Standing For Truth Against The Spirit Of The Age

Shenan J. Boquet

“The process of IVF damages embryonic stem cells and thus life and is therefore completely, clearly and totally incompatible with our Catholic faith,” read the post. “For all believers in God, all life is sacred at all times.” The post added, “We pray for those expecting life. We pray for those who have surprise pregnancies. May we always respect the sacredness and the sanctity of life. … As Catholics, we are unapologetically pro-life and are proud and are honoured to stand up for the voiceless and for the vulnerable unborn persons whom we are called to love, cherish and bring closer to God.

The only criticism I have of this post is that it (I’m sure unintentionally) understates the gravity of the case by saying that IVF destroys “embryonic stem cells.” In fact, IVF doesn’t just damage “cells,” but destroys complete, living, intact human embryos, i.e. human beings at the earliest stages of their development. Otherwise the post amounts to a relatively straightforward, and ultimately quite gentle and charitable expression of what the Catholic Church unambiguously teaches.

The Catholic Church has consistently and strongly affirmed that the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) is (in the words of the Catholic Catechism) “gravely immoral” (CCC 2376). In 1987, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued a document, Donum vitae, which carefully explained why recourse to IVF cannot be a legitimate means of addressing infertility. It uses what some people may view as shockingly strong language, arguing that IVF’s authors, proponents, and practitioners “usurp the place of God” and set themselves up as the “authors of life and death.” (The document was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI)

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