difficulties associated with eradicating this possibility"

Posted by Paul Richardson at Monday, 2 February 2015 at 9:05am GMT

The really surprising thing is that anybody still thinks that human beings have only two parents.

Posted by AndrewT at Monday, 2 February 2015 at 10:44am GMT

"Scientists have accused the church leaders of refusing to examine overwhelming evidence which shows that the creation of three parent babies is ethical and safe." There seems to be some on-going confusion over the distinction between science and ethics. We may heed the scientists advice about matters of safety but ethics is another matter altogether.

The point "But scientists have accused the church of ignoring reams of scientific evidence, and the outcome of a public consultation which showed widespread support for the new ground-breaking IVF treatment." seems to suggest that numbers somehow determine the ethicality of something. Wrong again.

The science can be exact, the support overwhelming but the ethics entirely wrong.

Posted by Andrew F. Pierce at Monday, 2 February 2015 at 3:17pm GMT

Steve Gamble's comment here, is most telling.

He speaks for many patients.

Posted by Laurie at Monday, 2 February 2015 at 7:07pm GMT

How sad to see another 'own goal' against the Church of England, albeit one scored by a clergyman of the Church of Ireland! It gives the impression that none of us are able to think properly about the issues faced by people in our own society.Fortunately our politicians have been able to give a moral lead, when the Church cannot. Then we wonder why it is that fewer people want to attend church !

Posted by The Revd Don Stevenson at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 11:41pm GMT
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