I had a conversation with someone recently about a case on surrogacy in Singapore. I heard a co-host on EWTN’s Morning Glory radio show mention a case regarding a gay Singaporean doctor and his partner wanted to adopt a child but were unable to in Singapore (it’s illegal). They went to the U.S. to find a surrogate and do IVF to obtain a child. This was successful for them, so they traveled back to Singapore and sought to adopt the child. Eventually, the doctor applied for single-parent adoption rights, but the Singaporean government denied their application.
The co-host said that this prevention on behalf of the Singaporean government was a sign of how some governments still abide by marital procreation and natural law.
The person I told the story to stated how unfair it was for the state to interfere with someone’s reproductive choices and that everyone if they can, should have a child by all means necessary (IVF, surrogacy, artificial insemination).
In response, I told them I wasn’t 100% familiar with the case, but I could see why Singapore would deny the doctor adoption rights. Furthermore, I mentioned that the Catholic Church is pro-life and pre-conception within the natural act of marriage. Anything that gets in the middle of the marital act of conjugal embrace is against nature.
The person just couldn’t understand how means besides the natural act in marriage should be thrown out as ways to achieve pregnancy.
Which led me to compile my thoughts on the matter. It’s also fitting because this is a month so many things are happening with Pro-life such as the March for Life 2018, and the anniversary of Roe v. Wade decision.
The Sacrament of Matrimony serves two functions: Couple engages in unitive fidelity love and openness to life. These two purposes are the bedrock of marriage.
As it was in the beginning, God created male and female in a complementary fashion with the command to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1: 27-28). Very early, we can see the union of man and woman was to spring life into the world. In addition, God created Eve from Adam’s rib to assist in the prevention of lonesomeness. Therefore, in matrimony, spouses not only share a sexual closeness, but also an emotional, physical, and psychological attachment to each other to ensure the good of another.
Sex springs forth out of matrimony. Sex is intended to maximize the unitive love of the spouse’s in marriage. The selfless giving of each other in sexual intercourse, in addition to the spiritual, emotional, and physical oneness a couple experiences in marriage, produces the authentic joy of the Sacrament of Matrimony. It’s not simply just a means of pleasure, but a way to experience the closeness of how God intends 2 to become one. As St. Paul said in regards to the body in sexual conduct in 1 Cor 6:16 (NRSV) ” Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall be one flesh.”
The openness of transmitting life in every sexual act must be done. Speaking on the necessity of openness to life, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “It is necessary that each and every marriage act remain ordered per se to the procreation of human life. (2366)” As a result, means outside of the natural act of procreation are intrinsically evil and immoral. For example, IVF takes a females eggs and male sperm, procured from a sperm sample (How else would someone get sperm without masturbation?) and fertilizes them in a lab. They’re later inserted into the uterus of a surrogate client aka “rental womb” or the original female of the eggs provided.
Mainly, IVF separates the conjugal act because it places lab tests and procedures over the authentic selfless giving of spousal intimacy in marriage. Also, it forces men to commit sin against themselves through masturbation. Perhaps the centers have pornography to watch to help stimulate a male which would be additional wrong. Moreover, “rental wombs” subject women to doing anything for cash. Think of how adversely surrogacy could or has impact(ed) women and families in impoverished or developing nations. Just to make a quick buck, they sell themselves, therefore, exploiting and elevating themselves as a product than a human with dignity and worth.
Overall, the Catholic Church is pro-life! Anything that comes in between life from conception to natural death is interrupting life. By far the Church is the only or leading proponent against contraception and artificial contraception. Thanks to works like Humane Vitae, this has helped the Church make its stance clear going into the sexual revolution of reproductive freedom of the 60s and onward.
Many who struggle with the Church’s stance on contraception or reproductive technology, have to understand that the Church exists to be the one who regulates secular society’s moral experimentation. The Church acts as a visible God guided institution to ensure secular society doesn’t go astray on issues of morality. Just as the Church stood steadfast against communism, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) helped usher in a new appreciation and understanding of the 5th Commandment in the contemporary world, the Church made pronouncements on reproduction. There still exists grey areas that leading Catholic bioethicist, philosophers, and ethicist have yet to solve, but new advances create newer threats to the matrimony.
Personally, in our marriage, we use the Creighton model natural family planning as a God-honoring and worth granting means of planning or avoiding pregnancy. We do this with no pills, no shots, no patches! And it’s so simple! All my wife does is check her signs throughout the day and identify the most fertile (if available) sign. Couples can successfully identify days to avoid intercourse or plan pregnancy based on a woman’s signs. By doing this, we not only open our marriage to life, but we also find an appreciation for the 5th/6th Commandment and a deeper appreciation for how God has created us to be united in marriage in a special act.
With all that I’ve said, matrimony is a mystery.
Yes, another mystery on top of the other countless mysteries of the faith!
In matrimony, couples get to share in God’s attribute of being a creator by bringing new life. We don’t know the ends and outs of the particulars, but God saw fit to enable us to share in His power Just a tad bit.
What a thought to ponder on this whole lifetime.
We live in the aftermath of the fall, but think about what loving fidelity would’ve been like pre-fall. Sex pre-fall? If such strong authoritative prescriptions exist now so that we may maximize our love from our spouse, think of the complete and utter sublime reality of how they must’ve felt before the fall. We truly don’t know the mystery of what the Sacrament of Matrimony entails, so we must cooperate with God to lead us into the paths of authentic joy and love.
If we truly knew what it felt like to love our spouse to the standard of perfection, you’d probably never want to let go of that sight. You’d be in complete happiness over the joy you witnessed.
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