Bishop criticizes reproductive technology’s ‘procreation without sex’

Bishop Thomas Wenski
Bishop Thomas Wenski


Bishop of Orlando, Florida Thomas G. Wenski has written an editorial for the Orlando Sentinel stressing the dignity of the human embryo. Noting the ways some medical reproductive technologies “devalue the meaning of human sexuality itself,” he condemned “procreation without sex.”

Invoking Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which he summarized as being about “a mad scientist who in his quest to create life never stopped to consider the consequences of his actions,” Bishop Wenski said that science reality is “stranger than science fiction.”

Similarly, he suggested that some scientists use various reproductive technologies to manipulate life without sufficiently considering the consequences. Citing the case of Nadya Suleman, who gave birth to eight children conceived through in-vitro fertilization, he said the morality of such procedures must be considered.

Referring to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith statement Dignitas Personae, he noted that the Church advocates scientific research but also condemns such forms of reproductive technologies.

“Because it is possible to do something does not make it necessarily right to do it,” Bishop Wenski wrote in the Orlando Sentinel. “Science, if it is to truly serve humanity, cannot separate itself from the demands of ethics. The ends do not justify the means.”

He said in-vitro fertilization procedures frequently involves the “deliberate destruction of embryos,” asserting that some 80 percent of artificially produced embryos are “sacrificed” to secure a pregnancy.

“Each embryo, however, is an individual human being and not just simply a mass of cells to be used, selected or discarded,” the bishop wrote.

“The desire for children is both legitimate and laudable, but not every means is morally acceptable for those wishing to become parents,” he said, noting Dignitas Personae’s comments about the origin of human life having its “authentic context” in marriage and the family. There, life is “generated through an act which expresses the reciprocal love between a man and a woman.”

“A child should be the fruit of the parents' love — a gift received and accepted and not a consumer product to satisfy someone's subjective desire,” Bishop Wenski explained, insisting that medical science is “not above ethics.”

“Artificial contraception opened the possibility of sex without procreation; now in-vitro and related technologies proffer procreation without sex. Such technologies divorced from moral reasoning devalue the meaning of human sexuality itself.”

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