Saturday, 1 September 2012

In Vetro Fertilization and Masturbation

A recent article in the National Catholic Register tried to re-ignite the long standing problem the Roman Catholic Church has with In Vetro Fertilization (IVF).  According to Church teachings put forward in 1987  by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued Donum Vitae (Instruction on Respect for Human Life), the Church officially forbade the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF), stating: “The child has the right to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up within marriage. The good of society requires that children come into the world within a family and that the family be based on marriage, the only setting worthy of truly responsible procreation.”

What these two Church documents   fail to mention is exactly how the Church actually arrived at their conclusion.   The primary problem the Roman Catholic Church has with In Vetro  Fertilization  is that out of necessity it must begin with masturbation.  (How else can semen be extracted?)   But according to St. Augustine 'every genital act must be within the framework of marriage' and that 'masturbation is an intrinsically and seriously disordered act' because 'the deliberate use of the sexual faculty outside moral conjugal relations essentially contradicts the finality of the faculty'.  (How could St. Augustine possibly understand modern medical techniques today in light of his own tortured views on human sexuality?)  Geoffrey Robertson in his book ‘The Case of the Pope – Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse (2012) adds “The sexual ignorance of the church's magisterium deep­ened when Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II in 1979; he had helped to compose Humanae Vitae and Persona Humana and took such a hard line on sexuality that his follow-up encyclical, The Splendour of Truth (1988), put contraception alongside geno­cide as amongst the acts that are 'intrinsically evil'. He forbade further discussion of contraception and instructed his nuncios to spy on up-and-coming clerics and to recommend for promotion to bishop only those who unquestioningly supported the pro­hibition. This led to appointments of men who in many cases lacked street wisdom and insight into human sexual behaviour, and who were to prove astonishingly naive in accepting the excuses of paedophile priests and in believing that they might be cured by prayer and penitence or by counseling.”

Article 2377 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) supporting the 1987 ruling from Donum Vitae states “Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act.”  Note however no mention is made of the Church’s key argument, carefully tucked away, behind this issue i.e., the supposed sin of masturbation!  Clinical experts, including many Catholics have long ago disposed of this demonized subject.  While the Church remains in the dark ages on human sexuality In Vetro Fertilization has been a blessing for many God fearing and Roman Catholic infertile couples, who would otherwise have remained childless.  Science is not in competition with religion but proclaims the glory of God especially in the world of medicine.  For God  it is not the method (IVF) but the intent (the heart behind our actions and thoughts).

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