As the Revd Dr Bruce Kaye explained to a Parliamentary enquiry into human cloning
in 1999, "Contemporary Anglican theology seeks to be incarnational, that is testifying
to the presence of God in the world and therefore as a theology it seeks also to
operate within the world, as opposed to seeking to cut itself off from the world."
It therefore draws on a variety of sources, foremost of which is Scripture but it
also includes the breadth of Christian tradition and our capacity to reason and
reflect on the experience of scientific achievement. Some Anglicans will stress
the absolute primacy of Scripture as God's special revelation to humanity which
must be followed obediently. Other Anglicans observe that Scripture provides a sufficiently
cogent and coherent vision of anthropology while noting the limitations of literary
genre and the need for responsible engagement with scientific understanding.
This theological method consciously allows time for a concensus to emerge whilst
preserving room for diversity of opinion to simultaneously exist. This method is
particularly evident in discussion of cloning. Anglican ethics, as Dr Kaye has observed,
"upholds the dignity of the human person." While considerable effort has been applied
to understanding the ethics of modern reproductive technology a definitive Anglican
statement concerning cloning is yet to be produced. Anglicans in various dioceses
and parts of the global Communion hold slightly differently views as to the moral
status of the embryo and human body parts.
The weight of opinion expressed to parliamentary reviews by bishops and other Church
representatives has been against the cloning of human beings and the destruction
of human embryos to harvest stem cells. However, views diverge as to when cells
become a human being and the legitimacy of selectively cloning human cells for therapeutic
treatment of disease.
This page endeavours to represent the views expressed by various Australian Anglicans
on the issue of cloning. In the process, it also illustrates how our theological