dissident Bishops as well as theologians are split on the morality of producing a 'test tube' baby. A high ranking official in the Floly See's Congregation for Doctrine said this week that interference with nature is not accepted by the Holy See and this has already been made clear. He added however that each case has to be examined individually.
Bishop Gerard McClean of
Middlesbrough said he was
opposed to the artificial method. "It is not the conception of a child as nature intended. I said it was wrong when these experiments began several years ago and I see no reason to change my view. Artificial insemination was condemned in a ruling some years ago by Pope Pius XII. What we are talking about now is the same sort of thing and must be covered by that decision ...it is unlawful", he said.
On the other hand Bishop Cornelius Lucey of Cork and Ross said he could see nothing wrong with childless couples using the test tube method if there was no other possible way for them to have babies.
He was supported in his statement by Fr Donal Murray, moral theologian at Clonliffe,
the Dublin diocesan seminary.
He said that the Church has . . .
no objection in principle to artificial intervention in the loving act of husband and wife ... the manner in which this test tube baby was conceived would have to be studied to see in fact if it conformed with the statement of Pope Pius XII which he made on artificial insemination in 1949.
Pope Pius ruled that artificial insemination was wrong if the donor was not the husband but he did not rule out methods which helped the natural act attain its end.
The official Vatican attitude was spelt out this week by a moral theologian working in the Vatican.
He said: "The semen must be provided naturally and it is permitted to help nature perform its task. But there must be penetration and the semen must be produced normally from both parties.
"Masturbation is ruled out by
the Church. For example, if a woman should have a miscarriage of an embryo it would be perfectly in accord with Church ruling for this embryo to be implanted in the womb of another woman. That would be helping nature. Again if there is penetration but the male semen cannot itself reach the womb, it is perfectly licit to aid nature by pushing this semen along, through injection or other means. A great deal would revolve around the circumstances of the procurement of this male and female semen before they were mingled in the test tube."
The Catholic Information Office in England and Wales issued a cautious statement by Fr Pius Smart OFM Cap. He said this was the first time the moral implications of the test tube baby have had to be seriously considered. He quoted the papal encyclicals Gitiditem it Spas and limmande Vitae but he said that the teaching of the Church would evolve slowly.
MPs stress plight of Jews
Mr Frank Judd, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, told a delegation of MPs last week that he shared their deep anxiety at the plight of the 4,500 Jews in Syria.
The MPs told Mr Judd that Jews in Syria were not allowed to emigrate and had little chance of receiving education in their faith.