Speaking at the end of a three-day Vatican conference on diagnosing and treating infertility, Pope Benedict XVI urged infertile couples to shun artificial procreation, calling it a form of arrogance and reiterating that the only place worthy of calling new life into the world is in marriage.
Vatican Information Service is reporting that the Pope addressed 200 scientists and members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which was conducting its eighteenth general assembly on the theme: “The diagnosis and treatment of infertility.”
“Research into diagnosis and therapy is the most scientifically correct approach to the question of infertility, as well as being the most respectful of the human condition of the people involved,” the Pope said. “Indeed, the union of a man and a woman, in that community of love and life which is marriage, represents the only worthy ‘place’ for a new human being to be called into existence.”
He went on to explain how “the human and Christian dignity of procreation does not lie in a ‘product’, but in its bond with the conjugal act: that expression of the spouses’ love for one another, that union which is not only biological but also spiritual. … An infertile couple’s legitimate aspirations to become parents must therefore, with the help of science, find a response which is fully respectful of their dignity as people and as spouses.”
Yet, the Holy Father said, the field of human procreation seems to be dominated “by scientism and the logic of profit”, which often restrict many other areas of research.
“The Church is attentive to the suffering of infertile couples”, he added, “and her concern for them is what leads her to encourage medical research. Science, nonetheless, is not always capable of responding to the needs of many couples, and so I would like to remind those who are experiencing infertility that their matrimonial vocation is not thereby frustrated. By virtue of their baptismal and matrimonial vocation, spouses are always called to collaborate with God in the creation of a new humanity. The vocation to love, in fact, is a vocation of self-giving and this is something which no bodily condition can impede. Therefore, when science cannot provide an answer, the light-giving response comes from Christ.”
Benedict XVI invited the participants in the general assembly to continue to develop “a science which is intellectually honest and dedicated to the continual search for the good of mankind. … Indifference towards truth and goodness is a dangerous threat to authentic scientific progress”, he warned. In conclusion, the Pope encouraged his audience to dialogue with faith because “it was Christian culture – rooted in the affirmation of the existence of Truth, and the intelligibility of reality in the light of Supreme Truth – which enabled modern scientific knowledge to develop in mediaeval Europe, a knowledge which in earlier cultures had remained in the bud.”
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