Pope speaks out on fertility treatments

No surprise here. The current Italian law is incredibly restrictive; it “bans donations of sperm and eggs, defines life as beginning at conception, and allows fertility treatment only to married heterosexual couples.”

It ramins to be seen how the Italian people will react to this move. One thing that has always been interesting about Italy is that, while its people are deeply religious and overwhelmingly Catholic, there is a strong resistance to the intrusion of religion into the political sphere. And there has been an equally strong push by the Catholic church to do just about anything to maintain its influence over the populace — even its opposition to abortion didn’t really begin until Papal states shrunk and a decline in the church’s political power became obvious.

The church has the right to issue whatever boycotts it deems necessary in preventing people from donating sperm and eggs (gotta protect potential life, right?). I think it’s unfortunate that they are choosing to dedicate such energy to preventing people from having children, but that’s their call. But when an organization is dealing with a wide range of issues and only has access to limited resources, don’t they usually focus on the most important issue/s? I understand, they think fertility treatments end life. But how about taking a louder stand against the invasion of Iraq? That hasn’t been the most life-affirming mission. Or calling on all Catholics to petition the UN and their own governments to do something in Darfur? How about mentioning the Church’s opposition to the death penalty (something that many Christian and “pro-life” groups out here manage to conveniently forget)? Hell, what about the 78,000 women (probably more unreported) who die of illegal abortions every year? What about the 12 million street kids in Brazil — a country where the Catholic church has been instrumental in limiting access to contraception and sex education and illegalizing abortion (which means lots more dead mothers and orphaned children)? Priority, I guess, isn’t being placed in protecting real, actual, living people — it’s being put on getting into a political fray intended to block families from having children.

Excuse me if I’m a little testy tonight. But given the current state of things, I think any feeling person would be. (p.s., please excuse the typos — I’m sure there are many. It’s after 3am, and I’m so tired I’m seeing double. Plus, I’m pissed, and that doesn’t help).


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6 comments for “Pope speaks out on fertility treatments

  1. May 31, 2005 at 12:28 pm

    It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

  2. May 31, 2005 at 12:46 pm

    One thing that has always been interesting about Italy is that, while its people are deeply religious and overwhelmingly Catholic, there is a strong resistance to the intrusion of religion into the political sphere.

    Actually, in my sixteen years living in Italy, I did not find this to be the case at all. Religion and politics are deeply intertwined and always have been; friends tell me stories of huge billboards proclaiming that anyone voting for the Left will go to hell, and priests giving voting instructions from the pulpit.

    The fact of the matter is that religious Catholics are a minority of the country’s population. The northern regions in particular (with the exception of Venetia) tend to be more secular, and even though most children are still baptized and confirmed as a matter of course, mass attendance is at an all-time low. National referendums on issues such as abortion and divorce merely highlighted the fact that the country’s image doesn’t reflect reality.

    Otherwise, how could you explain the fact that it was the first Western country to achieve zero population growth? Not quite Catholic, that.

  3. May 31, 2005 at 12:50 pm

    ugh.

    if life begins at conception, there are a lot of people failing to implant in wombs and than being swept to their deaths by the mighty river of blood, into the toilet. maybe the Pope can personally bless each and every toilet in the world so that all those little humans can go to heaven.

  4. May 31, 2005 at 1:26 pm

    As a recovering Catholic, I’m always sadly amused by people who are surprised that the Church never practices what it preaches. The Church doesn’t give a shit about anyone or anything but its own power trips. And it’s been that way pretty much since the Romans took control of it. There’s no point in trying to protest or reform the Catholic Church. Eventually it will implode and collapse under the weight of reality. At least I pray it will.

  5. June 1, 2005 at 7:51 am

    I don’t understand, if the Vatican really cares about the sanctity of life and saving lives shouldn’t they issue an edict declaring all assisted fertility treatments (use of hormones, IVF, GIFT/artificial insemination to artificially create life) forbidden and decree that any couple that cannot have children naturally (as G-d intended) adopt orphaned children who are at higher risk of illness/death because of their living conditions? That would certainly be a morally consistent stance, would it not?

  6. June 3, 2005 at 2:18 pm

    But how about taking a louder stand against the invasion of Iraq?…Or calling on all Catholics to petition the UN and their own governments to do something in Darfur?… Priority, I guess, isn’t being placed in protecting real, actual, living people…

    I call b.s. The pope spoke about the moral evils of war in several of his audiences prior to Iraq. He condemned military action in his audience with the president. He wrote letters. He gave speeches. A Google search on the Catholic Church’s stance against the invasion of Iraq turns up over 3 million hits! You’d have to be living in a cave to be ignorant of the Church’s vocal opposition to that war.

    Moreover the pope brought to light the situation in Darfur well before the western world caught on. As early as July 2004 the pope was calling on the international community to intervene, sending an emissary to the Sudan to urge an end to human rights abuses in the region. The envoy demanded international leaders to “look beyond their own interests” and intervene in Darfur. Catholic Relief Services set up in Darfur as soon the Sudanese government allowed them into the region. They also repeated the Catholic Church’s sentiment: international action is morally required in Darfur.

    I can go on and on pointing out the glaring inaccuracies in your post (much in line with the Catholic baiting of your previous blog). The archbishops have come out against unfair trade policies penalizing third world nations and seek international aid to assist the needy. They have opened welfare houses for accidental mothers. The hierarchy is now debating the moral laxity of neoliberal economics. And dehumanizing what the Church considers life because it is unborn is as ignorant as my asserting that you’re not a real woman because you’re a feminist. Nor does smarminess assist your arguments.

    The Catholic Church might not rush to judgment and condemnation with the speed a partisan might want. But after viewing the mistakes and errors in your rushedly judgmental post, I think that’s probably a good thing.

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