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 process works.


Bruce Kaye, General Secretary Submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the Scientific, Ethical and Regulatory Aspects of Human Cloning November 1999
Denise Cooper-Clarke (Melbourne) Response to Statements by Archbishop Peter Carnley n.d. (2001)
Canberra & Goulburn Response to Scientific Issues from Ethical and Theological Perspective February 2002
Archbishop Peter Carnley Discussion Paper on IVF and Stem Cell Research March 2002
The Revd Dr Christopher Newell Article: Stem Cells - An Anglican Evaluation May 2002
Bishop George Browning (Canberra & Goulburn) Submission to Lockhart Review September 2005
Diocese of Sydney, Social Issues Executive Submission to Lockhart Review n.d. (2005)