Official statements or documents on
bioethics and biotechnology

(as of April 2004)

The following list is incomplete and is meant as an invitation to share with us more information about statements by churches and church related organisations so that we provide a more comprehensive overview. Please send relevant information to JPC Creation team.

Orthodox churches

Ecumenical Patriarchate

  • On the occasion of the Synaxis-Assembly of the Primates of the Orthodox Church in December 2000, at the Phanar, it was decided to create an interorthodox Committee on bioethical issues.
  • Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
    Conference on Bioethics
    “The Church and Bioethics. The Word of Science and the Word of Religion”
    Chambésy Geneva 11-15 September 2002

    French :
    Centre orthodoxe du Patriarcat œcuménique
    Congrès scientifique de Bioéthique
    « Église et Bioéthique. La parole de la religion et la parole de la science »
    Chambésy-Genève, 11-15 septembre 2002
    Episkepsis 614 (31.10.2002) p. 3-10
  • The Theological Institute of Saint Sergius in Paris organizes an annual colloquium on bioethics since 1997

The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA)

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Orthodox Church in America

  • Currently working as part of the SCOBA “Social and Moral Issues Commission” (to report in April 2003 for adoption in May)
  • 10th All-American Council. Orthodox Church in America. July, 1992 Synodal affirmations: : “On Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life”.
    These affirmations on marriage, family, sexuality and the sanctity of life are issued by the Holy Synod of Bishops on the occasion of the Tenth All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America. Miami, Florida, July 1992.

Statements of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America

Encyclical Letter of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

  • Currently working as part of the SCOBA “Social and Moral Issues Commission” (to report in April 2003 for adoption in May)

Ukrainian Orthodox Church

  • Currently working as part of the SCOBA “Social and Moral Issues Commission” (to report in April 2003 for adoption in May)

Patriarchate of Moscow

Patriarchate of Romania

Church of Cyprus

  • Views of the church of Cyprus on the issues of Bioethics. A brief summary from the articles of the official Journal Apostolos Varnavas of the Church of Cyprus

Church of Greece
Hellenic Republic
The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece
The Bioethics Committee

The Bioethics Committee of the Church of Greece was appointed on December 8, 1998. The objective of the Committee is twofold; on the one hand, it is to study in depth the contemporary bioethical problems from a scientific viewpoint based on the Orthodox ethos and theological perception of man, society and values; on the other hand, the Committee will aim to give answers that will express the position of the Orthodox Church of Greece to the questions and relevant dilemmas arising from bioethical issues.

Official Statements

The roman Catholic Church

The Holy See

(See in file List of publications of the Pontifical Academy for Life)
Documents of the Pontifical Academy for Life

Catholic church in England & Wales * Go to Catholic info

  • Euthanasia and the Catholic Church
  • Human cloning

Conférence des eveques suisses (CES)

Communiqué de presse sur “la pilule abortive RU 486 (Mifegyne) en Suisse”

Conférence des Evêques catholiques de Canada

Conférence des Evêques Françaises

Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Abortion, Euthanasia, Bioethics and Reproductive Technology, Natural Family Planning

Bioethics and Reproductive Technology: Cloning/Cloning Legislation, Embryo Research, Stem Cell Research

  • See File: “Church Documents” (Abortion/Respect Life, Cloning, “Emergency Contraception”, Euthanasia, Family Planning, Stem Cell Research)
  • See File: “Fact Sheets, Letters & Testimony (before Congress), Articles, News Releases

Chieza Evangelica Valdeze

Church of England

  • “Genetically Modified Organisms” (Ethical Investment Advisory Group March 2000)
  • “Human Fertilization and Embryology”
  • “Issues in Human Sexuality”
  • Appendix One: “Synod’s previous debates on Human Fertilisation and Appendix Two: “Board for Social Responsibility Responses to related Consultations”
    - Response to the human Genetics Advisory Commission and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s consultation document on cloning issues in reproduction, science and medicine, April 1998.
    - Response to the house of Lords Select Committee on Stem Cell Research, June 2001.
    Response to the Department of Health Donor Information Consultations: providing information about gamete or embryo donors, June 2003.
    - Response to the human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority on Sex selection: choice and responsibility in human reproduction, January, 2003.
    (in “Embryo Research: some Christian Perspectives” Report by the Mission and Public Affairs council. Published by the General Synod of the Church of England, 2003, p.21-25)

Church of Scotland
Society, Religion and Technology Project (SRT)
The SRT Project reports to the Committee on Congregational Mission Development (CMD) of the Church of Scotland's Board of National Mission, and via these to the General Assembly. The Director is supported by an Advisory Committee of specialists in technology, environment, theology, social sciences and other relevant disciplines.

  • Cloning Animal and Human. SRT Project Report 1997 Church of Scotland General Assembly
  • Board of National Mission Report to the 2001 General Assembly
    Appendix: “GM Animals, Humans and the future of Genetics (SRT)
  • General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. 4. Social Interest 4.4 Human Genetic Group May 2001
  • See printed colored documents in file

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

Evangelische Frauenarbeit in Deutschland e. V. (EFD)

  • Von der Würde und der Verantwortung von Frauen. Stellungnahme des Präsidiums der Evangelischen Frauenarbeit in Deutschalnd zu Fragen der Gen- und Reproductionstechnik. Verabschiedet auf der Klausursitzung des Präsidiums am 25. April 2002.
  • II. Von der Würde und der Verantwortung von Frauen. Stellungnahme des Präsidiums der Evangelischen Frauenarbeit in Deutschalnd zu der Argumentationshilfe für aktuelle medizin- und bioethische der Fragen der Kammer für Öffentliche Verantwortung der EKD, August 2002. Verabschiedet vom Präsidium der EFD auf seiner Sitzung am 2 Dezember 2003.

Fédération protestante de France

La Iglesia Evangélica Valdense del Río de la Plata

Lutheran Church of Australia
Commission on Social and Bioethical Questions (CSBQ)

Evangilischen Kirche in Deutschland (EKD)
(Evangelical Church of Germany)

Themen: Bioethik / Gentechnik / Schöpfung

  • Einverständnis mit der Schöpfung. Ein Beitrag zur ethischen Urteilsbildung im Blick auf die Gentechnik und ihre Anwendung bei Mikoroorganismen, Pflanzen und Tieren, vorgelegt von einer Arbeitsgruppe der EKD, 2., um einen Anhang erweiterte Auflage, Gütersloh 1997. German only
  • Neurorientierung für eine nachhaltige Landwirtschaft. Ein Diskussionsbeitrag zur Lage der Landwirtschaft mit einem Wort des Vorsitzenden der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz und des Vorsitzenden des Rates der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland. German only
  • Food Security and Sustainable Development: A Study of the EKD Advisory Commission on Development and Environment. Texte 67. (20 July 2000)
    German (original)
    Ernährungssicherung und Nachhaltige Entwicklung. Eine Studie der Kammer der EKD für Entwicklung und Umelt. Texte #67.
  • Kundgebungsentwurf zum Schwerpunktthema Was ist der Mensch? Vorlage des Vorbereitungsausschusses zum Schwerpunktthema 4 November 2002. German only

Churches in the USA

American Baptist Churches

Church of Brethren

Episcopal Church, USA

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

  • A Social Statement on “Abortion” adopted at the second biennial Churchwide assembly, meeting in Orlando, Florida, August 28-September 4, 1991
  • A Social Statement on “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice” adopted by the third Churchwide Assembly on August 28, 1993, at Kansas City, Missouri.
  • 1998 Recommended Study Document “Genetic Testing and Screening: Critical Engagement at the Intersection of Faith and Science”
  • 2001 Recommended Study Document “Human Cloning Papers From a Church Consultation”
  • 2001 Congregational Study “Genetics! Where Do We Stand as Christians?”
    The 2004 Lutheran Ethicists Gathering held on January 7-8, 2004, at Cenacle Retreat and Conference Center in Chicago.

The General Council of the Assemblies of God

Moravian Church

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

  • “Statement of Faith and Practice”

Presbyterian church in USA (PCUSA)

  • 1970 Statement PCUS Minutes p. 80
  • 1974 Statement – UPCUSA, 1974, Minutes pp. 199 & 618
  • 1980 Statement – PCUS, Minutes p. 218
  • 1983 Statement – PC(USA), Minutes, 1983, Part I, pp. 362-367
    J. “The Covenant of Life and the Caring Community” and K. “Covenant and Creation: Theological Reflections on Contraception and Abortion”
    Report of Advisory Council on Church and Society
    (Minutes, 1983, Part I, pp.362-370)
  • 1983 Statement – PC(USA), Minutes pp. 97 & 846
  • 1990 Statement – PC(USA), Minutes p. 776
  • 2001 Overture (01-50) “On Adopting a Resolution Enunciating Ethical Guidelines for Fetal Tissue and Stem Cell Research from the Presbytery of Baltimore”

Reformed Church in America

United Church of Christ

United Methodist Church

  • 1984 General Conference Resolution declared genes to be a part of the common heritage of all peoples
  • 1988 General Conference Resolution affirming the positive prospects and warning of the potential dangers of genetic technologies, and authorized the establishment of a representative task force
  • 1988 Social Principles: amended to oppose procedures resulting in ‘waste embryos’
  • 1992 General Conference Resolution adopting Resolution on Genetic Science
    “The Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church 2000”
    90. New Developments in Genetic Science
  • 2000 General Conference Resolution on 91. Human Cloning
  • 2000 General Conference Resolution directing General Board of Church and Society to Investigate Stem Cells, Transgenic and Other Issues
  • 2000 amended and Readopted previous statements

    Other Documents: Working Paper of the Bioethics Taskforce of General Board of Church and Society
    (To view these documents you must use a password)

Regional Councils of Churches

Conference of European Churches (CEC)

Bioéthique. Étude des questions soulevées par la Convention du Conseil de l'Europe sur les Droits de l'homme et la Biomédecine, ainsi que les aspects bioéthiques et biotechnologiques ressortant du travail et de la législation de la Communauté européenne.
Travaux de l'ancienne EECCS et travaux actuels d'Église et Société sur la Bioéthique:
Groupe de travail sur la bioéthique et les biotéchnologies

National Council of Churches

National Council of Churches of Christ
in the USA

  • Resolution of the November 2002 General Assembly of the NCC establishing the Exploratory Commission
  • Current, 1986 Policy of the NCC in PDF format
    (Unable to Download)
  • Subgroup Proposal
  • Report of the National Council of Churches: Exploratory Commission on Human Genetic Technologies to the NCC General Assembly November 2003
    Direct Access to Member Communions’ Official Statements
    (as of March 21, 2003):

    NCC Member Communions That Have No Statement on Human Genetic Engineering
    (as of March 21, 2003)
    African Methodist Episcopal Church
    African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
    The Alliance of Baptists in the USA
    American Baptist Churches in the USA
    Armenian Apostolic Church Diocese of America
    Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
    Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
    Coptic Orthodox Church
    Friends United Meeting
    Hungarian Reformed Church
    International Council of Community Churches
    Korean Presbyterian Church in America
    Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
    Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India
    National Baptist Convention of America
    National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.
    National Missionary Baptist Convention of America
    Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in America
    Polish National Catholic Church
    Progressive National Baptist Convention
    Swedenborgian Church
    Syrian (Syriac) Orthodox Church in America

The Canadian Council of Churches

  • “Life: Patent Pending. A discussion guide on biotechnology and the Oncomouse”

Joint Position Papers

Commissioners for Environmental Questions in the Protestant Regional churches in Germany
Commissioners for Environmental Questions in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Germany
Protestant Services for Rural Mission
Catholic rural Peoples’ Movement

Güstrow 7.10.2003

Im auftrag des Evangelischen Oberkirchenrats A. und H.B.
der Evangelischen Kirche A. und H.B. in Österreich
erarbeitet von Ulrich H.J. Körtner
in Zusammenarbeit mit Michael Bünker

Angenonmmen von der Synode der Evangelischedn Kirche H.B. in Österriech, vom Theolgischen Ausschuss A. und H.B., vom Diakonieausschuss A. und H.B. und vom Synodalausschuss A.B.

Submitted to the House of Lords Select Committee on Stem Cell Research by an ad hoc group of Christian theologians from the Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox and Reformed traditions
Submitted to the House of Lords, 1st June 2001.
Accepted for publication in Ethics & Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics, 17:3 (Fall 2001).

  • “Theologians' Brief On the place of the human embryo within the Christian tradition & the theological principles for evaluating its moral status”
    (See Section Topic Papers – The Human Embryo in Christian Tradition)

A Joint Submission from the Church of England House of Bishops and the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics

Prepared by a Working Group on behalf of the
Church Office of the Evangelical Church in Germany
and the Secretariat of the German Bishops’ Conference
(Vorbereitet von einer Arbeitsgruppe im Auftrag des Kirchenamtes der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland und des Sekretariats der Deutschen bischofskonferenz)

  • “How much should we know? Opportunities and risks of predictive medicine” on the occasion of Pro-Life Week 1997: “Every child deserves love. Accepting life instead of selecting it.” (Hannover/Bonn, April 1997)
  • English
    “Xenotransplantation. An aid to ethical discernment” (Hannover/Bonn, May 1998) Joint Texts No. 13
  • German
    “Xenotransplantation. Eine Hilfe zur ethischen Urteilsbildung.” Gemeinsame Texte 13
  • “Organtransplantationen.” Erklärung der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz und des Rates der EKD, Gemeinsame Texte 1, 1990

Joint Declaration Of the Council of the Protestant Church
in Germany And the German Bishops’ Conference
In co-operation with the other member and guest churches of the Council of Christian churches
iIn the Federal Republic of Germany and Berlin (West):

Greek Orthodox Metropoly
Baptist Union
United Methodist Church
Old Catholic church
Moravian church
Syrian-Orthodox church
Old Reformed church of Lower Saxony
Free Evangelical church
Independent Lutheran church
Christlicher Gemeinschaftsverband Mülheim/Ruhr GmbH
Salvation Army

  • “God loves all that lives. Challenges and tasks for the protection of life” (Published in 1989 under the title “Gott ist ein Freund des Lebens. Herausforderungen und Aufgaben beim Schutz des Lebens”)

Adopted by Synod of the Waldensian and Methodist Churches (Italy)
“Ethical problems raised by Science” (August 26, 2000)

Presbyterian, Methodist, Churches of Christ, Quakers / Churches' Agency on Social Issues
Christian agency dealing with social, economic, ecological and political matters in Aotearoa New Zealand

Bioethics Centers

Church of Greece
Center for Biomedical Ethics and Deontology

England and Wales
The Linacre Centre exists to help Catholics, and others, explore and understand the Church's position on bioethical issues. Its perspective is informed by Catholic moral teaching; however, in defending such teaching it seeks also to appeal to non-religious, philosophical reasoning to enable dialogue with those of no religious faith. The Linacre Centre is the only Catholic centre for bioethics in the UK and Ireland. The Trustees of the Centre are the Catholic Archbishops of England and Wales.
The Centre offers:

  • publications on bioethics
  • public lectures, conferences and seminars for priests, nurses, doctors, teachers, and school and university students
  • expert advice and consultancy for individuals, working parties and organisations such as the Catholic Bishops' Joint Bioethics Committee
  • a bioethics reference library of over 6,000 titles, which is open to researchers
  • presentations of the Catholic viewpoint on biomedical issues to Government committees and other official bodies.
Rev. Dr. Martin ROBRA
World Council of Churches
Programme Executive
Justice, Peace and Creation
Geneva, Switzerland

Institute of Postgraduate Studies in Orthodox Theology
at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Chemin de Chambésy 37
1292 Chambésy