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Catholic Church Sanctions Some Infertility Treatment
There is "great confusion among lay Catholics regarding the church's teaching on human reproductive technologies," Philadelphia's Cardinal Justin Rigali said at the U.S. bishops' meeting in Baltimore in November. "There is a need to help Catholics understand specific differences between the Catholic understanding and a secular understanding of human life."
When Rigali was archbishop of St. Louis, he celebrated a Mass for infertile couples, as did his successor, Archbishop Raymond Burke. Tonight, St. Louis's newest Catholic leader, Archbishop Robert Carlson, will continue the tradition.
by celebrating a Mass for infertile Catholics, Carlson is participating in a pastoral high-wire act that has becoming increasingly familiar to church leaders.
On one hand, bishops need to educate Catholics about the church's moral stance on assisted reproductive technologies. On the other, they also need to minister to Catholic couples suffering through the heartache of infertility, many of whom believe their church seems intent on contributing to that heartache by putting up roadblocks to medically assisted pregnancy.
That balancing act is summed up in a document on reproductive medical advances called "Life-giving Love in an Age of Technology" that U.S. bishops approved at their fall meeting in Baltimore.
"The church has compassion for couples suffering from infertility and wants to be of real help to them," according to the document. "At the same time, some 'reproductive technologies' are not morally legitimate ways to solve those problems." Read more.