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The Procreative Power of God

By Judie Brown

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory.” The procreative act thus takes on not only the biological fact that a child comes into being through the union of sperm and egg but the divine involvement of God Himself.

This truth knowable by human reason alone reminds us that practices such as in vitro fertilization and contraception violate the natural law. For as Saint John Paul II taught in Familiaris Consortio,

When couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings [the unitive and procreative purposes of the marriage act] that God the creator has inscribed in the being of man and woman and in the dynamism of their sexual communion, they act as “arbiters” of the divine plan and they “manipulate” and degrade human sexuality—and with it themselves and their married partner—by altering its value of “total” self-giving.

In a recent statement, the USCCB expanded on the immorality and dangers of IVF, explaining that “it is responsible for well-documented injuries to children before and after birth, as well as to the health of women and the well-being of families.” The statement then goes on to list the ways that women and babies are harmed or destroyed by IVF.

Once these fundamentals are understood, it becomes immediately apparent that there is something wrong with the practice of in vitro fertilization. The manipulation of human sperm and egg in a laboratory is not the design of God but rather exhibits the arrogance of man. This is why the Alabama Supreme Court ruling addressing the wrongful death of human embryos destroyed after in vitro fertilization is fraught with peril.

It is a scientific fact that the human embryo is a human being, but it is not a moral imperative that we concur in the opinion that creating human embryos in a laboratory is an ethical action. Quite the contrary, as Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) pointed out in the Vatican document Donum Vitae: “Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person.”

Bishop Michael Burbidge (Arlington, Virginia), chairman of the USCCB’s Pro-Life Committee, addressed the problems inherent in the practice of IVF, stating, “There are millions of human beings who have been killed or potentially permanently frozen by this industry. This cannot be the answer to the very real cross of fertility challenges. In efforts to bring about new life, we cannot turn our face from the many more lives that are cut short and extinguished in the process.”

Wheeling, West Virginia, bishop Mark Brennan, explaining the Church teaching on IVF, wrote, “The Catholic Church, relying on the sound conclusions of philosophy, anthropology and moral theology, has not approved in vitro fertilization because it does not assist a couple to achieve a pregnancy through their intimate union but rather replaces it. Our Church has also sponsored research to aid infertile couples. It behooves a couple facing infertility to insist on a thorough examination of the causes of their condition to see if a remedy may be found.”

In these statements and others like them we discover the truth that man cannot replace God in any circumstance, particularly when it comes to matters of life and death. Without reference to Him, anything is possible, including the corruption of the God-given gift of fertility itself.

For example, we find avowed feminist human rights attorney Julie Kay opining that when we defend the human embryo’s right to life and her right to come into being through the procreative act, not in a laboratory, we “hold a person’s life at the same level as something that is either a fertilized egg or even before implantation and an embryo.”

Note her dehumanization of the embryonic baby, degrading that baby by categorizing her as a thing. This is precisely what occurs when the procreative power of God is swept under the carpet covering the deepest depths of the netherworld.

This is why will never stop teaching truth.