Reproductive Technology (RT)

While much of the current discussion centres around the moral implications of “Therapeutic cloning” it might be as well to “step back” and to understand that, in its objections to these techniques, the Catholic Church is only maintaining what has been the constant teaching on human life.

The following abstract is taken from an article by Dr Brigid Vout from the Life Office:

Forms of RT which replace or substitute for the role of the marital act (e.g. artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization), even if the sperm and egg have come from a husband and wife, fail to show proper respect for the dignity of procreation and human life. However forms of RT which assist or help an act of intercourse to achieve its purpose may be morally permissible (e.g. treatment of underlying causes of infertility; low tubal ovum transfer; and possibly GIFT).

Appreciative of the suffering caused by infertility, the Church commends medical research and practices that, while safe-guarding the dignity of human life and procreation, work to prevent and treat fertility problems. The Church also reminds childless couples that their married life still remains a gift to the Church and provides them with many opportunities to serve human life.

The full article can be downloaded from the Life Office website: Catholics and Reproductive Technology PDF download = 34.7KB

More information:

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation (Donum vitae), Feb 1987.
Bishops of England and Wales and the Catechism of the Catholic Church
And from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Assessing different methods of RT

Abortifacient Contraceptives

In line with the above discussion, some Catholic women may need to educate themselves regarding the abortifacient effects of some methods of contraception.

Some information on this topic is available from the Lifesite website: abortifacient contraceptives

From Mother Teresa:

Mother Teresa said: “The greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion, which is war against the child. The mother doesn’t learn to love, but kills to solve her own problems.

Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.”

“The way to plan the family is natural family planning, not contraception.

This (use of contraceptives) turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gift of love in him or her.
In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other as happens in natural family planning … and not to self, as happens in contraception.
Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows easily.

And abortion, which often follows from contraception, brings a people to be spiritually poor, and that is the worst poverty and the most difficult to overcome.”

[Editor’s note: Natural Family Planning is NOT “The Rhythm Method” ]

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