I had a post going about Catholic motherhood, but then I saw this opinion piece this morning about how the family who were victims of that horrible mistaken embryo transfer thinks that the Catholic Church should reverse its decision on IVF. I read that they were Catholic when I heard about the story the first time and my ears went up a little but hey, lots of Catholics don’t follow Church teaching on contraception and the same is with IVF. Did anyone else see this?
One thing is for sure, the Church re-explaining its stance on ART was definitely not a personal attack on this specific family – as the author states there have been Church documents explaining the theology behind this for quite a while now. There was probably just general confusion after this widely publicized story, and rightly so. I feel similar frustration when people tell me “Oh, so and so did IVF and they’re Catholic.” ::sigh:: There is a lot of general confusion on this teaching and clarification is obviously necessary.
Also, the document referred to (Dignitas Personae) points to the improper generation of a human being, not the human being itself. I know I’m going to upset people here, since couples who do IVF have been suffering and would love more than anything to have a child of their own genetics – and I have personally felt that same suffering, but this is akin to saying that rape denies the resulting child the proper perfect generation. That statement says nothing of the dignity of the resulting person. As Christians we don’t believe that the ends justify the means. Means are equally important.
Biological motherhood is a beautiful and glorious thing, but it is not the end all be all and point of our existence. Despite any insensitivity we sub/infertile women feel in the pew on Sunday, if the Catholic Church believed and taught that, then any and all treatments would be licit. But it doesn’t. There is something beyond motherhood and our own desires that matters and that is God’s creation, the sanctity of life.
This is the ultimate proof that Catholics are not about filling the pews but about something bigger. Principles, true theology beyond our own desires. This is why we should be weary of churches that promote motherhood at the cost of the sanctity of life and the unborn, without concern for how it happens.
Anyway, did you see this article? What did you think?
I am intrigued that a couple who believes in life at conception would be OK with freezing their babies. I wonder if they would think differently if another couple had mistakenly received their frozen embryo and aborted, as they would have had every right to do? God bless them for their generosity, but their personal experience clearly points to a flawed system that no amount of rules and precautions can protect against.