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 Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, WisconsinMay 19, 2006 Issue 

In-vitro fertilization violates God's plans

Church teaches that there are three reasons the practice is wrong

On May 11, Bp. David Zubik released the following letter to Catholics of the Green Bay Diocese:

photo of Bishop David Zubik
David Zubik

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Perhaps it is a little too early to say, but I think Tuesday, May 9, was a day of divine providence; a day in which I, as your Bishop, talked very publicly about several ways in which the Church asks its people to respect life and how life comes into being.

The first opportunity was over the lunch hour when about 250 people and myself gathered at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in downtown Green Bay to begin the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil. The intention of the prayer vigil is to raise people's awareness of the sacredness of all life, regardless of age, from womb to tomb. Our faith tells us that each and every one of us is a child of God. God as the Creator of all life has a plan for you and me as well as each unborn child, a plan which we are obliged to let God unfold in our lives.

However, when God's plan doesn't match our plan, faith can be tested. At those times, many wonder and pray about what God is doing in our lives. In the face of that reality, two choices are available: pursue our own plans or embrace God's plan.

Understanding not clear

Related article:

from May 19, 2006 issue:
• Interview with Fr. John Doerfler --
    In-vitro fertilization violates God's plans
    We should see the dignity of babies
    from conception on

I think it is fair to say that most people understand how abortion is contrary to God's plan; however, when it comes to in vitro fertilization (IVF) - which is the other topic I am addressing these days - I think the understanding is not so clear.

As you and I know, marriage is a sacred union of a husband and wife. And as a Church, we ask couples to be open to the gift of children, and this gift comes from God, of course. But, every couple who longs for children isn't always able to conceive children. You and I know couples who have been unable to conceive. In the moment, it is hard to understand the "why" of their reality.

At the same time many of us think of couples who were unable to conceive but still received the gift of children through adoption. Other times we become aware of a miracle which occurs when an infertile couple adopts a child only to conceive another naturally.

Wrong for three reasons

The Church teaches that in vitro fertilization is always morally wrong for three reasons which intertwine and complement each other.

First, it violates the inseparable connection willed by God of the two meanings of the conjugal act: (1) uniting the couple in a most sacred and intimate act and (2) an act that is open to sharing in God's creation of new life.

Second, in vitro fertilization violates the "language of the body." The intimate acts of marriage are to "speak" the mutual self-giving of the spouses who are open to life. The gift of a child is to be the result of the love that is spoken in a singular and irreplaceable way in the embrace of marriage.

Finally, in vitro fertilization does not place front and center the dignity of the child as a gift from God. Instead of "coming to be" through the mutual self-gift of the spouses in the marriage act, spoken in an irreplaceable way through the "language of the body," with in vitro fertilization, the child "comes to be" through a "production" or "manufacturing process," in which the "coming-to-be" of the child is subject to the domination of the technicians rather than the "gifting" of God. In vitro fertilization takes God out of the driver's seat and slots in a technical procedure instead.

Moreover and of equally grave concern, with the process of in vitro fertilization science takes control of fertilizing a woman's eggs, hand-selecting the ones that are most likely to bring a child to full term, and discarding the ones that appear less likely to make it, in effect destroying human life.

Central to the teaching of the Church is the dignity of the human person and the dignity of all human life. I invite you, my readers, to ponder the great mystery of the dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God, so that we may all come to a deeper respect of human life and how human life is to "come to be" according to God's wonderful plan and as His precious gift.

Grateful for our belief that "Nothing is Impossible with God," I am

Your brother in Christ,


Most Reverend David A. Zubik
Bishop of Green Bay

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