Document Offers Guidance on Reproductive Technologies

Addresses Challenges of Infertility for Catholic Couples

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BALTIMORE, Maryland, NOV. 17, 2009 ( A new document aimed at helping Catholic couples facing the challenges of infertility was approved for release today by the U.S. bishops conference.

The prelates approved this document, titled «Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology,» today at their annual fall general assembly taking place in Baltimore.

Monday, in the assembly’s first session, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the Committee on Pro-life Activities, explained that this document is meant to give pastoral guidance on the Church’s teaching regarding reproductive technologies.

He noted that is aims to be a companion to a previously released document on contraception, as a resource for engaged and married couples.

«There is great confusion,» the cardinal said, regarding the Church’s teaching on morally problematic techniques such as in vitro fertilization, egg and sperm donation, and surrogacy.

Sometimes, he noted, «any method of making babies» is «understood to be pro-life.»

Thus, there is a need to distinguish between the Catholic and secular understandings of human life, and how these lead to certain judgments about behavior, the prelate affirmed.

In a press conference after the session, Cardinal Rigali affirmed that this document follows the text of «Dignitatis Personae,» and does not draw any conclusions beyond it.

He expressed gratitude for the testimonials from Catholic couples who faced infertility, many of whom wrote back to him to thank the committee for the document.

With this initiative, the cardinal affirmed, «we hope to have a pastorally effective means to help these infertile couples.»

The document will include the testimonies of Catholics facing infertility as well as a section on those technologies that are accepted by the Church.

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