January 2012 Print


Fr. Peter Scott, SSPX

Are human-animal hybrids a possibility?

Materialism pushes modern scientists to ‘prove’ that man has no immortal soul. The most effective way to do this would be to establish that the only difference between man and the animals is a genetic one, by creating a hybrid which is part man and part animal. On July 25, www.LifeSiteNews.com published an article quoting the Daily Mail, that 155 “admixed” embryos containing both human and animal genetic material had been created by scientists harvesting genetic material from embryos in the United Kingdom, and that this had been done secretly, but legally with licenses, under the 2008 Human Fertilisation Embryology Act. This secret research was revealed by a report prepared by a committee of scientists and tabled in the British Parliament. These embryos included such things as attempts to give monkeys human attributes by injecting human stem cells into their brains.

Would it really be possible, then, to create a living being which is partly human and partly animal, and if so are they really animal or human?

A similar question arose over the question of test tube babies, in which the human egg is artificially fertilized in the laboratory and then implanted in the mother, thus bypassing the sacred marriage act, ordained by God to be the means by which the matter for new life is prepared. At the time, some said that such individuals could not have souls, since this process of fertilization was so perverse. The evidence is for all to see, since this is now common place. This incredibly immoral and revolutionary method of in vitro fertilization, in which man plays God, clearly produces human beings who have a soul. God infuses the soul when the scientist disposes the matter by fertilizing the ovum. The Church has repeatedly condemned this process, but the individuals thus produced are fully human beings and have a soul, and ought to be baptized and raised as Catholics.

Then came cloning, in which an attempt is made to reproduce a new individual with the exact same genetic make-up as the one from which it is cloned. This has succeeded with animals, but is fraught with multiple technical problems, so that the animals thus created suffer from many genetic defects. To the best of my knowledge this has not been done for a human being, even illegally and surreptitiously. However, if it were done, this individual would certainly have a soul and be a true human being, with a soul, for he would have all the genetic material and the organization of a human being, even if he had serious genetic defects. The soul, principle of life, is infused at such time as the material elements are given the organization needed to support human life, that is when the genetic material is incorporated into the cell to make one living being.

However, the same does not apply for hybrids. If a human-animal hybrid embryo could be grown to term, it would have to be either one or the other. Either it would be principally an animal, with some human characteristics, and hence no soul, or it would be principally human, with some animal characteristics, and hence would have a soul. A creature that would be equally both, half and half, would not only be physiologically impossible, but also metaphysically so. The reason for this is that the principle of life, the soul, has to be either the immortal soul of the human who has the spiritual faculties of intellect and will, or in the case of an animal, it has to be the immaterial principle of a being that has no spiritual faculties, but only those that depend upon bodily existence, which includes the passions and feelings, but not free will.

One frightening possibility is genetic manipulation to produce an animal that can act and react in some ways like a man. Such an animal might even look like a man, but it would have no intellect, no free will, no judgment, but would act purely and simply out of instinct or emotion, which is in either case a purely physical response. The other, and more frightening possibility, is to produce a man who is so defective and animalistic in his reactions that he is incapable of using free will. He would be like those with serious neurological or genetic diseases who never attain the use of reason, but who may receive baptism and be Catholic.

May God forbid that the foolhardy pride of man go to such extremes in his striving to be as God, denying that which is most precious about human nature, his spiritual faculties of intellect and will.

The above-mentioned article quotes Lord David Alton, who publicly opposed the creation of such hybrids as ethically unacceptable: “Of the 80 treatments and cures which have come about from stems cells, all have come from adult stem cells, not embryonic ones. On moral and ethical grounds this fails; and on scientific and medical ones too.” Our society will have a terrifying punishment if this abuse of innocent human beings, embryos, for destruction and genetic manipulation continues. It is a sin crying out for vengeance.


What is the origin of the expression “Mysterium fidei” found in the consecration of the Precious Blood at the traditional Mass?

The interest of this question lies in the fact that this sacred expression cannot be found in the four texts that describe the institution of the Blessed Eucharist, found in the three synoptic Gospels and in St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, nor is it to be found in the words of consecration of the sacred liturgies in the Eastern rites.

St. Thomas Aquinas explains the absence of this expression from these four accounts by pointing out that none of these sacred authors intended to write down the form of the sacraments, which were kept hidden in the early Church (III, Q. 78, Art. 3, ad 9), which is supported by the fact that none of these sources contains the complete form for the consecration of the Holy Eucharist as found in the traditional Mass. He goes on further to explain that these words—”the mystery of faith”—are of divine Tradition, being passed on to the Church through the Apostles.

However, this being said, it is clear that these words are not necessary for the validity of the consecration of the chalice. For in the first centuries of the Church, they were not said by the consecrating priest, but were rather an exclamation made by the assistant deacon to bring the attention of the faithful to the transubstantiation, the greatest of all mysteries and the summary of our Faith. This is confirmed by the fact that, although most ancient, they exist only in the Roman rite.

It does not follow, however, that they are optional, or that the most ancient Tradition of the Church can be abandoned and these words eliminated. They are, in fact, a recognition of the most sublime reality, the highest and most sacred action of which man can be the instrument, the acknowledgment that God alone can perform this miracle upon which our eternal salvation depends. This is how Father Gihr, in The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (p. 641) describes these words: “The exclamatory phrase in the middle—the mystery of faith—indicates the unsearchable depth and obscurity of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. That the God-Man did shed His blood for us on the Cross, and that He again sheds it for us in a mystical manner on the altar—is an adorable divine achievement which includes in itself the sum of the most unheard-of wonders, all of which can be acknowledged and believed as true only in the light and the power of faith. Christ’s sacrificial blood in the chalice is a mystery of faith in the fullest sense of the term.”

It is consequently greatly to be regretted that the Novus Ordo Mass has eliminated this expression of Faith, as so much that pertains to the divine action in the propitiatory sacrifice of the altar. It is yet another way in which it undermines the living and profession of the true Catholic Faith.