Artificial Procreation Contradicts Dignity of Parents and Children, Pope Says

Encourages Research for a Natural Solution to Infertility

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 22, 2004 ( The act by which a husband and wife become parents, “cooperators of the Creator,” is such a rich gesture that “it cannot be replaced by a mere technological intervention,” warns John Paul II.

With this statement, the Pope echoed the topic of the working sessions of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, meeting since Friday, to reflect on “The Dignity of Human Procreation and Reproductive Technologies: Anthropological and Ethical Aspects.”

It is an issue that is “burdened with grave problems and implications,” the Holy Father said Saturday. At stake are “essential values, not only for the faithful Christian, but also for the human being as such,” he said when receiving the members of the assembly.

“There is increasing awareness of the vital microbiological information of the bond of procreation of a new creature with the spousal union, by which the husband becomes a father through the conjugal union with his wife and the wife becomes a mother through the conjugal union with her husband,” the Pope said.

“This plan of the Creator is inscribed in the physical and spiritual nature of man and woman and, as such, has universal value,” he continued.

“The act by which the husband and wife become father and mother through their total reciprocal gift makes them cooperators of the Creator in bringing to the world a new human being, called to life for eternity,” John Paul II said.

“Such a rich gesture, which transcends the very life of the parents, cannot be substituted by a mere technological intervention, impoverished of human value and subjected to the determinisms of technical and instrumental activity,” he continued.

Rather, the scientist should “research the causes of masculine and feminine infertility to prevent this situation of suffering in spouses,” the Pope said.

“Because of this, I wish to encourage scientific research oriented to the natural overcoming of the sterility of the spouses, just as I wish to exhort the specialists to fine-tune the interventions that might be useful to such an end,” he said.

John Paul II added that the desire is that “on the path of genuine prevention and therapy, the scientific community — the appeal is directed in particular to scientists who are believers — might be able to obtain comforting progress.”

In this connection, the Academy for Life will do “everything that is at hand to encourage all valid initiatives directed to avoiding the dangerous manipulations that accompany the processes of artificial procreation,” the Holy Father said.

The Pope concluded with an appeal to the community of faithful so that, supporting “authentic avenues of research,” it will reject “the suggestions of a substitutive technology of real paternity and maternity” that is “harmful to the dignity both of the parents as well as the children.”

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