The Vatican said Friday that Roman Catholic university clinics were challenging church teaching by continuing research into test-tube conception, which the church rejects.

An editorial in the Vatican's newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, said the church feels determined "as never before" to safeguard the common good against "technological manipulation of the very fonts of life.""The oscillations and discord in the Catholic camp have contributed to rendering the question more complex," said the editorial.

"Above all, the gravity of the decision of several Catholic university clinics to continue, under certain conditions, the practive of homologous `in vitro' fertilizaton, cannot be undervalued."

"Such resolve, from the moment it was made public, has become a challenge as well," the newspaper said.

In January, a Vatican meeting failed to resolve a dispute between the Vatican and three Catholic universities in Europe on researching test-tube conception.

In 1987, a Vatican document approved by Pope John Paul II had condemned test-tube conception, surrogate motherhood and experimentation on live embryos.

It also branded as immoral the freezing of embryos, cloning, attempts to fashion animal-human hybrids and the implanation of embryos in artificial or animal uteruses.