Blog Post

Poor Catechesis: Catholics Think IVF is Okay

IVFIn yet another example of the huge failure of catechesis in America, a recent survey found that only 13 percent of Catholics believe in vitro fertilization (IVF) is morally wrong. is reporting on a new Pew Research survey which found that the majority of the Catholics who were polled on this issue said they either did not believe IVF was a moral issue (46%) or that it was morally acceptable (31%). Only 13 percent said it was morally wrong.

In 1987 the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document known as Donum Vitae ("The Gift of Life"), which addressed the morality of many modern fertility procedures.  This document did not condemn the use of technology to overcome fertility, only those methods that disregarded the dignity of the human person and the institution of marriage. If a given medical intervention helps or assists the marriage act to achieve pregnancy, the procedure can be considered moral; if it replaces the marriage act (which IVF does) in order to engender a pregnancy, then it is not moral.

Catholics also seem to be unaware of Church teaching on the use of stem cells for research. Only 24 percent of Catholics think embryonic stem cell research, which involves the killing of a human embryo, is wrong with 30 percent saying it's okay.

Twenty-one percent of Catholics said they believe the use of adult stem cell research is morally wrong in spite of the fact that the Church has pronounced this type of research to be morally licit.

Donum Vitae teaches that it is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.

On the issue of abortion, Catholic opinion was more in line with Church teaching with two-thirds of Hispanic Catholics (64%) and more than half of white Catholics (53%) saying it is morally wrong.

Overall, 49 percent of Americans say they believe abortion is morally wrong; 12 percent believe IVF is wrong; and 16 percent believe embryonic stem cell research is wrong.

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