Blog Template Theology of the Body: Of Corpses and Babies

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Of Corpses and Babies

With court approval, Israeli parents are using their dead son's sperm to inseminate a woman he never knew. It appears to be the first explicit legal authorization to make a baby using a corpse and a stranger. Argument from the dead man's mother: "He would always talk about how he wanted to get married and have children." After he died, "His eyes he told me that it wasn't too late, and that there was still something to take from him. … Then I realized it was his sperm." The family's lawyer says more than 100 Israeli soldiers have reportedly signed "biological wills" asking to freeze their sperm if they die while serving; some U.S. troops have frozen sperm samples before going to Iraq. Lawyer's spin: "We've created a victory over nature." More here. HT: Scott Brown Online.

Uh-huh. Yup. You could make a tear jerking movie about this stuff. However.

As I read this, I could not help but think that THIS is the sort of situation where the Church rests a cool hand on our feverish attempts to conquer our own mortality and our own fears- as though, in speaking for her Savior, she would say to us at such junctures, "remember who you are."

We are not baby machines. Children are not the machinations of our technological prowess. Babies properly incarnate the holiness of a vital marital union.

CF: "A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The supreme gift of marriage is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. (Thus) techniques involving a married couple and homologous artifical insemination are morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that entrusts the life and the identity of the child into the power of doctors and scientists, and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children. These techniques infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage."

- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2376, 2377, 2378.