Last week, there was a link posted on the Natural Parenting FaceBook page. It was a link from CafeMom regarding the firing of an un-married Catholic School teacher when it was revealed that she had used Inter-Uterine Insemination (Artificial Insemination) to conceive a child. The question posed by Natural Parenting was whether or not if IVF was immoral. (For the record, the teacher chose IUI, not IVF, which are two different things. But IVF would strike more chords, in my opinion, than IUI… hence the headline.)
This, of course, lead to a whole bunch of comments and opinions. A few commenters stayed focused on the deal at hand: She signed a contract and she willingly and knowingly violated said contract. When she accepted a job teaching at a Catholic School, logic follows that she would be required to uphold all Catholic teachings, even the “hard” ones. But the majority of the commenters took the opportunity to engage in what I see as the last acceptable prejudice… Catholic Bashing.
The author of the original post DID cite the Catechism (CCC 2376, only) when explaining, in her mind, why the Catholic Church considers IVF and IUI to be “immoral” but just reading a subsection of the CCC is not going to explain the whole reasoning.
2376 Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ “right to become a father and a mother only through each other.”
Especially since, one paragraph later, CCC 2377 explains WHY:
2377 Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that “entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.” “Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses’ union . . . . Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person.” (emphasis mine)
But you know, people take things out of context all the time. Especially the Bible and especially when they are trying to make a point. How many of you have heard Ephesians 5: 22-24 given as a reason why the Church is misogynistic, antiquated and anti-feminist?
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
“Submit?! Who says anyone has to submit? These are modern times, not sandy Bible times! Women can do anything and be anything and we sure as hell aren’t going to SUBMIT to our husbands!”
But… Ephesians 5 goes on to say in Verses 25-33:
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Oh, Snap. But you see what I mean?
The author then went on to add this tidbit:
And since this is a Catholic clause for a Catholic school involving an unmarried woman who got pregnant, we have to talk about another unmarried woman who got pregnant — Mary. Her immaculate conception happened when God planted sperm in her ovaries so she could conceive. Mary wasn’t denied motherhood. Why should [the teacher]? (emphasis original)
For my non-Catholic readers out there, this is a common misconception. The Immaculate Conception DOES NOT refer to the conception of Christ, but rather the conception of Mary, she was conceived without original sin, making her the perfect vessel to carry our developing Lord. Clear as Mud? Well, that’s another post for another day.
Whether it was her intention or not the author, with her omission, opened the flood gates to all sorts of negative comments about Catholics in general:
How hypocritical of the church considering the conception of Jesus.
Exactly, [poster]. Why promote abstinence if it did not work for Mary? Why say a child conceived out of wedlock is immoral… When Jesus was?
But if you don’t want to be held to ridiculous, dated standards, don’t work for the Catholic Church in the first place.
The catholic church seems to think it is God sometimes
And some positives:
Catholic views on IVF etc weren’t developed out of malice or whatever ill motives people seem to think but out of a desire to protect people from sin and immorality.
But come on people, there is suppose to be freedom of religion, and the Catholics have every right to put rules into place if you want to join. If you don’t like it guess what don’t join! Stop screaming for acceptance and non-judgement, when you turn around and judge and bash a religion.
It sounds like this teacher and the school were not a good docterinal fit to begin with.
Catholic schools and institutions should be faithful to the Magesterium and require their employees to be faithful to the Magesterium as well. The teacher in question exercised her free will to make a choice for herself and her family…The woman made a choice, she is old enough to except the consequences, good and bad.
I find the attacks on religion to be very anti-American. I’m not Catholic but I respect their right to their own beliefs. I certainly don’t like when people attack my faith.
Some interesting ones:
….isnt the art of science against GOD or something (not sure fi (sic) against is the right word, but you catch my drift)? i mean, supposedly evolution is wrong, well how does the church explain things like dinosaurs?
I thought this was a good question:
If this is in their contract then anyone who takes birth control pills, sterilizes themselves with surgery or remarries after a divorce should be fired too. All are immoral under same doctrine. Why did they chose this one?
And of course, let’s not forget what some consider to be the Trump card when Catholic Bashing:
So do priests’ have so sign contracts not to steal money from their parish or molest little boys. They know its wrong but has been done over and over and the are ” forgiven” and hidden in another parish.
I personally do not agree w/IVF for a couple of reasons however, doesn’t this make them a bit hypocritical after how many cases of molestation???
(Be sure to check out Bad Catholic for his take on the Trump Card)
And those are all just comments from the FaceBook page, I won’t even look at the comments on the main site.
To be honest, many of the linked Posts on Natural Parenting have been coming from CafeMom, which to me doesn’t really strike me as being a Natural Parenting source. Maybe they are in cahoots? Maybe the page owner is having a hard time coming up with ideas and just putters about on the Internet looking for stuff to get people in a tizzy over. As a commenter said
After all, it is called ‘The Stir.’
And the sad thing is, CafeMom reaches thousands, if not HUNDREDS of thousands of readers daily. My little blog… considerably fewer. How many readers read that article and just hardened their hearts against the Catholic Church or had their misinformed prejudices against the Church reinforced? How many lay Catholics read that article and said, “Well… the Catholic Church is so behind the times, God gave us technology for a reason. Saying don’t use it is like saying don’t use the wheel,” without investigating WHY the Church passes down in Tradition what she does?
Whatever the reason, I don’t know why it’s OK to just tear into Catholicism as some people do. To borrow from Shrek, Catholicism is like an onion… there are many layers. Those layers are not hidden, but it does require the lay Catholic to get out there are learn about his or her faith. (Or stick around for my “101 things” post! hahaha!)
No one is saying that you can’t disagree with Catholic Tradition and teaching. But if you disagree, determine for yourself what you are disagreeing with. Find out the facts before making a conclusion (yeah, science teacher coming at you.) If you get all of your learning about Catholicism from the media or from what you learned in Cathechism class or in High School from Sister Mary Katherine Gallagher, you are missing a world of information about a beautiful institution.
(cartoon from marga.voxpublica.org, Bible Verses from BibleGateway.com)
What’s your opinion? Is Catholic Bashing more acceptable than bashing other religions, or are some Catholics just too sensitive? You know you have one!!
I am looking for submissions to feature in a series here! If you are thinking of converting to Catholicism or if you are a Catholic Convert or a Catholic Revert, email me at:
caffeinatedcatholicmama (at) gmail (dot) com.
If you would like to post anonymously, we can make that work too!