Praying for a Child – The Catholic Church makes life impossible for infertile women.
My thoughts on this editorial:
I am not Roman Catholic, and I disagree with much of their theology, but – there are similarities between what is expressed in this editorial and views I see from Baptists and Protestants in how they treat women who are childless, infertile, or childfree.
Too many religions place way too much emphasis on natalism and “the family.”
You will notice that Jesus Christ, and Paul the apostle, sought to move the Christian faith AWAY from such a strong emphasis on those issues, but American Christians (and many other world religions) keep putting “the family” and pro-creation at the forefront of their beliefs.
Both Christ and Paul taught that it is acceptable to God for a person to remain childless or single, regardless of most of the reasons.
Unfortunately, Christians today, whether going under the banner of Catholicism or Protestantism, have totally undermined what Christ taught and was trying to do, which was to teach that the spiritual bonds of people should out-weight blood relations, and the kingdom of God should grow by conversion, not by physical procreation.
Women should not be made to feel they are failures or “second class” if they never marry or never have children, but this is too often exactly what happens in many churches and denominations – and this is NOT what Christ intended.
Jesus Christ did not die on the cross for “the family,” he died for the sins of the world – for each individual and humanity as a whole, not for things like traditional marriage, natalism, and traditional values, and I say this as someone who is conservative and not “anti family.”
You will see many Christians insisting, wrongly, that motherhood (and/or marriage) is a woman’s highest calling in life, or only acceptable Godly role, yet, they will also chastize and shame women who are infertile who seek to have children via IVF, surrogate motherhood, or what have you. It’s a very insulting double standard.
(Christians also do this in regards to marriage: tell you that you are second class and incomplete without a spouse, but if you dare to get a mate via a dating site or what have you, you will then be scolded for supposedly “making marriage into an idol.” The double standards are beyond hypocritical.)
- By Joel Baden and Candida Moss
- In 2011, Emily Herx was teaching English at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She was also having trouble getting pregnant, so she began in vitro fertilization treatments.
- When she informed her supervisors, they were initially supportive, permitting her to begin treatments. But when she requested more time off for her second round of treatment, she was referred to the school’s priest and, later, the local bishop.
- Eleven days later, she was fired.
- In response, Herx filed a discrimination lawsuit against the school and the Diocese of Fort Wayne–South Bend. Earlier this month the judge in the case decided that Herx’s firing did not violate the Americans With Disabilities Act—the U.S. government classifies infertility as a disability—but the trial will continue to determine whether there was gender discrimination in play.
- The Catholic Church’s rigid stance against abortion and contraception is well known. In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI described the “transmission of human life” as a “sacred duty.” In Catholic thought, it is incumbent upon us to create life, not to prevent or destroy it.
What is less well known is that this same logic is arrayed against women who seek to become pregnant through certain reproductive technologies such as IVF, in which a significant number of embryos are fertilized, many of which are then typically destroyed. Embryo destruction in the course of fertility treatments is, like abortion, murder in the eyes of the church.
…. According to her suit, Herx was told by Bishop Kevin Rhodes that IVF was “an intrinsic evil, which means no circumstances can justify it,” because it frequently involves the destruction of embryos.
This is typically true—but not in Herx’s case.
Herx has stated that she and her husband used every embryo they created and that she informed church officials of this from the beginning.Here the church’s tendency toward a black-or-white position runs afoul of complex reality.
From what Herx has said, the clerical response to her fertility treatments seems to have been blanket condemnation.
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Related posts:(Link): Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother(Link): Christian Double Standards on Celibacy – Hetero Singles Must Abstain from Sex but Not Homosexual Singles