2012-02-25 Vatican Radio
“The Church pays great attention to the suffering of couples with infertility, she cares for them and, precisely because of this, encourages medical research.”, said Pope Benedict XVI, in his address Saturday to members of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Over the past week the Academy has gathered together experts from the world of medicine, scientific research, theology and philosophy to the Vatican to discuss infertility, how it is diagnosed, how it can be treated and how it impacts couples.
Pope Benedict said : “The human and Christian dignity of procreation, consists not in a “product”, but in its connection with the conjugal act, an expression of love of the spouses, their union which is not only biological but also spiritual”.
He said: “This approach is moved not only from the desire to gift the couple a child, but to restore fertility to couple and with it all the dignity of being responsible for their own reproductive choices, to be God’s collaborators in the generation of a new human being. The search for a diagnosis and therapy is scientifically the correct approach to the issue of infertility, but it must also be respectful of the integral humanity of those involved. In fact, the union of man and woman in that community of love and life that is marriage, is the only “place” worthy for the call into existence of a new human being, which is always a gift”.
But what happens when even science cannot provide the answer to a couples desire for parenthood? Here the Pope warned against what he described as “the lure of the technology of artificial insemination” where “scientism and the logic of profit seem to dominate the field of infertility and human procreation, to the point of limiting many other areas of research”.
The Holy Father noted that “So I would like to remind the couples who are experiencing the condition of infertility, that their vocation to marriage is no less because of this. Spouses, for their own baptismal and marriage vocation, are called to cooperate with God in the creation of a new humanity. The vocation to love, in fact, is a vocation to the gift of self and this is a possibility that no organic condition can prevent. There, where science has not yet found an answer, the answer that gives light comes from Christ”.
Pope Benedict concluded: “I encourage all of you gathered here for these study days, and who sometimes work in a medical-scientific dimension where the truth is blurred: to continue on their journey of a science that is intellectually honest and fascinated by the constant research for the good of man”, not forgetting in this intellectual journey, the dialogue with faith. Citing his appeal expressed in the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope said that Faith enables reason to do its work more effectively and to see its proper object more clearly. “(n. 28). On the other hand, precisely the cultural matrix created by Christianity – rooted in the affirmation of the existence of truth and intelligibility of reality in the light of Supreme Truth – has made the development of in modern scientific knowledge possible in medieval Europe, a knowledge that in earlier cultures had remained but a seed”.
“Distinguished scientists and all of you members of the Academy who undertake to promote the life and dignity of the human person, also keep in mind your important cultural role in society and carry out the influence you have in shaping public opinion…people trust in you, who serve life, they trust in your commitment to support those who need comfort and hope. Never succumb to the temptation to treat what’s best for people by reducing it to a mere technical problem! The indifference of conscience to what is true and good, represents a dangerous threat to genuine scientific progress”.