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. HH

    PLEASE stop shoving adoption at everyone. It is not the responsibility of infertile couples to do this. I'm an adoptee, which is why I don't want to adopt, and this does not make me a bad person. I despise nosy social workers and preachy family court judges, and don't want to get back into that system again. Furthermore...adoption can cost more than fertility treatments, and the requirements disallow many worthy couples. If it's so great then why doesn't everyone "have" to adopt?

    May 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Person

      Agreed HH.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  2. CM

    Germain, inform me if you are not brainwashed!

    May 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Dont hold your breath.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  3. Kathy

    From statistics I see that most practicing Catholics disagree with church doctrine on some issues – specifically I am speaking of birth control. I am a practicing Catholic who does not feel I have to leave my religion just because I have disagreements with some of its doctrine. I don't agree with everything my political party, labor union, etc. professes either. Of course the children created with IVF are no less perfect or imperfect for that matter than any other child. This is too ridiculous to even argue. The topic I wish to discuss is overpopulation. Does anyone even care that we are already doomed because of overpopulation? Do we really need to take such extraordinary measures to create more people? Now, if an infertile couple would like a couple of children via IVF – absolutely fine. To expand a family via IVF or the good old-fashioned way – to like 4 or 5 children – now, to me, this is immoral. Is it Christian to use way more than your fair share of the good earth's resources?? I do think people in general of any religion and the Catholic Church specifically need to wake up to the reality that we need to stop this rampant overpopulation. I care about the Earth and I care about providing for the two beautiful children I have (providing for them now, and allowing them to inherit an Earth still worth living in). To me, this is being a good Christian.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Jay

      Great post! Love your use of the term "extraordinary measures." Too few people understand what that means and implies.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Jules633

      How are we doomed? I thought that the death of Jesus Christ ultimately ensured that we were saved? Since you post as a believer, I ask you, do you really think that God's plan is going to be derailed becuase people are having too many babies?

      May 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  4. Allan

    Purely from a genetic perspective, an IVF child would be less perfect than a normally conceived child for a very simple and rational reason. It all but impossible to ensure that the sperm which fertilizes the egg to be the most genetically sound example. In normal fertilization, the BEST sperm fertilizes the egg so anything less than that is less perfect. For once, science and religion might agree.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • HH

      This is false. The sperm are carefully "washed" and screened.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  5. Eric

    One of my complaints about the Catholic Church is that they DO NOT DO ENOUGH TO DISCOURAGE IN VITRO FERTILIZATION. Arguing against embryonic stem cell research is like closing the barn door after the horses have run. The source of these embryos is an industry pandering to people's selfish desire to create genetic replicas of themselves. There is not a shortage of children needing care and love in this world. The idea that more need to be created, with some killed, because the existing children somehow aren't as worthy of that care and love is flatly selfish. No amount of pleading about the unfairness of it can take that away, nor can pointing out other wrongs in an attempt to make IVF look right. Yes, you have the "right" to IVF. We all have the right to sin in a wide variety of ways, but that doesn't make the sins any less grievous, and it doesn't lessen the damage they do to us. The fact that someone doesn't even recognize the damage of indulging in this selfishness shows the degree to which that damage has been done. A key value of the Catholic Church (and most other organized religions) is telling us things we don't want to hear and desperately wish weren't true.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      “Genetic replicas of themselves”? Do you know how this stuff works? Are you forming these opinions yourself or are you pandering the prattle you got from Rush Limbaugh and the 700 Club?

      May 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Jay

      Really interesting point, that the Church might not do enough to discourage IVF. I think individual pastors tend to shy away from the subject because they don't feel comfortable telling married couples what they should and shouldn't do in the bedroom or at the doctor's office. But lack of guidance and education BEFORE couples make the choice to pursue IVF clearly leads to issues down the road.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  6. Biomedical researcher

    You made a choice under the influence of God, and you have been doing the right thing. Those that cannot conceive are like those who are dying of trama on the surgical table – they are both in desperate need of forefront medical advancements (which is also a part of God's plan) to make sure life can be extended. Wanting a biological child is basic animal instinct, which happens before human's adoptation of religion. If stem cell research did not start with leftover human embryos, there will not be induced pluripotent stem cells (from patient skin, does not involve killing human embryos) being developed. Without stem cell reseach, there will not be advancements in identifying new fertility treatments so we may one day reduce the need for creating embryos in the lab. If fertility treatment is playing god, so are trama surgeons, antibiotics and vaccinations.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  7. Patrick

    The only thing the catholic church isn't out of touch with is little boys.

    How do faithful catholics stay that way? The church is full of hypocracy. Stop molesting children and covering up their actions and maybe people will begin to care what you actually "believe".

    May 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Jay

      The child molestors were not true followers of Christ, just like Osama bin Laden didn't represent Islam. I"m ashamed of the greater Catholic Church for the way it handled the abuse scandal but that doesn't stop me from finding truth, beauty and love in my own parish, nor does it stop me from being proud of my pastor who is a man of God.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Catholic

      Patrick, did you know that some mailmen are child molesters? Do you refuse to have your mail delivered than to prove your moral high ground? Molesters are everywhere, not just in churches. And they are not true Catholics.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Stevie7

      So how sinful does one have to be to not be a "true" Catholic? Where's the line and who draws it? And if they aren't a "true" Catholic, then why weren't these priests and the bishops and cardinals who knowingly moved them around to different parishes so that they could prey on more innocent children while paying hush money to current victims being excommunicated?

      When one is present with evil in one's own house, the responsible thing is to recognize it, to see what caused it, and do something about it – not just sweep it under the rug. It seems that the entire catholic community is doing this – deflecting. I hear things like 'oh, that's satan's work, the church is pure and good'. Minimizing and excusing only makes it worse in the eyes of non-Catholics.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Catholic

      I agree. It should have been recognized and dealt with by removing those priests from the church and the community, off to a prison. There was no intent to minimize and excuse those actions. I was merely responding to Patrick's implication that the Catholic church alone contains molesters.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  8. Ann

    I call folks like this "cafeteria catholics." Everything is supposed to go by their faith – oh, except when it doesn't suit them. Then they go ahead and do what they want. (Similar to catholics who remarry in the church after having 3 kids in their first marriage, then gettingi it "annulled.")

    So, the church is discriminating against you because of a medical problem, huh? Let's see – who gave you that medical problem? If you believe in God (which I don't, not that it's relevant), then you should accept that your medical condition was God's will. Maybe he didn't want you to have kids. Deal with it.

    Personally, I'm fine with IVF. It's the catholic church that drives me nuts. Get in line, folks, they discriminate against a lot of people far worse than they do you.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  9. The Jackdaw

    Apparently Jesus is all about science when it means making more Catholics to help fill the coffers.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  10. David R

    I don't understand the Church's objection. If the couple had conjugal relations at the same time the IVF was done and the end result is the same, why should they care? Seems to me the way to get around this loophole is just to have a shtup and everything tuns out the same way in the end with a happy bouncing baby. What's the problem?

    May 10, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  11. one voice

    stop trying to justify via your articulate argumentative voice...you are forgiven if you in your heart are repentive....you could not conceive, Jesus had to die, he was in agony over dying but it was his lot in life (thank God for us)...Just because we can do it doesn't mean we should...the church did try a protect you and your family from the worst IVF mistake on record, but you choose it anyways.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  12. gman21

    Thank God, bacause of Catholic Church and John Paul II, we still have moral values in the world. Sadlt, all other religions and churches sold morality for money. The teachings and events in the Bible are holding true for the past 2000 years. Unfortunately, we choose to ignore it. If you read the what Mother Mary said in Fatima, you will get it.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Yes, Catholicism is the master of morality. There is no chance that morality could exist without it! All humans are amoral and pure evil without the church! Pure stupid.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Stevie7

      If the Catholic Church isn't selling out for money, then what was all of the huge settlements in various abuse lawsuits about if not for hush money to preserve a "moral" image?

      May 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • CNN_please_post_my_comment_3rd_try

      Please provide proof. Anyone can claim anything without backing it up. There are a lot of "ifs" in your allegations.

      May 11, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  13. Kaybird

    I was blessed with a very wonderful daughter, through IVF. While most people supported our decision to pursue IVF, I did have one person tell me I was selfish, because I chose not to adopt. However, my insurance covered IVF, where as adoption would have cost thousands of dollars, out of pocket. I think people who think we should adopt instead of seeking conception, through IVF, should not speak unless they have walked in my shoes.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm |

  14. You want a child to love...and there are children in this county and world without love, without parents...is your DNA really so special that it MUST be pushed out into society's petri dish? Love matters, not genetics.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • HH

      Do YOU have kids? Are they adopted? I'm an adoptee, which is why I don't want to adopt. This does not make me a bad person. Stop shoving adoption at everyone.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Ms.W

      No one is FORCING anyone to adopt. But the bible teaches that pure religion is to take care of the orphans and widows in their distress... (James 1:27) I dont see how anyone who claims to be a Christian and is infertile can say "adoption just isnt for us". And yes I have two adopted children and I am not infertile.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • HH

      MSW, perhaps you are unaware that some people in infertility therapy were adopted, and that's why they don't want to adopt. I despise the system, never want to deal with it again, and I don't want someone else's children. That does not make me a bad person. I must ask if YOU have adopted children, and/or why you think adoption is the sole responsibility of the infertile.

      May 11, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Ms.W

      Like I stated in my previous post, I have no fertility issues and have adopted two children. SO obviously I do not think it is the sole responsibility of infertile persons to adopt children. God bless you HH.

      May 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  15. Blaqb0x

    They already had 2 kids and wanted to conceive more? Why not adopt? Adopting would have spared them this whole mess.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • HH

      Sigh....there is nothing wrong with wanting your own children, and adoption can cost as much, or more, than infertility therapy.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • anon

      If you believe adoption is an easy, mess free way to go, you've obviously never tried to adopt a child.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Ms.W

      @HH.. that is an untrue statement! Adoption is virtually free if you adopt from the foster care system. Even private adoptions are equal to or less than the cost of IVF. Please dont speak on things you have no experience with.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Person

      Wow – my husband was infertile and we looked into adoption and opted for IVF. The state we were in basically wanted us to foster children for awhile before we would be allowed to adopt. Honestly, no, I didn't want to play long-term babysiter and then have to give these children back. We looked into private adoption, through the US and overseas, and found out we'd have to sell our house to afford it.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • HH

      It is ignorant to assume that I don't know what I'm talking about, and presumptuous to tell someone else not to speak. I do know the costs of IVF, because I've done it. It was ignorant to assume that I know nothing of foster care. I was adopted out of it, which is why I don't want to adopt. It's a horrid system. I was taken from good parents (CPS can remove a child for just about any reason they see fit) and given to horribly abusive people. It's ignorant to assume that I don't understand this. There ARE costs involved, and I do not want to adopt a child who has another family that they remember and would rather be with. It was ignorant to assume I don't know conventional adoption costs.....a round of IVF costs me 11K. I was quote fees from 14-25K by several different agencies for both domestic and international adoption. Again, I hate the adoption system, and don't want to get back into it. I want my own children, not someone else's, and this does not make me a bad person. It's ignorant to assume, based on your own notions, that other people "don't understand" adoption or how it works.

      May 11, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • BWH

      Therefore, Blaqbox and Ms.W are ignorant and presumptous.

      May 12, 2011 at 7:09 am |
    • Ms.W

      What a disservice you are doing to the waiting children by spouting out these inaccurate statements. Adoption from foster care is literally free, and regardless of adoption through the foster care system or through a private adoption agency, whether you paid $0 dollars or $20,000 dollars, you receive a $13000 tax credit per adopted child. There are also MANY non profit organizations that give grants to cover adoption fees. =)

      I understand why you have a negative view of adoption given the sitation you described. I am so sorry that you went through that.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  16. turdhead

    The Catholic Church has nothing to do with Christianity. They spend more time worshipping the Virgin Mary (who had more kids by the way) than they do worshipping the Lord.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Gabrielle

      Catholics do not worship the Virgin Mary, only God is deserving of worhsip but she is given a place of honor as the mother of Jesus. When you pray to the Virgin Mary, you are asking her to intercede for you. Big difference.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • turdhead

      Why not just pray straight to the Lord? I'm honestly asking and not trying to be a smart@ss.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • gman21

      Proud to be one of her children.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Catholic

      @turdhead. If you are honestly asking, please talk to a priest. As much as I may know, a priest would be able to best answer your questions. Again, if you are honestly asking...

      May 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Gabrielle

      "Why not pray straight to the Lord?"

      Here's a very quick answer from catholic.com...Obviously, one could go into much more detail, and I would encourage you to do some more research if you are honestly interested. Catholic.com and EWTN.com are great resources.

      "The answer is: "Of course one should pray directly to Jesus!" But that does not mean it is not also a good thing to ask others to pray for one as well. Ultimately, the "go-directly-to-Jesus" objection boomerangs back on the one who makes it: Why should we ask any Christian, in heaven or on earth, to pray for us when we can ask Jesus directly? If the mere fact that we can go straight to Jesus proved that we should ask no Christian in heaven to pray for us then it would also prove that we should ask no Christian on earth to pray for us.

      Praying for each other is simply part of what Christians do. As we saw, in 1 Timothy 2:1–4, Paul strongly encouraged Christians to intercede for many different things, and that passage is by no means unique in his writings. Elsewhere Paul directly asks others to pray for him (Rom. 15:30–32, Eph. 6:18–20, Col. 4:3, 1 Thess. 5:25, 2 Thess. 3:1), and he assured them that he was praying for them as well (2 Thess. 1:11). Most fundamentally, Jesus himself required us to pray for others, and not only for those who asked us to do so (Matt. 5:44). "

      May 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Artist


      The Catholic Church has nothing to do with Christianity. They spend more time worshipping the Virgin Mary (who had more kids by the way) than they do worshipping the Lord.
      Being Joseph was not the father of jesus and his father is unknown, I have to wonder if her other children were the actual sons of joseph? She has to be the most famous cheater of all time. lol

      May 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  17. -annonymous

    So there was a "mix up" at the lab and this couple ended up with the wrong embryo implanted into the wife (I guess 2 healthy children were not good enough for them). Yeah so maybe this is why the Catholic Church doesn't think IVF is a good idea. People have lost their minds. If you can't get pregnant the old fashioned way that means you shouldn't be having children. Mother nature knows best people. Get over yourselves.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Jacob

      Com-on man. me and my wife had trouble. so because of that u really think that we should not do ivf?
      r u human or just an ignorant person who is bored on these chats and just wants to talk without properly thinking like most of sociality?
      Its so stupid and funny because if you had the same issue, i dont think u would be saying what you are. just do me a fovor and take a couple of minutes out and think that you and your wife or husband who would make the best parents to a child couldn't conceive naturally. you really think you would say what you said? you really would not want your own children with scientific help? comon i think we know the answer to this.
      besides alot of catholic church were man-made
      oh no! this cant be true!
      welcome to earth then and you can wake up from your fantasy world.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • graciegrrl

      What you're not considering is that a majority of the fertility issues are not because of "mismatched DNA issues so there shouldn't be procreation between that couple" but rather due to hormone-mimicking pesticides, synthetic hormones, soy (phytoestrogens), etc – all MAN MADE issues that are making us sterile. So what then, just deal with it? No thanks – that's what science is for – to undo what is being done to us without our permission.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • IVF Father!

      Seriously, pull your head out of your rear end before you suffocate! You (nor does anyone else) have the right to tell anyone whether they can or cannot have children. It is the church that is missing out in that they are denying members the opportunity to add to their families and congregations. It is no wonder that the Catholic church has lost so many members.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Mother Nature knows best? Really? So the next time you have an infection you'll just let your body try to fight it off instead of taking antibiotics, right? Maybe we should let Mother Nature do some more population control.

      You can't have your cake and eat it too

      May 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • DrugFree

      You can't seriously think *everyone* takes antibiotics for an infection??? Our immune systems can do wonders you know.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Stevie7

      I don't think everyone takes an antibiotic for every infections. But for bad infections, especially in the old and very young, they can be very life saving. Antibiotics have saved countless millions of lives since their initial discovery.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • DrugFree

      True. They have saved lives. So I guess I don't understand your initial response to "-annonymous".
      Which statements signify having cake and eating it?

      With regards to Mother Nature, some natural forest fires are good for the environment. Even scientists agree with this fact.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  18. ummyeah

    I find the Catholic Church to be the ones "morally unacceptable"

    May 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  19. bg in oregon

    Well …..here we are again, dealing with people that have imaginary friends.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  20. Daniel

    Christianity is a faith based on self sacrifice and obedience. When faced with crucifixion Jesus didn't respond by saying no God this isn't fair im going to do it my way. He said please let it be different but ultimately let it be according to your will (im paraphrasing obviously). You can argue that IVF is not morally wrong but don't criticize the church for actually upholding the faith and sticking to the principles of Christianity. I think many people turn away from the church because their lifestyles and actions go against the teachings of Jesus and the Catholic church does not budge on issues to satisfy the modern society.

    And to those who want to refer to the priests who molested kids or all the other evil things people of faith have done, their actions have nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with their own hearts and the evil they let enter their lives. You have a personal responsibility to your relationship with God and what others do who claim Christ has no effect on the principles of the faith and doesn't make a religion lesser or greater. The Catholic church provides people with guidelines for life that is based on 2000 years of studying the Christian faith and texts. But ultimately it is between you and God when you die so you can follow the teachings or not. I do thank this couple for having the child that wasn't theirs though. They could have aborted like others would have done and I'm inspired by their story of life but wish they could see that they wouldn't have been in that situation if they had taken up their cross and gave the blessing of a home to an orphan.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Jay

      Well said.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Gabrielle

      Agree with you 100%.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • heidi

      I agree with Daniel. Besides, the Church cannot accept IVF and condemn abortion without being hypocrites.
      Here is an arguement that both religous and non-religous people can agree with: Weither by God's will or not mother nature must create those that cannot create new life. Human's already over populate. This family might want a large family, but they are being selfish. They are not thinking in the longer term in regard to their grandchildren and so on. These parents should consider themselves lucky for being able to have produced any children naturally and if they want a larger family adopt; it is the truly moral thing to do.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Dad

      Religion, in the US, is a choice. If you don't agree with the laws of the church, leave. People today love to criticize a church when it doesn't fit their lifestyle or choices. If a church were to change every time a member didn't like a certain aspect, it would not be a church, it would be a fad. Personally, I prefer a church that sticks to its values.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Reality


      You noted: "Christianity is a faith based on self sacrifice and obedience. When faced with crucifixion Jesus didn't respond by saying no God this isn't fair im going to do it my way. He said please let it be different but ultimately let it be according to your will (im paraphrasing obviously).

      Actually, Christianity is based on the embellishment and "mythicized" life of a simple preacher man aka Jesus. For example based on many contemporay and thorough reviews of said crucifixion, there was no trial for Jesus. The following update of the Apostles' Creed is summarizes said studies:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated and based on the studies of NT historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

      I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


      May 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Matt

      The Church takes a stance and then decides to judge us based on outdated morals. The Church teaches us that the only way to have a child is within marriage and the main duty of a married couple is to have children. But then couples are faced with not being able to have children because the Church thinks that the current medical procedures are immoral or wrong. I'm sorry but I have seen the Church change it's mind too many times to sit and wait for them or science to fix what is broken. In my heart and in my mind, IVF was the right course for my family and for Sean's. I would never, ever lay judgement on those that go that route. Or for that matter, those that have children out of wedlock due to mistakes or poverty or whatever. It is not our right or the Church's to make judgements... guidance yes, but to outright judge what we or Sean has done as wrong, goes against the teachings of Jesus Christ. As it has been shown over the history of the Church, they are human and that are not without sin, so I don't see it as their right to cast the 1st stone per se...

      I'll let my judgement be made by the only one capable of doing so, when my time here is done. Until then, I will never ask forgiveness for using IVF to have my family...

      May 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Ted Stryker

      Nice one Daniel. You are truly, ridiculously blinkered.

      Your arguement means that people with any illness or disability should be left to suffer and die under the maxim 'God's Will'. Tough luck if you have diabetes or malaria, sorry if you were born with a heart condition or if you were in a car crash. Clearly God wants you to take it like a man and suck it up.

      That's not God's Will, he's the one who gave us doctors and surgeons and scientists. The Church has to learn to keep up with God's creation, us.

      And as for trying to wash the sin of child molestation off the church's hands, well the problem for many of us is that they covered it up. They hid a massive evil for the sake of their reputation.

      I believe that's the sin of pride...

      May 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Ginny

      There IS A PROBLEM with church officials who cover for, aid and abet, (move to another parish/diocese) priests who are molesting children. This has happened time and again.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Sadie

      Aren't supposed to procreate? This is a medical condition just like any other. Do you not take medicine for anything? If someone were having a heart attack, would you say "You need to accept God's will that this is your time to die." Your premise is insane.

      So the church isn't willing to let life be created by science, but they are perfectly happy for science to keep them alive. The church is opposed to removing people from feeding tubes, despite the fact that this is a direct attempt by man to prolong a life that God clearly intended to end. Yet when the same is done to create life, they overlook the fact that loving couples have a natural desire to create a life together.

      We did IVF, every embryo we created was given the chance to live, and we have a beautiful son because of it. And I march up to communion each Sunday with zero guilt. God gave us this beautufil soul to love and cherish.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
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About this blog

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.