Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This Just In: You're All Going to Hell

Wooo boy! I happened across this tidy little gem recently - don't ask me how. But it is chock-full of handy advice for all you dastardly sinners out there doing IVF, courtesy of "Father Tad".

Here are a few for your enjoyment:

Even if IVF were done without making any extra embryos at all, this way of making babies would still be morally objectionable, because the procedure strikes at the very core and meaning of marital sexuality. It substitutes an act of laboratory manipulation for an act of bodily union between spouses. It turns procreation into production. IVF is really the flip-side of contraception: rather than trying to have sex without babies, we try to have babies without sex.

Now, I'm a kid who grew up Catholic, was confirmed Catholic, and am now a "recovering" Catholic. So believe me when I tell you that I spit my coffee half way across the room when I read this. Why? They spent EVERY OPPORTUNITY IN THE WORLD telling us how bad, bad, bad, sex was. Icky, icky, icky sex. Hell, hell, hell. Now, you really need to have it. Father Tad, what if I have sex with my wife, hot, steamy "bodily union" on the lab table and then just have the good doc sneak a little catheter up there and make an embryo transfer? Would that be ok?

There's more...

Regardless of how a baby comes into the world, whether by IVF, whether by adultery, by pre-marital sex, or even by cloning, that baby is always a gift and a blessing.

Why not just include rape, incest, and erector set fertilization?

In other words, babies, even when very much desired, should not be brought into the world by making use of disordered means such as adultery, pre-marital sex, IVF, or cloning. They should be brought into the world only within that intimate love-giving moment of the marital embrace.

I can't help but ask how Fr. Ted feels about how Jesus was brought into the world?

Children are entitled to come into being as the fruit of a singular parental love that is uniquely manifested in the spousal moment of bodily surrender to each other. Through the incredibly rich language of the parents' bodies, through their body to body contact, the new body of their child is engendered. In their one-flesh union, they enflesh new life. That intimate bodily embrace is a sacred action that only spouses may share, and it represents the unique and privileged locus

There is no way to describe the above as anything other than Catholic pornography. I'm sweating!

Folks at the Vatican really need to get out more.


JoAnna said...

Can you show me where in the article it says anything about anybody (a) going to hell or (b) sex being 'icky'?

I've read through the entire article, and it seems to be saying exactly the opposite.

Bubso said...

I think he was saying that he was always taught that sex was icky growing up Catholic. And I imagine the Hell thing is inferred... if you're going to compare IVF to adultery that's pretty self explanatory. Well to me anyway.

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Interesting interpretation. Yep.

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

May I ask: If you are a "recovering Catholic" then why can't you just move on? Why do you care what the Church says about heaven or hell or sin? I don't spend my time worrying about Hindu dictates, for example.

Thanks. :)

offsprung said...

Leila - thanks for your thoughts!

Like my wife would say, God has a way of teaching you unique lessons. Like, say, what if one of your eight children couldn't have biological kids? Would you sit back and think, "Well gosh golly, God doesn't think they're fit to be biological parents?" Worse yet, what if they decided to go through IVF? Do you think they would be the same as adulterers?

Ironically, our doc was Catholic.

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Hi, offsprung!

I'm not surprised that your doc was Catholic. Lots of Catholic docs don't know or care what the Church teaches. Politicians, too, ha ha. Oh, and priests! :)

If one of my kids couldn't conceive, I would hope they would consult a Creighton practitioner and hopefully Dr. Hilgers or one of his protege surgeons. They do great work, all in the framework of Catholic ethics, and they have a higher success rate than IVF. If that still did not work for them, I am a huge adoption proponent. A lot of my friends have adopted, either due to infertility or because, even when fertile, they wanted to give a needy child a home.

If my kids decided to go through IVF, I would be heartbroken, and I would do what I could to explain why it is in no one's best interest. I would still love them, and their children, of course! But yes, it is a serious sin. If they committed adultery, that is a serious sin as well. Pre-marital sex is as well. So is contraception. Not all of the same degree, but still serious. (A couple of these sins I've committed myself!)

You may not agree with it, but I have seen the consistency of Catholic ethics, and I fully understand and subscribe to it. It doesn't make sense in this culture, but it still is beautiful when seen in its fullness and purpose. It's not meant to punish people.... and that's a whole other post.

God bless!

offsprung said...

I'd like to think I'm fairly open minded, but find me a conservative Catholic who can't have biological children who would promote understanding the magic of menstrual cycles as a good plan and I'll stand on my head and say five thousand hail Mary's. Your perspective is jaded because of your ability to procreate like good old Father Tad wants us all to - and while I totally believe you believe what you're saying, I just don't respect it one bit. But thanks for sharing, now everyone suffering from infertility and all Mexicans know to stay the hell away from Arizona.

Lauren @ Magnify the Lord with Me said...

I'm a conservative Catholic who can't have biological children and I HIGHLY promote the "magic of menstrual cycles as a good plan" so get started on those Hail Mary's!!!!! Glory to God!!!

We know SO much about our infertility due to charting my cycle and are in the beginning process of working with Dr. Hilgers, as Leila noted above. But in the mean time, we just adopted our first baby and today she is ONE MONTH OLD! I'm such a proud Mama!

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Offsprung, Lauren is one of many Catholic infertile ladies on my blog roll. I started blogging because of the faith and strength of the Catholic IF bloggers. They drew me in, even though I am not infertile. In the year since I started reading their blogs, many of them are now parenting (adoption and/or pregnancy due to NaPro Technology or RE intervention other than ART), and some are still waiting. All are/were desiring children from the bottom of their hearts and souls.

As for Arizona: NaPro and Creighton are now here, due to some great Catholic doctors and an amazing bishop. It's very exciting. It's hard to find anyone but faithful Catholic doctors who want to train for and do the surgeries, because ART is considered standard "treatment" now (even though it treats no underlying infertility problems).

Unlike ART, the NaPro way actually takes time... to find the underlying pathologies, and then to treat them, not just bypass them. So, a surgeon must take more time to heal a woman (or man) while also making much less money than an IVF provider would. It is a labor of love, but the results are amazing!

For the health of the patients, and the higher success rates, it's worth it. Not to mention that there are no ethical problems, either. How is that so bad?

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

PS: Now that Lauren posted, you have to stand on your head and say five thousand Hail Marys! :)

Ann - Building a Nest said...

Count me in the same boat as Lauren. Conservative. Catholic. I can conceive biological children, however, but so far my body terminates the pregnancies. Do I still count? I hope so! (My husband as well, so add 2 of us in that mix).

I am trying to figure out why the “magic of the menstrual cycle” is such a struggle with you or others since it is the very thing most such naysayers try to artificially displace with hormone birth control when they want to STOP conception (or implantation). It would then seem a logical place to start when one is looking at trying to conceive conception.

I hope you are a man of your word and have started those Hail Marys!

Bea said...

I was going to leave this comment before I realised it had been flagged by someone out there, and now I'm not sure I want to get into a whole debate, but I might as well go ahead...

Firstly, I hope everyone realises that adoption is not always an option, and that doctors base their recommendations on a great many scientifically-sound studies concerning the success rates and health risks of all available fertility treatments (including non-IVF treatments) after performing thorough fertility workups for each, individual couple.

Now. Having studied all this before over the course of a master's degree, my summary is this: you're right, the Catholic philosophy makes no sense. However, it's religion - it's not supposed to make sense. It's based on faith, rather than logic. The Catholic Church does manage to achieve more internal logical consistency than many other religions and denominations, but when you sit down and deconstruct it all right down to the very last premise, it always leads back to the same thing: blind faith. You either believe it or you don't. Many Catholics (even infertile ones) do believe it, although it must be admitted that the majority of Catholics today don't follow the Church all the way on this one (a great many, as has been pointed out, wouldn't understand or be fully aware of the Church's arguments and would be surprised to find them out, many who are aware and understand agree somewhat, but are ok with modifications eg those aimed at protecting embryos from destruction). So you might have to say your Hail Marys on that count, because they are definitely out there.

I am also going to have to agree with Leila in that, if you don't share this kind of faith, then why worry? If a politician starts making faith-based laws for non-Catholics, that is a good time to worry. If someone is preaching to his own Church, that is the business of that person and his Church.

In essence: I think you're shocked because, like a great many Catholics, you didn't realise exactly what the Vatican's argument was on this one and now that you know you are reeling because it makes no sense to you. My advice: let these feelings subside. Know that (or prove to yourself that) the arguments are a matter of faith, rather than a demonstrable philosophical truth. Then decide where you stand and make that the end of the issue.


offsprung said...

Well crap, you caught me. Can't I just go to confession and tell the old man that I lied and I'll be absolved of this 5,000 Hail Mary's I committed myself to? I love Catholicism.

It will be all a moot point when the church comes around on this in 40-50 years. They finally let women wear "long pants" to church and finally agreed that unbaptized newborn babies go to heaven, so there will be a day for assisted reproductive technology.

Thanks for the spirited conversation - this blog has never been so popular.

Maybe now I'll take on the Lutherans or something...

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Bea, actually, the science is good too. Not blind faith. Actual results. Catholics believe that faith and reason are not incompatible. On the contrary. Have you read the Catechism? Or JPII's encyclical on faith and reason? If you read my blog, you will find simple clarifications about what the Church actually is and actually teaches. You are a bit off on that, but most people are, even Catholics.

Offsprung... don't go after the Lutherans yet...join us in the Bubble for some good conversation! We are pretty friendly even to ex-Catholics who diss the Church. ;)

And, your misapplied statement about the "long pants" shows me that you need to read this:


Also, thanks for giving me a new post to put in the (long) queue: Explaining that the Church did not
"finally agree that upbaptized newborn babies go to heaven." Another common misunderstanding about the Church (there are so many!).

God bless!

offsprung said...

so unbaptized newborn babies that die still sit in limbo? Warm fuzzies all around.

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Offsprung... you are definitely misinformed. :) But, I will be covering all that in the Bubble (as soon as I can get to it). So many misconceptions to address!

Beth said...

I'm a formerly infertile Catholic Who had stage 4 endometriosis and was told I would never conceive without ivf. After being treated surgically by a doctor who believes in restoring a woman's fertility naturally, I am expecting my third child in December. Third child in 3 1/2 years! I'm forever grateful for my doctor and my husband who believe in the church's teachings and encouraged me through this process. Now, not only is my fertility restored, but my endo Is healed.
Tell you what. You don't have to stand on Your head!

offsprung said...

just pushing buttons Leila. Good luck informing everyone of the real truth in your Bubble.

Mom used to tell me there was a proverb something along the lines of "where pride comes, then comes disgrace. But with humility comes wisdom."

Really wish the uber-pious would tattoo that backwards on their forehead so they see it every time they wake up and look in the mirror.

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Paul, that's excellent! Pride is a huge sin, and humility is the hallmark of the saints. Have you read the lives of the saints? Humility and obedience go hand and hand.

Here's a mark of humility: Not deciding truth for oneself, but submitting to God in all things. It was definitely a humbling experience for me to give up my own opinions and submit to Christ's Church. How many Americans are willing to do that? I definitely have a LONG way to go in the humility department, though. Don't we all?

Beth, Ann and Lauren, I don't think he's open to hearing what he implied he'd be open to hearing.

Blessings, offsprung! You can bet I'll be addressing the points you've brought up. Hope to see you there, but if not, thanks for a good dialogue!

offsprung said...

who is Paul?

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Oh my goodness, ha ha! Sorry! Paul is a commenter on my blog. I've been having a dialogue with him as well. Sorry! I meant "offsprung". :)

Sew said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sew said...

And please tell me where the article said you were going to hell...I love that is always what is said by those who oppose the other side......It's interesting, especially when it is never stated...

offsprung said...

I didn't say it, Paul said it!

Sew said...

LMAO! Good one! :)

offsprung said...

and the hell thing was covered by some dude at the top.

Have any of you seen lemmings run together? If not, you should.

Bea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bea said...

Leila, I stand by my earlier comment. Lots of logical consistency, lots of sound scientific data building on a premise of faith, but down at the nitty gritty it returns to faith. I'm not sure why people are uncomfortable admitting this. Is there something wrong with having faith? Is religion worthless without incontrovertible proof and externally-verifiable arguments on everything, or is it about humility and submission to God?

My thoughts are based on extensive reading of original/official Church texts.


Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Bea, exactly. And it's precisely logic and reason which can bring us to decide which authority to submit to. We all have our gods, yes?

offsprung said...

Gah... looks like I inadvertently deleted someone's post. I'm sorry! Totally unintentional.

I'd like to invite you all to take a big, big step back and realize that I'm just some dude who likes to make fun of my own life at my own expense. I really, really don't care if you don't think it's funny. And I really, really, really, really, really don't think it matters one bit to any of your lives if I think the church is dead wrong on this. I do appreciate your zeal on the subject, however - and anytime I'm going to take on Catholicism in a post, I promise to say "Starts with a 'C' and ends in "atholic" just so as to not offend anyone or get it grabbed by some kind of holy feed burner.

You don't need to convince me of anything at all. All my choices are made, done, and over. I'm not ever going to convert, ever, ever. I'm always going to think for myself.


P.S. - whoever Bubso is, I wish you would come back and help me out, I've been using fingers and toes on this dam for days...

One Man said...


Lauren's husband here, aka "One Man." I appreciate the honesty of your thoughts, but must say that I came to the opposite conclusion several years ago when I faced the choice (crisis is more like it) of deciding for myself or, as Leila has talked about, humbling myself to submit to the Church's teaching. I decided to submit, and thank God I did...literally.

So, here's one infertile Catholic guy who is anti-IVF, anti-vascectomy, anti-anything that tries to separate life from the marital act (either to bring about or prevent). Infertility has been incredibly painful, but they joy of knowing that we are operating with God's design has given us peace well beyond any of the pain, and has given us an even greater ability to look beyond our own desire to replicate our own genetic material to the eternal plan of the One who created us.

Don't worry, I'll only hold you to one Rosary.

One Man said...


Lauren's husband here (aka One Man). I appreciate your thoughts. I faced the same decision (or, more like a crisis) of "recovering" from Catholicism or submitting and diving deeper into her teachings a few years ago. I chose the latter, and the beauty and consistency that has flowed out has left me--quite literally--on my knees in thanksgiving and in tears of gratitude. My own "thinking" was pushed out; the God of the universe came in with love and peace beyond understanding.

Our struggle with IF has been downright painful at times, but the satisfaction of having a share in Christ's suffering and knowing that God's eternal plan for us is being carried out gives a satisfaction that far eclipses any desire to pass on our own genetic material.

So, here's one Catholic man who's anti-IVF, anti-vascectomy, anti-anything that-separates-procreation-from-the-marital-embrace, whether for creation or prevention of new human life. There are many more out there, I assure you.

Don't worry, I'll only hold you to one decade of the Rosary.

Lauren @ Magnify the Lord with Me said...

ONE Rosary, One Man? Come on! I say we give him a 99% reduction from his original bet, and request just FIFTY Hail Marys in the form of the Rosary!!! How about those Joyful Mysteries! :)

We're praying for you and your wife and your desire for a child, Offsprung. Blessings on your journey to parenthood!

P.S. Here's a "how to" on the Rosary! :) http://www.rosary-center.org/howto.htm

Danya @ He Adopted Me First said...

Holy feed burner...he he he. Yep you got picked up by one. For sure! I enjoyed reading your post and I completely understand the frustration you feel in being told that something that you want to do is morally unacceptable. It happened to me too. And I argued up and down. And threw tantrums. But, just because we don't agree or don't like it, doesn't mean it's not true. In other words, there are absolute truths. We've been through 7 and 5 years of IF and did not do IVF. Instead of receiving the miracle of conception, we received the miracle of conversion - far more valuable in my opinion. Offsprung, thanks for letting the "holy feedburner" have a say on your blog. Truly, we're with you, not against....