Infertility, Science and the Church

The issue of infertility is one that strikes many couples today.  This week the Academy for Life has been meeting in Rome discussing the topic “Diagnosis and Therapy of Infertility”.  Pope Benedict XVI took the time to address the attendees at the Academy on this topic.

In his speech, Pope Benedict reminded his audience that “the union of the man and woman in that community of life that is matrimony constitutes the only dignified “place” in which a new human being, which is always a gift, may be called into existence.”

He also talked about the human and Christian dignity of procreation saying it “… does not consist in a “product”, but in its connection with the conjugal act, the expression of the love of the husband and wife, of their union that is not only biological but also spiritual.”

Pope Benedict encouraged those researching infertility to be intellectually honest and to “find a response that fully respects their dignity as persons and spouses.”

The suffering that couples struggling with infertility experience was not forgotten and Pope Benedict reiterated the Church’s care for those who do suffer in this way.  He spoke directly to couples experiencing infertility saying:

“I would like again to remind the spouses who experience infertility that their vocation to marriage is not frustrated because of this.  The husband and wife, because of their baptismal and matrimonial vocations themselves, are always called to work together with God in creating a new humanity. The vocation to love, in fact, is a vocation to the gift of self and this is a possibility that cannot be impeded by any organic condition.  Therefore, where science cannot find an answer, the answer that brings light comes from Christ.”

All present were reminded that they were trusted by others and had a great role to play in influencing public opinion.  Pope Benedict finished by saying “Never give in to the temptation of reducing the good of persons to a mere technical problem!  The indifference of conscience before the true and the good represents a dangerous threat to authentic scientific progress.”

The full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s address can be read here.

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