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My Take: Catholic Church should reverse opposition to in vitro fertilization
Carolyn and Sean Savage with their kids.
May 10th, 2011
09:28 AM ET

My Take: Catholic Church should reverse opposition to in vitro fertilization

Editor's note: Sean Savage is coauthor of "Inconceivable: A Medical Mistake, the Baby We Couldn't Keep, and Our Choice to Deliver the Ultimate Gift" and a cradle Catholic who lives in Sylvania, Ohio, with his wife and three children.

By Sean Savage, Special to CNN

According to the Roman Catholic Church, the only moral route to conceiving a child is through sexual intercourse. As a Catholic, I find the church's position to be discriminatory against couples who have medical conditions that prevent them from conceiving in that manner.

I never intended to challenge the church when my wife and I pursued in vitro fertilization in an effort to expand our family after a decade of unsuccessful infertility treatments. We loved our two boys and we'd always wanted a big family. After a successful IVF procedure in 2007 brought us our daughter in 2008, we tried again so that we could fulfill our commitment to give every embryo we created a chance at life.

When a fertility center made a critical error by transferring another couple's embryos to my wife, we were thrust into an unusual pregnancy and eventually found ourselves at the center of an intense media storm. On September 24, 2009, the day Carolyn gave birth to a very loved baby boy, who was immediately turned over to his genetic parents, the Catholic Diocese of Toledo released a statement to The Toledo Blade condemning IVF as "morally unacceptable."

Because we were the focus of the news, we felt as though the diocese was really condemning us.

The statement hurt Carolyn and me tremendously. We had hoped for the church's support and prayer on one of the hardest days we've ever faced.

Carolyn and I have always believed in our stewardship responsibilities to the church. I'd given thousands of hours over the years to coaching youth through my local parish, have raised funds for Catholic churches and schools and have given charitably to church causes. Carolyn had dedicated her career to teaching and working as a principal in Catholic schools.

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Instead of support, the church branded us in a very public way with the apparently shameful letters IVF. Why couldn't the church recognize our journey for what it was - an affirmation of the sanctity of life? Their negative response motivated me to look closer at the issue.

I believe there is an ethical path a couple can take when pursuing IVF and I ask the Roman Catholic Church to consider adopting a new doctrine that provides moral guidance for Catholic couples on how to do so.

While I share many concerns with the Catholic Church about abuses within the science of IVF, I disagree with a number of points the church makes on the issue. The church spelled out its stance in Donum Vitae, a 1987 doctrine on biomedical issues released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - an office then led by Cardinal Joseph Ratziner, who is now Pope Benedict XVI - and in 2008's Dignitas Personae, another influential church document.

The original doctrine states that "even if it (IVF) is considered in the context of 'de facto' existing sexual relations, the generation of the human person is deprived of its proper perfection; namely, that of being the result and fruit of a conjugal act." Dignitas Personae echoes this position by stating "human procreation is a personal act of a husband and wife, which is not capable of substitution."

I am personally opposed to the intentional destruction and discarding of unwanted embryos and understand why this is condemned by the church. But to state that a child born of IVF is less perfect than a child created through sexual intercourse is absurd. Is the church truly claiming that our beautiful and innocent daughter, conceived through an IVF procedure, is somehow "less" because of how her physical life began? In her, Carolyn and I see God's precious creation.

Of course, the creation of a child through a conjugal act is the preferred method because it is the most natural, least expensive and least stressful. But that shouldn't mean it should be the only acceptable route to conception.

What about Catholic men and women who have legitimate medical conditions, like endometriosis, which Carolyn has and which caused infertility despite efforts at surgical intervention?

Carolyn and I would have been happy to save thousands of dollars and a decade of emotional ups and downs by conceiving the "old-fashioned way," but that wasn't possible. We turn to medicine for a litany of medical maladies and impairments, but infertile Catholics are supposed to avoid treating a medical condition which prevents them from building or expanding their family?

Yes, adoption is a wonderful option for the couples who decide it's right for them, but adoption should never be forced on anyone.

The Donum Vitae doctrine also states that "in vitro fertilization is in itself illicit and in opposition to the dignity of procreation and of the conjugal union even when everything is done to avoid the death of the human embryo."

The term "illicit" has such a grave connotation and to use it in this context seems quite out of place. Should a couple that seeks a child through IVF, and that does so with a commitment to allow every embryo a chance at life, be considered to be participating in an illicit activity?

The most perplexing and pejorative language from Donum Vitae is that "marriage does not confer upon the spouses the right to have a child... the child has the right, as already mentioned to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents and has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of conception."

Babies born of IVF are here because their parents loved, respected and longed for these children well before conception. These children could not get here through the conjugal love of their parents and it took a very deep love, respect, and commitment to pursue the medical treatment needed to conceive through IVF. There is no doubt in my mind that God is working through loving parents and ethical doctors to allow these children to come into this world.

Now for the ironic in Donum Vitae: "Scientists are to be encouraged to continue their research with the aim of preventing causes of sterility and of being able to remedy them so that sterile couples will be able to procreate in full respect for their own personal dignity and that of the child to be born."

So although there are solutions for sterile couples today, those should not be sought because they are outside of the conjugal act? If Carolyn and I were to wait until the scientific advances described in this statement before pursuing additional children, we would not have our daughter - or the opportunity to welcome two more children into this world this August.

If science can advance to the point that all procreation can happen within the confines of the conjugal act, that would be incredible. But what do couples do while waiting the years and probable decades before these advances come to fruition?

The challenge for the church is to see the beauty in the science and that there is a path within IVF that is worthy of God's grace and approval.

The church's presence in this field could help limit abuses and disregard for human life through advocacy, education, and support. Perhaps it could provide counselors as couples pursue IVF and face many technical and nuanced decisions. And maybe the church could help couples navigate even more complex situations, like embryo adoption.

Carolyn and I were victims of the worst IVF mistake on record. But we remain proponents of the science and understand the good that is done by God through ethical physicians in this industry. We value and support the sanctity of life, even if it's created with the help of IVF.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Sean Savage.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Opinion • Pope Benedict XVI • Sexuality • Technology

soundoff (1,281 Responses)
  1. Lindie

    It is clear to see many of the comments made against the Catholic Church are done out of ignorance. The Church never takes lightly controversies stemming out of human affairs. In fact, she is accused of acting too slowly in rendering decisions concerning how her members should live out their Christian life. That is the reason why she continues to teach what she believes she has received from Divine Providence against immense criticism from the world. She has remained standing against all odds for over two thousands years. Believe me... it has not been because of human endeavors. If humans had their way, the Catholic Church would not be standing today. Christ repeatedly told his disciples his teachings would contradict those of the world. In his own time, many left him when he told them they must eat of his flesh in order to have life. Many teachings were harsh and sometimes appeared unfair to his followers. This couple, also is questioning the
    Church about IVF. Either, they must accept that Jesus left an authority on Earth, his Church, or they too must do what so many of his followers did, walk away. Sincere humility before Christ in prayer will always render his answer if you are willing to listen to him and leave your pride at the door. God Bless.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • solace

      LINDLE, "...sincere humility before Christ in prayer will always render his anwser if you are willing to listen to him and leave your pride at the door..." YES, I totally agree with this statement, however, I do not agree that one must go through a third party (the Catholic Church) to get to God. There are times when we may need spiritual counsel on our spiritual journey- the guidance of a spiritual director can be invaluable. But, as I understand it, a spiritual director is not pushing dogma, rather they provide a space for you to explore your relationship with God without judgement.

      As a Catholic, I fully support the fact that Sean has taken this question public- we need dialogue around these issues. There needs to be room to discuss and process such issues.

      It is also interesting to me that you refer to the church as "she"- interesting, in that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is made up solely of men. Perhaps you could shed some light on this.

      May 11, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  2. fsmgroupie

    wasn't the conception of jesus a little on the in vitro side or did the good lord actually stick his godliness into the virgin mary without her knowing it ?

    May 10, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  3. Rick

    Do you know in your heart that what you did was morally right? Then what business is it of the church? Why is this going public? It is between you and your wife. The church is judging you on a level they know nothing about. Have they ever conceived? Have they ever had a spontaneous miscarriage? Have they ever lost a biological son or daughter? Theory is one thing, life is a whole nuther story. God Bless you both. God is loving and kind, look to Him in faith and find peace, His peace in your hearts.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Lindie

      If peace was in their heart, they would not be questioning the Church's authority on this. They would have remained quiet and continued on with their lives.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  4. bov

    gerald is a troll

    May 10, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  5. RTL

    Catholic church is a scam. Since when does a church treat people this way? I thought being catholic was about doing good upon others and helping others in need. This couple was in need and the church spit in their face.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  6. Robin Radel

    My son is the result of our second IVF, and I am so fortunate to have been counselled by a wonderfully forward thinking priest, who told me that God doesn't care how our child comes to be, only that he does.
    And every single day, I see the Grace of God in my son's face.
    Thank you for writing the article.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  7. Adelina

    The Church survived communism and materialism. She can survive persecutions from the Western perverts as well.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • rigel54

      Perverts?! That's not very Christian. I hate to remind you of unpleasant facts, but it seems there are far more perverts in the "Church" hierarchy than in the world at large. That's mostly because they've perverted the natural order of things, so they draw perverts into the fold.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • rigel54

      Oh, and I haven't checked tonight, but I don't think materialism has gone away yet. Don't hold your breath.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  8. bluesky

    My husband & I stopped worshipping in the Roman Catholic Church after a long series of incidents in our parish that displayed a complete lack of Christianity by our priests. One of the last straws for us personally were repeated sermons against birth control, when we were faced with being carriers of a recessive genetic condition that gave our offspring a 25% chance of a severely disabling and painful condition. Since then, we completed our family through adoptions and worship at an Episcopalian church. We followed our conscience and are happy in our decision. This isn't to tell people they should leave the Roman Catholic Church or that our way is the only correct one. But, don't be afraid to change – God works in many places and in many ways.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • Lindie

      There is only one way and one unity. Those where Christ's words. Human pride (the downfall of Lucifer) always stands on the way. Either by bad priests or the lay person who perceived they are right with God based on their own ideas or reasons.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  9. JesusFreaker

    Considering that the church likes little boys, you would think they would be all for in vetro.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
  10. Adelina

    Couples with medical conditions should adopt orphans. It's good for both mankind and planet. Mankind's some applications of technology actually screwed the well-being of many.

    May 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • rigel54

      Well, I can't argue in favor of the hydrogen bomb, but other than that the record seems pretty good. OK, PCBs didn't turn out well, but that's minor. What's your list?

      May 10, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Dorianmode

      Right. Tell THAT to the millions who will get IV antibiotics today in countless medical facilities the world over, thus preventing their deaths by sepsis. If YOU want to adopt, great. Adopt. Otherwise these parents need no advice from the likes of you.

      May 11, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  11. gerald

    My take. I hope these people leave the Church if they don't repent of the evil they have done.. It will be stronger without them.

    May 10, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Adelina

      Gerald, the Church has a point. No rebellion strengthens anyone for good. They should leave the Catholic Church and join another if they don't want to obey the Church.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • rigel54

      The American rebellion strengthened America and Americans, or do you disagree? English rebellions against the king made the England of today stronger. The "rebellion" of the 60s made America a fairer and better place to live. Rebellion and free thinking are good, and part of our civilization. The church is repression and stagnancy.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • Eileen

      One more time. Can't handle dissent? Everyone is either in complete agreement with the church on everything or they should leave or, according to some Catholics, they have already left by disagreeing. Well I have bad news for you. This is America, and in America we discuss things. We have disagreements, and most of us consider each other equals. Maybe it's the CC that should leave.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Shannon S

      gerald

      I pray for your soul. You are passing judgement and God is the only one that can do that. I may be Catholic but that is one reason why I don't like religion, they are hypocrites! Here you preach not to pass judgement but you and the Church pass judgement so quickly if you don't agree with our decisions or beliefs! I seriously pray for you soul and all the other Christian/Catholics that are hypocrites. May God bless you in a better way. I also pray for all the people that are torn between wanting a child and having to battle their church. I will recieve IVF if infertility drugs don't work. And I am proud to say that. I don't care if the Church likes it or not. Its not up to them but instead up to me and God!

      May 11, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  12. john316

    I keep wondering why people like the couple in this article stay with these abusive and intolerant religious organizations..
    It's like a masochist who just keeps wanting to be hit.......I see it in the news daily and can not figure it out. In an abusive relationship....the "abuser" always makes the victim to be the "bad" one....It's insanity....

    May 10, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • gerald

      I take it you have your own half baked personal theology. You would rather have people go off and join one of the more than 30,000 protestant denominations which have contradictory theology and were started by men. The CC is the ONLY Church that can trace back to Christ. That does not mean that it's members and leaders are perfect. NONE of us are. The Church is a hospital for sinners more than a hotel for saints. But it does mean that this is Christ's Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • rigel54

      Gerald, no church can truly trace itself back to Christ. Even the Biblical books purporting to portray his life were written 100 years after his death. None of the authors knew him, they were essentially writing what someone said about their great, great, great grandfather. What do you know of yours. The Bible was assembled hundreds of years later, to ensure the power of the religious hierarchy of the time.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • gerald

      enjoy your historical ignorance.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
  13. Mike

    This article is mis-representing the Catholic church's position on IVF.
    IVF would not be a problem IF only one egg were fertilized. The issue is in IVF multiple eggs are fertilized.
    This results in the Loss of Life from the fertilized eggs that not used. So the Church is against the Loss of Life from the discarded fertilized eggs, not IVF per se.

    I had a non-Christian friend go through IVF, two failed attempts. Then, they were confronted with what to do with the extra fertilized eggs after the second failure. Going in, they never considered that possibility. It was too expensive to try a third time. They didn't want to keep paying forever for freezing the last eggs. Letting them go was like killing their baby before it even had a chance.

    Like the wrong implant situation from the author of the article, IVF raises many issues. The church is right to caution people about it.

    May 10, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
  14. Felicitations

    I enjoyed this article and I understand totally how this couple feel. I'm Catholic and I don't think they should worry about what the church thinks. The little one is a child of God of course. I don't see any reason for further debate.

    May 10, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • gerald

      The Church would not say the child is not a child of God. But you speak in ignorance of IVF and why the Church teaches against it. The procedures of IVF create many embryos that are destroyed or permanently frozen. The Church cannot and should not ignore these poor souls. That is in part the reason. You should also if you are Catholic dig in to JP II's theology of the body. In it you will get a deep understanding of human sxuality and procreation and you might just learn something rather than remaining in igorance of what the religion you profess teaches and why..

      May 10, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • rigel54

      80% of fertilizations spontaneously abort naturally. The church's position of IVF and abortion are ridiculous. It matters little to the church, the point of the policies are making little Catholics. It's much easier that way than persuading others of the credibility of their program.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • gerald

      You clearly don't know the difference between chosen actions and disobedience and spontaneous natural actions. Granny is gonna die anyway so it should be okay to pull the trigger on the gun.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Shannon S

      @ gerald

      This couple is not denying the fact that destoying unused embroyos is moral infact they believe what they church believes. They even said they are trying to give each embroyo a chance. I think that is were the church needs to back off, if they see that a Catholic family is trying to use all the embroyos. Not all will survive just like not all pregnancies will survive. God bless you and I hope you and many other Catholics see what me and this family see, we just want to be parents.

      May 11, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  15. calico

    You're catholic, which means you're most likely anti abortion, yes? Do you understand that to do IVF a half dozen or more fertilized embryos are made. Only one will be your baby. The rest are discarded or left in a freezer forever. I'm just confused how religious people can be so gung-so in favor of fertility treaments yet want to ban abortion in others - does "life" begin at conception or not? How is an early abortion any different than the IVF client who terminates embryos? Your personal belief seems to be that you should do what you feel is right and best and not be subject to a stranger's decision - but isn't that what the anti abortion activists seek to do? even if it means a woman's life is in immediate danger?

    May 10, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  16. Sally

    You shouldn't worry what a religion has to say. Your life isn't to impress them. The only one you should worry about please Is the Lord Jesus. Not a religion.

    May 10, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • gerald

      Sally, should you worry about what Christ's Church has to say? "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church"...He built a Church. Can you identify it? It would seem that what it has to say would be very important Should those whom Paul spoke of in 2 tim 2:2 "what you have heard from us pass on to trustable men who will tell others" have been of concern for those whom they were teaching. You need to read your bible without your pre-concieved half baked protestant theology so that you don't come up with false dichotomies like you have. "He who hears you hears me" Christ said to his Church. Better listen.

      May 10, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      yes– we should worry about pleasing the lord jesus 'cause if we pi-ss him off he's going to burn our a$$es in hell for billions and billions of eons (and there is no going insane in hell– it's all part of the torture jesus our lord has created for the heathen). I just can't wait to go to heaven and enjoy a good laugh with jesus as we watch the non-believers burning for eternity. I wonder if god lets jesus control the thermostat.

      May 10, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • rigel54

      Gerald, I would have to answer that no reasonable person could identify the church of Peter in this world, and it is certainly not the Catholic one. A couple of millennia have so distorted it that it is not recognizable. It is about power and the preservation of power. It is driving the world to disaster through overpopulation, and selling out humanity for its own gains.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • gerald

      Rigel54, if you think that CC teaching got distoted over time you are a pretty lousy hisotrian and have not read the post apostolic Christians of the 1st. 2nd and 3rd centuries. Their views are consitently like the CC of today. Many protestants have read them and come to that conclusion and therefore that the CC is the Church that Christ founded. Many like you have too distorted a view of his teachings and history and are full of pride at your own personal understandings. Prv of course tells us "trust not in your own understanding".

      May 10, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • gerald

      By the way, the world is not nearly as overpopulated as you would think. Every man woman and child could comfortably fit in the state of texas. Fact. God provides.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • rigel54

      Protestant Christianity is just another mythology, albeit a less dogmatic one and less of a threat to the future of mankind. There are so many flavors one may chose a moderate one, more like a bad cold of the intellect than rabies.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • rigel54

      Gerald: But they would die within days, if not hours. Fishing stocks have collapsed around the world. Most of the world lives in poverty. Our consumption has screwed up the climate. Most of the world's larger animal species are endangered, if not already extinct. Every country with a birth rate higher than it's economic growth rate faces continual decline in living standards. To an extent technology, not god, has provided. But there are limits.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • gerald

      The problem is not population. The problem is we probably are aborting and contracepting those who have solutions to those problems. The problem is that we are aborting and contracepting out of existence those who provide the young work force to make those economies grow. Europe is case and point. They have to import Muslems who are open to life to support their sagging economies.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • rigel54

      That's pretty funny Gerald. Europe today is arguably the most enlightened, peaceful, prosperous, and pleasant places in the history of mankind. It's economy is in fair shape, we are after all in a global recession. There's no sign abortion has repressed anyone's inventiveness, indeed areas of great population growth are notable for their lack of innovation. China has low pop growth and high abortion, and its economy is a raging tiger. Cheap labor does prop up economic expansion, but at the expense of the people, who suffer from eroding standards of living. Ultimately it will lead to a series of collapses, one of which we have just seen. Moving to stable growth will be delicate, but better. Earth would be a paradise with 5 billion fewer people.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  17. Mireya

    Carolyn and Sean I sure love your family picture and can't wait to see your next family picture plus two more babies. We faced the difficult decision of IVF or adoption. We opted for the second one instead. We completed our family with a brother and sister from my home country. Our kids look so much like us and we love our kids unconditionally. Our family members have embraced our kids and support our kids all the day. I am sure God supports our decision to adopt as much as God is supporting your personal decision. Your selfless decision to give a beautiful baby boy to his biological parents after a difficult finding has blessed your family with two more family members that are soon to join the five of you. I am so very HAPPY for you. Don't let a few ruin your time of celebration. I encourage you to join a church that supports your family without judgement.

    May 10, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  18. lwilrey

    Come to the Methodist Church, we will welcome your whole family.

    May 10, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Spiffy

      I doubt that that is the point of this article.

      May 10, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Toby

      ...said the snake to the rat.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
  19. solace

    I appreciate the article and the perspective of the writer (and his wife). I recall their story and feel they acted with great courage and spirit in their choices. I am disappointed that their diocese chose to send out their press release (or position statement) when they did- how insensitive! I am a Catholic, but I must say that I disagree with the church's teaching on IVF. I believe that such decisions are really between the individual (conscience) and their God (not the church- the hierarchy of which is made up of other humans and in this regard subject the the same frailty as we ALL share).

    May 10, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • gradchica

      One must always form one's conscience–"conscience" is not simply "what I feel is best for me". The only way to form a conscience correctly without worry that emotion, sentiment, and personal desire are clouding one's judgment is to use an external source of truth and morality–aka the Church. Simply using "me and my Bible" or "me and my conscience" boils down to "I will find a way to justify my own desires". Funny how these "tough decisions" on which we should rely on our consciences often seem to be resolved in our own favor–giving us the thing we wanted in the first place–when we don't strive to conform ourselves to an outside moral norm that challenges our selfish human nature.

      May 10, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • rigel54

      Grandchica's assertion that an external source of "truth" is necessary for forming a conscience is absurd, in fact quite the reverse is true. Apart from objective facts truth is subjective. It may reasonably be founded on more or less universal principles such as respect for human life, but the tormented reasonings of the church, founded on a mythical history, don't help. Indeed, the simple reasoning of an average, decent human being are generally morally superior.

      May 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • Andrew

      Gradchica, your response doesn't necessarily reveal your religious alliances, but I paused when you said 'the only way to form a conscience is to seek an external source of truth and morality – AKA the church'. I agree with every word you said before that there hyphen. No system can observe itself objectively, at least not in all cases. But why is the only external source of truth and morality 'the church'? Which church? Belief systems vary from one to the next. Who's truth is the truthiest? Who's morality is the most moral? These fine tuned policies from 'the church' eventually boil down to human interpretation – AKA fallible interpretation – of a book. At some point morality becomes a guessing game... at which point you really may just as well do whatever you please, because most people will find SOMEONE to validate their preconceptions. Of course, I guess none of this matters since the author apparently only cares about the Catholic opinion.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • Lindie

      On the comment that Truth is subjective. How so? The truth is the truth. You and I might not always know it, but by its true nature it (truth)defines itself. Humans are all fallible. Is that truth?
      As to Andrew's question, where do you find the truth? Who has the truth. Pilate stated the same to Jesus to which he answered he was the Truth and those who belong to him heard him. Now, either you believe this man or you don't. The fact that you cannot discern this statement does not mean it was a lie.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • rigel54

      Lindie, your post is a monument to rambling circular reasoning. Truth is truth, by its true nature true things are true. Your typed much, and said nothing. Things that are factually and demonstrably true (scientific truths) can be proven. Gravity is real and consistent on Earth. Fire consumes wood. Less obvious things can be demonstrated experimentally. Anything else is opinion, or based on values. Values are not true or false. Some are reasonable, respect for sentient life. Some may be argued, such as "What is sentient life?" 100 years after he (Jesus) supposedly died, someone wrote that somebody (Jesus) said he was truth. Why should we believe the story? Why should we believe Jesus? What evidence is there of the claims of these various much edited storytellers? These are legitimate questions, and the answers are not convincing.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  20. Jesus of Nazareth

    The churches position on any number of subjects could be the least important thoughts in the entire history of mankind. I cannot stress with enough emphasis how unimportant the opinions of the church are. It is such a colossal waste of time, money, people, and energy to worry more than a millisecond about the churches opinion on anything. And by anything, I mean everything. If you learn one thing today, this should be it.

    May 10, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • gerald

      Funny how unimportant it is yet look at the number of opinions expressed on this board about it. 19 pages and counting by people who think it is important. Whether it be important to support or important to oppose. No what is really irrelevant is your opinion.

      May 10, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • rigel54

      Opinions do not have to be intelligent or constructive to be important. Believers may be simple-minded or evil, but if they believe the opinions have power. This obvious fact is at the heart of all religions, which are pretty universally ridiculous. The churches opinions matter, though they are stupid and harmful.

      May 10, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • gerald

      riigel,

      Well we know that somebody's opinion is stupid and harmful. Seems to me alot of people have opinions about the Church and what ti teaches. Most of them distort what it teaches and are ignorant. My guess is your view of it is twisted. So it would seem your position is stupid and harmful. Especially if there is a hell (and there is) and you opinion works toward getting people there (and it does).

      May 10, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • rigel54

      Gerald: Oh, pshaw! Hell? You are an embarrassment to mankind in your peasant-like simple mindedness. We may never get off this planet!

      May 10, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • Eileen

      Oh, yes, Gerald. Everyone is ignorant and going to hell except you. Must be great to be sooo perfect and sooo smart and sooo important!

      May 10, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • LiberateUs

      riigel,

      You're an embarrassment to humanity. Your pride is poisoning your mind into thinking that Atheism is the "right" philosophy. Reply to this post, but only if you are able to figure out how to be a "civilized" atheist.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • gerald

      Eileen,

      I don't know everything. I know my Catholic faith better than most and better than you and others who try to tell me what the Church teaches. You should at least be able to admit that. But you have to strike out like a little girl.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • gerald

      By the way in no way do I think I am perfect. Far from it.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • rigel54

      OK, Liberatus. If I understand correctly, I'm an embarrassment because I'm proud and I think I'm right. So the way to not be embarrassed is to be ashamed and believe that I must be wrong. That would make you and Gerald pretty embarrassing as well. It's also part of a common technique of repressive philosophies to cut off free thinking and personal independence. I am proud of what man has accomplished, ashamed of some of his harmful and misguided actions (which include organized religion), and have developed my own beliefs based on basic human principles. For all your pretence, you and Gerald seem pretty arrogant.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.