Saturday, October 20, 2007


Why not take a listen?

The above dovetails nicely with Aletheia's Godfather's latest bulletin piece:

Duc in altum (Lk 5:4)
The “other side” of the culture of death.

Characteristic of the culture of death is not just a hostility to human life when it is inconvenient, but also a demand for life on our own terms. The first attitude results in contraception, abortion, and euthanasia. The second results in another grave attack on the dignity of human life: in vitro fertilization (IVF).

It might surprise some people to learn of the Church’s teaching
against IVF. After all, the Church is pro-life, Catholics traditionally have many children, and IVF produces new life. It enables people to be more generous with life. From this superficial view, it would seem reasonable for the Church not just to accept IVF but to support it. In fact, the Church teaches that IVF is a moral evil, despite the many otherwise well-intentioned people who use this method to have children.

The basis of the Church’s teaching against IVF flows seamlessly from her opposition to contraception. As Paul VI taught in Humanæ Vitæ, the conjugal act has a twofold purpose: procreation and union — babies and bonding. It is ordered to procreation and union as two inseparable ends. By God’s design the conjugal act unites love and life — so that life comes from love and love leads to life. Man cannot reject or frustrate either purpose. As the sin of contraception seeks marital union but rejects a child, so IVF seeks a child but without the union.

The medicine of IVF also renders it morally wrong. First, obtaining semen necessary for fertilization requires the immoral act of masturbation of the man. Such an act radically separates the act of procreation from the act of love. Second, obtaining eggs requires a process (ovarian hyperstimulation or hyperovulation) that poses serious health risks to the woman. Third, although a couple typically desires only one child from the process, many embryos are “created.” Three or four embryos are typically placed in the woman’s womb — with the expectation and hope that all but one will fail to implant, i.e. will die. The “spare” embryos are then frozen in liquid nitrogen for storage. Thus, in pursuit of one child, many lives are brought about only to be either discarded or put in storage.

The outcome of this process and its mindset should have been obvious
to any student of fallen human nature. Pope Paul VI foresaw it. He wrote in Humanæ Vitæ, “if the mission of generating life is not to be exposed to the arbitrary will of men, one must necessarily recognize insurmountable limits to the possibility of man's domination over his own body and its functions; limits which no man, whether a private individual or one invested with authority, may licitly surpass” (HV 17). By now, the “mission of generating life” has long been “exposed to the arbitrary will of men.”

The legacy of IVF is frightening indeed. We now have tens of
thousands of frozen embryos — that is, human lives that we have put on ice, on hold until we decide what we want to do. This has generated one of the more frightening scientific proposals: let’s use (read: destroy) these embryos for stem-cell research. The scientific false-promise of embryonic stem-cell research is with us today in large part because of the tens of thousands of frozen embryos produced by the IVF process.

It is a great blessing for a couple to have even just one child. And
it is a heavy cross for a couple not to be able to have children. Yet more important than either of these is the truth of human sexuality — a truth we must respect by neither rejecting life when God chooses to give it nor demanding it in ways that violate His laws.

— Fr. Paul Scalia is parochial vicar of St. Rita Catholic Church.

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