Ruffling Some Feathers

If you know me in real life, you know that there are many things that I’m passionate about. There are also many things that I take a “you’re entitled to your own opinion, and we’ll have to agree to disagree” stance about. Then there are other things that I just get flat out fired up and “preachy” about. I guess in that regard I’m not that different from anyone else.

I felt called to write this post because lately I’ve been having one conversation with people more & more, and I finally decided that the Holy Spirit was calling me to write about this very topic. Before I begin, let me set the stage. I’ve shared with you my Infertility history, and the fact that my husband and I are currently living childless. We’ve been in the starting gate for adoption several times over the past year and something always seems to happen to derail our efforts and we’re currently discerning whether or not we’ll adopt at all, but that’s not what this post is about.

Lately I find myself engaged in the conversation about Assistive Reproductive Technology more & more. I wrote about In-Vitro Fertilization during Respect Life month last October, so I won’t recreate that post. I have several friends who have used IVF and have beautiful miracles as a result. Some of them I have encouraged them to think the process through a little more, but often I have taken the stance that they are allowed to make their own determinations about whether their decision is moral and just. I don’t like to interfere in my friends’ lives. I just don’t. If they come to me and ask for advice I will give it to them, but I don’t give it in an unsolicited manner.

But I digress….

What people will often say to me (or other people who say that they don’t agree with the morality behind IVF) is “but what about ____” and then they proceed to tell a story designed to tug at the heart strings and to try to get me to tell them “well, in that case, IVF is perfectly reasonable.”

But the thing is that the Catholic Church teaches us that it’s not.

There is no situation where IVF is considered to be a moral treatment for infertility.

Period.

“But what about someone who’s born with a condition in which she has ovaries and no uterus? Isn’t it moral for she & her husband to do IVF and use a gestational surrogate so that they can have their own child?”

Nope.

Let me tell you that this next part was exceptionally hard for me to wrap my head around, and this is the part that’s going to ruffle some feathers. I first read this part of the Catechism four years ago and I was angry when I read it. Ironically I was sitting at church, waiting for a meeting to start, and I was so angered by the “arrogant, pompous and condemning words” behind the statement (my opinion at the time) that I almost got up and walked out using an excuse that I was about to be sick. (Hey, if I can’t be honest here about my faith journey where can I be honest?)

Every child is a gift, not a piece of property. He/she is not owed to anyone. No one has “a right to a child.” Only the child has genuine rights. The child must be “the fruit of a specific act of the conjugal love of his parents” and to “be respected as a person from the first moment of conception” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2378)

The last four years I’ve reflected on the statement many times, and last year I finally came to understand what it meant. (What can I say? I’m a slow learner.)

Children are not a right. Children are a gift from God above, entrusted to families to raise and help grow in faith until He calls them home.

People will tell you “but it’s not fair that a couple can’t have biological children.”

You’re right. It’s not fair. It’s painful, and it hurts worse than just about any pain I would ever wish on anyone. But (as I said a year ago) God never promised us that our life would be easy. God never promised that life would be fair. He never promised that our road wouldn’t be filled with rocks and detours when other people seemingly get a smooth highway where they can coast and not worry.

My mom said it back when I was four, “Life isn’t fair. Get used to it.”

The fact of the matter is that some couples cannot have biological children, and that’s an awful realization to wrap your head around, but there are two moral choices for those couples: adoption or to live life as a childless couple and assist the children who are around them (nieces, nephews, god children, neighbors, friends) at growing in faith.

I’m not going to sit here and say that the decision to live childless (for now) has been an easy one for my husband and me. I cry at every baptism at church, and I still endure the sideways glances from people who wonder why we don’t have children. I pray every day for God to reveal our path to us. I’ll be turning 40 this fall, and if God is going to give us biological children I’d like it to be soon. If He’s calling us to adoption I’d like it to be soon. If he’s calling us to live the rest of our lives childless I’d like Him to remove the ache from my heart.

But you see? That’s just it. It’s not about my wants and likes and needs. It’s about God’s plan for my life. God is bigger than infertility. He is bigger than any problem, any challenge placed before Him. God has worked miracles and there’s nothing that says that He can’t again. If God is calling me to motherhood He will guide me towards that opportunity (biological or adoption).

A friend at my former parish once told me “God never tells us no. He tells us yes, not right now, or I’ve got a better idea.”

There have been days that I’ve clung to that notion with everything that I’ve had.

For you see, accepting the path that God has chosen for me has not been easy. I don’t know why God has chosen me to have seven angels in heaven and none on earth. But I do know that my life has taken twists & turns that I never could have imagined it would when we started this journey. My life is not lacking in gifts because I don’t have children. I have a very rich and fulfilling life. I just happen to have an empty bedroom in my house.

But through the Divine Mercy of Christ I have learned to say “Jesus, I trust in you.”

34 comments
  • Allison@totustuusSeptember 8, 2012 - 10:49 am

    Thank you for this article. Coming from one who is being asked to live it, you show how to trust in God. Prayers for your adoption.ReplyCancel

  • AnnieSeptember 8, 2012 - 1:00 pm

    This is a hard one and certainly one that many go back and forth on. As the MIL of a beautiful young woman who has no hope of ever having a child, I have to admit that I was very dishearted when I saw Planned Parenthood’s recent report on their services for 2010 – yes, their own statistics.

    Abortions – over 329,445
    Adoption Referrals – 841
    Pre-Natal Services – 39,098

    Pregnancy without marriage isn’t a sigma in our society anymore. It makes no sense to me that we pay for the death service of abortion but haven’t consider that paying these same women for life services and adoption would be a better way to go.ReplyCancel

  • KerriSeptember 8, 2012 - 4:04 pm

    Beautiful post, Marie! Thank you for sharing this.ReplyCancel

  • KristiSeptember 8, 2012 - 9:56 pm

    Marie,
    I can sympathize with you on so many levels. I will try to comment here without writing a novel. I am a “cradle” Catholic. I, like you would read over and over the church’s teachings on IVF and other things. And of course the part of the Catechism that you quoted here. And I DO believe that children are a gift from God. But couldn’t get over the fact that it is a man made church teaching, not one from God. Along with a few (probably many!) other church teachings. A big one that comes to mind is a priest conducting pre-cana classes. I couldn’t understand how someone who has never been married was going to teach me about it. Especially when, I didn’t believe that priests being celibate was Biblical. Throughout Biblical history, priests, bishops and so on were all married with children. While there are many things I DID agree with, there were too many I didn’t. I finally found home in the Lutheran Church which is extremely close to Catholicism. Turns out Martin Luther felt the same way I did! 😉
    I also went through infertility. I had to have my fallopian tubes removed due to a burst appendix at 27yrs old. We decided to go through IVF and we have 3 beautiful children. I do believe that once you commit to IVF you must use all the embryos you make.
    I remember feeling just like you, crying at every baptism and shower. And wondering why the 15 yr old girl swearing and hitting her baby in the isle at Walmart received the gift of a baby for having pre-marital sex. But I could not and should not because someone at the Vatican said so. There are many kinds of medical intervention that man does without God. Organ transplants and etc. And why didn’t they feel so strongly about those?
    I pray that you and your husband are blessed with a baby, no matter which way it arrives to you. Blessings!
    KristiReplyCancel

  • KristiSeptember 9, 2012 - 12:03 am

    I went back and read your October post. And this stuck out at me….

    “No matter how wonderful our science is (please let’s not turn this post in to a debate about whether or not IVF is “wonderful science”) it is essential for Infertile couples to realize that

    Doctors don’t create life. God creates life.

    And your right! God decides whether you get pregnant with IVF or not as well. And there is life at conception I’m sure many many times when the embryo doesn’t implant with no intervention at all. Not every egg fertilizes, that is a statistic with IVF as well. So in the grand scheme of things God is in total control of any method.
    I didn’t read your first post (going to do that now!) but from reading this one, I understand you have had many miscarriages and I’m so sorry to hear this. And I’m sure you know this already, but having your Uterine lining checked (and taking progesterone) can make it thicker. Also, I know that if you are O negative and your husband is O positive you need a Rhogam shot, and without it can result in multiple miscarriages. I’m sorry if I’m repeating information you already know, but it’s the “fixer” in me. 🙂
    KristiReplyCancel

  • Laura CatherineSeptember 9, 2012 - 6:33 pm

    Your post is thoughtful, well-said, and inspiring. Thank you! I will pray for you and your husband as you wait to see and accept what God has in store.ReplyCancel

  • MollySeptember 10, 2012 - 8:24 am

    Great post, Marie! For other couples struggling with infertility, be sure to check out NaProTECHNOLOGY. It is a natural, Church-approved technology that works to heal abnormalities in the woman (and sometimes man!) so they are able to conceive naturally. I wish I could shout it from the rooftops because even aside from the morality of IVF, NaPro is more effective and low-cost.

    http://www.fertilitycare.org/infertility-ivf-alternative/ReplyCancel

  • MarieSeptember 10, 2012 - 9:29 am

    Kristi~

    Thank you for your comments. I have taken a bit of time to reflect on them before I responded.

    I’m sure that you know that Catholics believe that the Catechism is written by man, but guided by the Holy Spirit. So I don’t view the line from the catechism as being “man made policy.”

    And thank you for your concern, but yes, I have had my uterine lining checked. I am not O-. I supplement my progesterone. I am working on controlling my weight and managing my Insulin Resistance.

    I encourage you to continue to pray and I pray that God will guide you towards an understanding of the catechism and why the church teaches what it does.

    God bless you.ReplyCancel

  • LilySeptember 10, 2012 - 11:02 am

    Kristi, I think it is important to understand the difference between teachings/doctrines and disciplines. A celibate priesthood is not doctrinal, for example. It is what the Church chooses to practice, but even today there are exceptions. In the Eastern Catholic churches, priests may be married. Also, priests who convert from Anglican/Episcopalian to Catholic and are married remain so in the Catholic Church. Here is more on the difference between Church discipline (subject to change) and Church doctrine (not subject to change): http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/is-it-a-doctrine-or-a-discipline

    So a priest teaching a pre-Cana class is not a doctrine, so it is something that could change. For example, when I went through marriage preparation, I attended a retreat given by married couples, not a priest, but overseen by a priest. Still, though, and most importantly, what they are teaching is not some made-up ideas of their own, but rather the Church’s understanding of what it is that *God* wants from married couples.

    In the same way, the Church’s teaching on IVF is not a man-made rule. It is the interpretation, guided by the Holy Spirit, of God’s plan for life and marriage. See, when Jesus established the Catholic Church, He guaranteed that the Holy Spirit would guide it. This means that despite sinful men leading the church (the first one was St. Peter–talk about sinful!), the Holy Spirit guides it in matters of faith and morals. Jesus sent the apostles to teach just as the Father sent Him, with authority. So the same authority that is handed down by the laying on of hands (authority which the Lutherans or any other Protestant denomination does not have because the line of succession was broken) that allows priests to consecrate the Eucharist (the #1 most important and amazing reason to be Catholic!) and absolve us from our sins, is that which allows the Church to be the authentic interpreter of Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

    So if you think about it, it makes sense that the Pope would say things like “We do not have the authority to change the Church’s teachings on contraception,” for instance, because this teaching comes from God, not from the Church. The Church is simply passing it along to us. Does that make sense?

    It is important for us to also distinguish those times when we are coming up with our own self-made beliefs. To say that doctrine xyz is man-made, not God-given, is in itself a self-made belief. Or to say that doctrine xyz is not the truth because *I* personally do not agree with it is also a self-made belief, in the same way that Martin Luther acted when he created his own church. The truth does not depend on us agreeing with it–the truth simply IS regardless of what we think (e.g., a pencil is a pencil no matter how much you want to believe it is a water bottle.)ReplyCancel

  • MistySeptember 10, 2012 - 11:37 am

    Kristi,
    For the past 10 years, I’ve studied the Protestant Reformation, including why Luther and the other Reformers broke from the Church under the banner of sola scriptura (Scripture alone). What I discovered is that Protestantism is absolutely untenable and cannot possibly be Christ’s plan for Christianity, as evidenced by the nearly 26,000 different Protestant denominations that exist.

    Luther took the Bible, which was given to him by the authority of the Catholic Church, and decided that every Christian has the absolute right of private interpretation. He then went through and arbitrarily decided certain books that had been part of the Christian canon since it was compiled in the 4th Century were not “inspired Scripture.” There were 150 manuscripts being used by the Christian churches prior to the Catholic Church establishing the canon of Scripture. What I want to know is–what gives Martin Luther the authority to decide which books are inspired? Why don’t you and I also have the right to go back, not just through the established canon, but to all of those 150 manuscripts that were considered, and decide for ourselves which are inspired and which aren’t? Why can’t I make up the canon of my own Bible? After all, Martin Luther did.

    A famous Presbyterian convert named Scott Hahn said, “I realized that as a Protestant, I had to sit in Rome’s lap to slap it in the face.” If it were not for the authority of the Catholic Church, Martin Luther would not have even had the Bible he used to refute the authority of the Catholic Church. Ironically, though Luther declared “every man his own pope,” and gave every Christian the right to interpret Scripture, less than five years later he changed his tune. “He who does not accept my doctrine cannot be saved,” he declared. He and the other Reformers violently suppressed sects and interpretations that did not conform to their own. Luther surveyed the theological chaos he’d unleashed and realized that ironically, the only way to make sola scriptura work was to deny others the right to interpret Scripture and to assert his own as authoritative. He recognized, in other words, that Christianity becomes a bloated, ego-centered mess when individuals are allowed to decide for themselves what is true and what’s not.

    I realize it may be difficult to you to accept the authority of the Church, because you have three beautiful children and you feel that accepting that authority means admitting you were wrong to conceive them via IVF. Which to most IVF parents, feels like saying you regret your children exist. That’s not true. A woman can conceive a child out of wedlock,can conceive a child in rape, and love that child regardless of how he was conceived. I committed all sorts of sins with my husband prior to sacramentally marrying him five years later. I can own those sins without regretting the relationship and wonderful marriage that resulted. God’s amazing power is that he can bring beauty and life out of even our darkest sins.

    I pray you’ll reflect on what I said. At the heart of Protestantism is an inherent contradiction: that you accept the authority of the Catholic Church to give you the books of the Bible that you use to refute the authority of the Catholic Church. You really can’t have it both ways. Martin Luther was just one man who did not want to be told what to do, who pridefully believed HE possessed the “true” interpretation of Scripture. I respectfully submit to you that you chose to attend a Lutheran church because its teachings made it easier for you to do what you knew was wrong. If the Lutheran church you attend has any authority in your life, it’s simply because YOU decided to give it that authority. But I have no doubt that if the Lutherans condemned IVF, you would have searched for a church that condoned it until you found one and then joined that. We are not the source of truth and we can’t rely on our “feelings” to determine what’s true. Jesus gave us the universal church, guided by the Holy Spirit, and unlike Lutheranism, the teachings of the Church have not changed since it was founded. And that includes teachings about the sacredness of the marital embrace and the sacredness of life that we cocreate with God within it. God bless you.ReplyCancel

  • LilySeptember 10, 2012 - 11:45 am

    Kristi, you said:

    “And your right! God decides whether you get pregnant with IVF or not as well.”

    I would like to follow this logic for a moment. This sentence implies that the means through which you get pregnant doesn’t matter because God is still in control of the life created. But this is like saying that rape is okay because God created a life out of it. Or that premarital sex is okay because God created a life out of it. Or that killing another person is okay because even though someone else does it, God is still the one who decides who lives and who dies. See how it doesn’t follow? Babies can be conceived through sin, too, and it still doesn’t make the sin okay.

    To use IVF is to separate the unitive and procreative purposes of sex. This is why it is wrong. Procreation becomes the only end, just like union becomes the only end when a couple uses contraception. They are both wrong for the same reason.ReplyCancel

  • KristiSeptember 10, 2012 - 2:55 pm

    Hi Ladies, thank you all for your thoughtful replies and I do plan to reply to each one. I am sneaking on here while my children are finishing up math (we homeschool), so I have to be quick! 🙂

    I wanted to comment on this quickly…

    Misty said: He recognized, in other words, that Christianity becomes a bloated, ego-centered mess when individuals are allowed to decide for themselves what is true and what’s not.

    Luther isn’t the only one to come this this assumption, the Catholic church has changed stances on many things throughout the years. 🙂

    be back later!
    KristiReplyCancel

  • MartinaSeptember 10, 2012 - 3:40 pm

    **Luther isn’t the only one to come this this assumption, the Catholic church has changed stances on many things throughout the years.**

    Not on Dogma and Doctrine…this is the point that Misty is making. The stances you refer to are not dogmatic.ReplyCancel

  • KristiSeptember 10, 2012 - 6:18 pm

    Martina wrote: Not on Dogma and Doctrine…this is the point that Misty is making. The stances you refer to are not dogmatic.

    The changes of the Second Vatican Council were Dogmatic and Doctrinal. Many, many Catholics were upset by those changes and some do not even acknowledge the changes and still go by the Church before that time.

    Honestly, I’m not here to change any persons religion. I enjoy reading this blog. And I do share many of your beliefs, opinions and ideas. Catholicism and Lutheranism (ironically Martin Luther never wanted his own religion, let alone named after him!)are so very close in belief (believe it or not, lol) My (very) Catholic mother was astounded when she came to our church for our boys’ Holy Communion. She couldn’t believe how much the same it was. I digress, I just wanted Marie to know that I do hope (very much) she has a baby, whether it be biologicial, adopted or fostered.
    KristiReplyCancel

  • KristiSeptember 10, 2012 - 6:20 pm

    Lily said: To use IVF is to separate the unitive and procreative purposes of sex. This is why it is wrong. Procreation becomes the only end, just like union becomes the only end when a couple uses contraception. They are both wrong for the same reason.

    Does this mean that a couple who knows they are infertile should not have sex because it is the only end?ReplyCancel

  • kristiSeptember 10, 2012 - 6:21 pm

    *biological* honestly, I can spell! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • LilySeptember 10, 2012 - 6:34 pm

    Kristi, the changes of Vatican II were not dogmatic or doctrinal. If you read the actual documents of Vatican II you will see that. If you differ on this, please cite actual doctrines that you believe changed and we can talk about them individually.

    I’m afraid Holy Communion in the Catholic and Lutheran churches is completely different, even if the externals look the same. In the Catholic Church, priests have God-given authority to invoke the Holy Spirit so that the bread and wine become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. In the Lutheran Church, no one has such authority, so what you receive is purely bread and wine, unfortunately. Lutheranism and Catholicism may be close, but this is exactly the division that Christ prayed against, and which the first apostles warned against.ReplyCancel

  • LilySeptember 10, 2012 - 6:35 pm

    “Does this mean that a couple who knows they are infertile should not have sex because it is the only end?”

    No, because they do not actively do anything to hinder fertility.ReplyCancel

  • KristiSeptember 10, 2012 - 8:19 pm

    Kristi, the changes of Vatican II were not dogmatic or doctrinal. If you read the actual documents of Vatican II you will see that. If you differ on this, please cite actual doctrines that you believe changed and we can talk about them individually.

    I’m afraid Holy Communion in the Catholic and Lutheran churches is completely different, even if the externals look the same. In the Catholic Church, priests have God-given authority to invoke the Holy Spirit so that the bread and wine become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. In the Lutheran Church, no one has such authority, so what you receive is purely bread and wine, unfortunately. Lutheranism and Catholicism may be close, but this is exactly the division that Christ prayed against, and which the first apostles warned against.

    I’m going to quote Marie here “we can agree to disagree” 🙂

    “Does this mean that a couple who knows they are infertile should not have sex because it is the only end?”

    No, because they do not actively do anything to hinder fertility.

    But earlier: To use IVF is to separate the unitive and procreative purposes of sex. This is why it is wrong. Procreation becomes the only end, just like union becomes the only end when a couple uses contraception. They are both wrong for the same reason.

    The union becomes the only end when someone is born without a uterus, fallopian tubes or husband has zero sperm count. And they are aware.ReplyCancel

  • LilySeptember 10, 2012 - 8:31 pm

    “I’m going to quote Marie here “we can agree to disagree””

    Sure, but I think we should talk about the actual doctrines of Vatican II you say changed before any more use of the “Vatican II changed doctrine” argument. To go on believing that there were, in fact, doctrines that changed, would be to remain ignorant about a significant portion of history in the Catholic Church.

    Also, I encourage you to think about under what authority the Lutheran “Holy Communion” becomes so.

    “The union becomes the only end when someone is born without a uterus, fallopian tubes or husband has zero sperm count. And they are aware.”

    There is a big difference between actively doing something to separate the unitive and procreative aspects of sex (IVF, contraception) and simply acting in accordance with nature. Pregnant women, infertile couples, menopausal women all would fall under “acting in accordance with nature.” To *separate* the unitive and procreative aspects of sex is to *do* something to cause it. Someone who doesn’t do anything but follow the designs of her body does not cause the separation.ReplyCancel

  • MartinaSeptember 11, 2012 - 7:56 am

    Kristi, we hope you’ll stick around, but as evidenced by your many posts, you show a very large chasm in lack of knowledge of the Faith, starting by saying VII was a dogmatic or doctrinal council.

    Not to throw a wrench in this but if you are no longer a practicing Catholic {btw, you will always be a Catholic by virtue of your baptism – it is an indelible mark on your soul that no man made religion can remove}, I fail to see how it’s possible that you can “school” me or the others here who strive to live our Catholic Faith each and every day. You are basically saying “no, I know better because I left the Church.”

    Really and truly, your catechesis is nominal at best. I urge you to revisit what the Church teaches in the hopes that you will one day not only submit to the Church, but Christ as well. There is a reason why Christ refers to the Church as His bride. One day I pray you will see the Faith for what it is instead of what you perceive it to be.ReplyCancel

  • MarieSeptember 12, 2012 - 5:43 am

    Kristi~

    I apologize for disappearing as I’ve been in the middle of 2 extremely busy days at work.

    Again, I thank you for taking the time to visit our blog & comment & attempt to learn (at least I hope this is an attempt to learn through this debate) I would urge you, if you are truly interested in learning more, to really reflect & pray.

    As you saw in my October post, I considered leaving the Catholic church over my desire to pursue further infertility treatments, but even in my deep pain I knew that leaving would not make it right. I knew that as a human my OPINION didn’t supersede church teaching. There’s a Bible verse that says “I have more to tell you but you cannot bear it now” & I reflected on that verse often over the years & believe that someday this struggle will all make sense.

    I am truly sorry for the struggled you’ve gone through. It’s not fair you lost your Fallopian tubes & I’m thrilled that you have three beautiful children. I pray that they always grow to feel a connection to Christ & that some day they will be able to experience the true fullness of the Eucharist.

    Please find a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic church. I believe if you read it with an open mind you will see that it’s actually very consistent. And you will see that really not THAT much has changed over the years. The teachings of the Church always have been motivated by love & respect for the rights of the individual, made in the image of God.

    God bless you Kristi, please stick around & tell your friends about us! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • LSeptember 13, 2012 - 10:29 pm

    My husband and I also dealt with infertility for the first four years of our marriage. It was a terrible cross to bear and I pray that the women who experience it will find a conduit to motherhood be it through adoption, conception or spiritual motherhood.

    When we did treatments with Pope Paul VI’s center in Omaha, we used a preforated condom to collect a semen sample for testing. I trusted this was within Church teaching since the institute is faithful to the magisterium.

    But this brings up an interesting question for me: what if semen were collected in that manner and then used for IVF? The act that brought about the semen was unitive and procreative, in that case. Thoughts?ReplyCancel

  • HannahSeptember 14, 2012 - 11:55 am

    To respond to your question L, I think it boils down to two things 1)the fact that the egg cannot be obtained in a similar matter and as such the unitive and procreative aspects are separated no matter how the semen is procured and 2)the fact that even if the egg could be procured in a similar fashion, the egg would still be removed from the woman and the actual fertilization would take place elsewhere thus separating the unitive and procreative aspects of the marital embrace.ReplyCancel

  • LSeptember 14, 2012 - 2:04 pm

    Thank you, Hannah, for your response! I appreciate that you took the time.

    You are right; the egg cannot be harvested in the same way because the egg is released in a woman independantly from the marital embrace. Sex is not required in order for an egg to be released.

    So can someone use the marital embrace to produce semen and then use it for infertility treatments?ReplyCancel

  • HannahSeptember 14, 2012 - 9:15 pm

    I don’t believe so L. As soon as the semen collected is used outside the marital embrace (there is some debate about IUI on this issue if the semen is collected in the manner you specified previously) you are separating the unitive and procreative aspects of the marital embrace.

    Basically, it is possible to licitly collect semen samples for testing purposes using a perforated condom but it would never be licit to use that semen to fertilize an egg outside of the woman’s body.ReplyCancel

  • KristiSeptember 14, 2012 - 10:36 pm

    Martina said:
    Kristi, we hope you’ll stick around, but as evidenced by your many posts, you show a very large chasm in lack of knowledge of the Faith, starting by saying VII was a dogmatic or doctrinal council.

    Not to throw a wrench in this but if you are no longer a practicing Catholic {btw, you will always be a Catholic by virtue of your baptism – it is an indelible mark on your soul that no man made religion can remove}, I fail to see how it’s possible that you can “school” me or the others here who strive to live our Catholic Faith each and every day. You are basically saying “no, I know better because I left the Church.”

    Really and truly, your catechesis is nominal at best. I urge you to revisit what the Church teaches in the hopes that you will one day not only submit to the Church, but Christ as well. There is a reason why Christ refers to the Church as His bride. One day I pray you will see the Faith for what it is instead of what you perceive it to be.

    Honestly, I’m not sure what to say. to be honest, I’m hurt. I stated early on that I am not trying to sway anyone into changing anything. And I am not a Lutheran, I’m a Christian. I was aware that I’m Catholic because of my baptism according to my Italian, devout Catholic mother (my twin boys are also but my poor daughter is not, so I suppose she is hell-bound?). I read here because I enjoy it. I loved Misty’s post about college. Because I can afford to send my kids, but it doesn’t mean I will.
    I was honestly asking questions and instead of answers (and where to find them) I got snide and snarky remarks. I never stated I was a Theologian, but if “my catechesis is nominal at best” I guess it’s not ok to ask questions here, just read and believe what you read.
    I left the church many years before I found out I was infertile. It had nothing to do with IVF. Priests not being able to marry was a big one for me (when in the past they were able to according to scripture). I believe (again my OPINION) that it is a tall order to ask of a man (all men sin) to remain celibate. I also believe that many years ago it was common for gay men to “hide” in the priesthood. And the shortages of priests today (in my opinion) is one of the reasons, it’s more acceptable today than it was 50 yrs ago. Another was confession to a person (not directly to God), no one could ever show me where it was Biblical, not just a church teaching (and where did that teaching come from?). And the Catechism, when was it published and where did the doctrine come from? I attended Catholic Catechism for 13 yrs and no one could/or did answer my questions.
    I grew disenchanted, naturally. And the lack of love, caring and Christ-likeness when I would questions that challenged someone knowing something other than “what they were taught”. I feel as though we need to obey the Golden Rule to all people. That is what attracts people to churches, other people and etc. Not how “religious” you are, but the inner love of God that you reflect. The sad part is I think that is why a lot of people leave or don’t attend church. We have churches closing here left and right. The parish my parents belong to have two priests and they say mass 7 different times at 2 different parishes. And people just don’t go to church anymore, it’s a fact. So our pushing them away, only makes the problem worse.
    After I left I attended a non-denominational church for probably 8 years. But I didn’t like how that “changed” too. I missed the liturgy, the order of service and the Eucharist! Which is what led us to the Lutheran church. Ironically I have ruffled some feathers here and didn’t mean to. I was simply telling my story, which obviously I didn’t tell enough of.
    KristiReplyCancel

  • LilySeptember 14, 2012 - 11:35 pm

    Kristi, I am so sorry you feel that all you are getting are snide remarks. I’ve been Catholic all my life and it’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve learned the faith more in depth than ever before. I thought I knew all about the church and the church’s teachings and I had my own opinions about them, too (and I couldn’t answer objections similar to yours!), until I went deeper and I realized that Catholic teachings are 100% biblical, if you have the patience to really study the Bible and are not satisfied with getting individual verses quoted at you. My husband is a Protestant Christian, too, so I was really forced to study objections to the Catholic faith almost identical to what you have listed. I’ve come out a much stronger Catholic, though scratching my head as to why none of this has been taught for the past decades. 🙂
    There is a lot in your last post, but I would just like to address two things. First, the idea that confession is not biblical. I was so surprised to find that the first thing Jesus said to the Apostles when He appeared to them in the Upper Room after the Resurrection was “Peace be with you” and then “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” [Jesus gives men authority in the same way that Jesus had received authority from the Father.] Then, Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
    This must have been pretty important if it was the first thing He did with His Apostles after the Resurrection. Jesus gave them the authority to forgive sins. (If you remember from earlier in the gospels, people asked him with what authority He forgave people their sins, and He said with the authority given Him by the Father. And now He is sending the Apostles just like the Father sent Him.)
    He also gave them authority to retain sins, which meant that the Apostles would have had to hear the sins and make a judgment as to whether the person was truly repentant, and withhold absolution if the person was not. This is what we Catholics obey by going to confession, and yes, priests do withhold absolution if they know for a fact the person is not repentant (e.g., a man is committing adultery and goes to confession because he knows it’s wrong but then tells the priest he doesn’t intend to end it.).
    Furthermore, in James 5 we see explicitly mentioned the practice of confessing sins: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” So yes, confession is 100% biblical.

    As far as celibacy, you are right, in the beginning, there were married priests. But what is also biblical is that Jesus told his disciples that celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven is a higher calling than marriage. He said that not everyone can do this, but those who can, should:

    “I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”
    [His] disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
    He answered, “Not all can accept [this] word, but only those to whom that is granted.
    Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, _because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven._ Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.” (Matthew 19:9-12)

    It is entirely possible for God to sanctify men to where they can control their sexual desires, and indeed, He says so right here.

    Also:
    (Keep in mind St. Paul was not present when Jesus taught the above to His Apostles)
    “Now in regard to virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord,* but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. So this is what I think best because of the present distress: that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a separation. Are you free of a wife? Then do not look for a wife. If you marry, however, you do not sin, nor does an unmarried woman sin if she marries; but such people will experience affliction in their earthly life, and I would like to spare you that.”

    So if St. Paul, who received infused knowledge from the Lord, thinks it IS possible and, in fact, _better_ for the unmarried to remain unmarried, why shouldn’t we?

    As far as the Catechism goes, it is simply the written collection of Catholic teaching in all subjects, which comes from Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (remember St. Paul said we should hold fast to the teachings we have received from them “by word of mouth” _or_ by letter). But if you would like to address what is IN the Catechism, it really should be done one doctrine/teaching at a time, since what matters isn’t the “book” of the Catechism itself but rather the teachings it contains. (Luther and Calvin both published their own catechisms, and the earliest catechism we have is the Didache, from the late first or early second century, whose first line reads “Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles (or Nations) by the Twelve Apostles.”)

    Kristi, I would love to keep this conversation going, so if you feel led to, please feel free to email me at lily@veilsbylily.com. God bless you!ReplyCancel

  • ErikaSeptember 14, 2012 - 11:47 pm

    Kristi – I’m sorry to read that ayou think any of the above comments were snide or snarky. However, you persist in trying to tell practicing Catholics what Catholicism teaches and argue that you know the Catholic Church better as a fallen-away member than women who are living their Faith. (BTW I don’t mean the fallen-away as an insult, just a descriptive term since you no longer practice or believe as Catholics do).

    You say that you were never given answers or where to find them, but if you read through the comments to you again, you will find that the answers lie in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Then you also ask when the Catechism was created. Well, according to the dog-eared copy I have, Pope John XXIII commissioned the Second Vatican Council “to guard and present better the precious deposit of Christian doctrine in order to make it more accessible to the Christian faithful and to all people of good will.” He specifically asked the members of the council not to condem the errors of the time, but to show the beauty and strength of the doctrine of faith. The doctrines illuminated by Vatican II were found among the beliefs and practices of Catholics all over the world. The Council was called to order in 1962 and closed in 1965. The Catechism was produced from this body of work at the request of the faithful. In 1986 Pope John Paul II commissioned the beginnings of the Catechsim. It was completed and presented in 1992. Not only did the CCC pull from Vatican II, it also once again approached Catholics across the world to compile a definitive set of doctrines and dogmas that had Scriptural and Traditional basis and widespread use. Prior to the CCC, small locales had their own Catechsims. Based on this information, I don’t think it is necessary to argue whether Vatican II changed doctrine or dogmas because all Vatican II did was reflect what was already happening in the Church as a whole.

    A celibate priesthood is not a new idea. St Paul indicates that men, like him, wholly dedicated to the Church should stay celibate. Biblically a celibate priesthood is mentioned in Matthew 19:12 and 1 Cor 7:32. While all men do sin, I think it is a sad sign of our times that no one thinks a sincere and dedicated man can maintain a celibate state. The Sacrament of Holy Orders has a prayer of consecration that asks for the graces of the Holy Spirit required for ministry be presented to the ordained. It is also important to note that there were many consecrated virgins (male and female) dedicated within the Jewish faith. It was not unheard of for those seeking God to remain celibate. So there is a long standing historical basis for a celibate priesthood.

    I think we all know that men sin and do things for the wrong reason. Yet, to blame the Church for these sins is a stretch. No one can refute that gay men and perverts hid among priests. However, it is also worthwhile to note that the traitor Judas hid among the faithful disciples. These wolves in sheep’s clothing do not define the priests of the Church any more than Judas defined the Apostles.

    Confession to a priest is not simply confessing your sins to another human. I you truly believe that the Holy Spirit gives the priest the ability to act as Christ you know that when you speak to the priest in the confessional, you are speaking to Christ. I’m not sure of your beliefs, but if you believe that bread and wine can be transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ by the priest, why would it be so difficult to see that same priest standing in as Christ for Confession. Biblically, confession to men (ordained by Christ himself) is represented in John 20:21-23, 2 Cor 5:18, 2 Cor 5:20, Luke 15; 19:9, Matthew 18:18; 28:16-20. To fully understand (to the best of our human abilities) the CCC has an entire section devoted to the Sacrament of Reconcilliation: Article 4 sections 1422-1498. In the CCC you’ll find not only Scriptural references, but also writing of the early Church Fathers explaining why the Church believes the way we do.

    If you are only trying to find answers, please look at the CCC and other Catholic apologetics information with an open heart, mind, and soul. The Truth is there, we all just have to be willing to see it. Sometimes we are called to believe without full understanding because our feeble minds cannot grasp the infinite mind of God. We all do our best, but sometimes our best isn’t good enough for others.

    Sorry, I wrote a book… God bless you and yours.ReplyCancel

  • KristiSeptember 15, 2012 - 1:26 am

    Lily and Erika, thank you for your replies and answers. I’m exhausted at the moment. Father Girzone is a friend of my father and our family. I think this latest post of his sums up what I think a lot of the time.

    http://joshuamountain.org/postings/

    I noticed you have Conversion Diary listed in your sites below, wonderful blog! I have been reading Jen’s blog for years, her story is amazing. She really has a heart for people. I clicked on the link here at Catholic Sista’s and it leads to an old post from last year with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist and also Martina in it. If you re-link it after you go to her home page, it will be the most recent posting for others who want to stay current. 🙂
    KristiReplyCancel

  • LilySeptember 15, 2012 - 6:52 am

    Kristi, I am not sure what you mean to say by posting that blog. Could you clarify?ReplyCancel

  • LSeptember 15, 2012 - 8:52 am

    I once had a friend tell me that we have a choice when we are talking to our “seperated bretheren”, as Vatican 2 calls our brothers and sisters in Protestant faiths. We can be invitational or confrontational. We must ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in the approach we take with them, but 90% of the time, being invitational is what keeps the conversation going. It is what makes the other feel loved. Our sister Kristi mentioned that she was feeling attacked by some of the comments here. Perhaps an invitational approach would be the best option in talking with her. I do not mean to say that one should not defend our beautiful faith resolutely, but the tone and language one uses can make all the difference in the world.

    There is a woman I know who loves her Catholic faith so much. She had a quiet, loving manner about her. She spoke so lovingly about the Eucharist. I think of her every time I go to communion. I also had an uncle who would holler and yell about those who broke the Church’s laws. Guess which one cultivated a love of the faith in me?ReplyCancel

  • KristiSeptember 15, 2012 - 10:33 am

    Lily- I didn’t really mean anything by it, other than I agree with what he was saying in his post. When he says “our” religion and “The Church” he is referring to his religion, Catholicism. He is a retired priest and author. I went searching for something to read last night after posting how I felt and my story. And I found that.

    L- you are exactly right. I experienced one special, VERY lovely Cathechism teacher. I think I was in 5th or 6th grade. She made me want to be a better Catholic (and person). She really peaked my interest in learning more. And I think I did learn more that year than any other. It was her loving and caring personality that made me think, wow, this person is reflecting the true love of Christ! She wasn’t married and had no children either, so maybe there is something to that teaching, lol! 🙂
    Anyway, I digress, again I do love to read here and will continue doing so. 🙂
    KristiReplyCancel

  • LilySeptember 15, 2012 - 2:11 pm

    Ok, gotcha! Yeah, and I agree, because what brought me deeper into my faith was a sudden deepening of my relationship with Jesus through the sacraments, which made me just fall head over heels in love with Him. But the thing is, once I started studying doctrine, it made it possible to begin to understand in a much, much deeper way the unfathomable love of God. When I read Humanae Vitae, which talks about the church’s teaching on contraception and I think might also mentions IVF, my heart nearly exploded at the idea that such a deep, self-giving love is not only possible for us to experience in this life, but is also what the love of God is like. As I read it, I kept thinking, “I want that!!! Someone please tell me what I need to do to love like that!!!”
    Then, when I really got into the doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and how His sacrifice is made present before our very eyes, I was filled with awe and wonder at the kind of love God has for us that He would give Himself to us in that way and that He would let us–and not only let us, but DESIRE to–be so intimately close with Him–so close that our very tongues could touch His flesh!!! So yeah, just teaching doctrine for the sake of teaching doctrine isn’t going to do much good… but if we teach doctrine with the purpose of inflaming hearts with the infinite love of God, now that’s a different thing. Whenever I teach religion to my children, I always try to bring it all home and say that all of this is why God is so great and His love is so amazing, and when we see His greatness made known to us through doctrine, it should give us pause and make us resolute to love Him more and do His will in all things. Still, though, I try (try, at least!) to be patient with those who don’t do things as I think they should be done, because none of us is perfect. We all make mistakes and all sin, whether we are stay at home moms or leaders of the Church Jesus established.
    Thanks for sharing, Kristi!ReplyCancel