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Chair of Catholic Bishops’ Conference: All forms of artificial insemination are sins

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Foto: Wikimedia Commons/Thaler Tamas

All forms of artificial insemination are considered a sin by the Catholic Church, said the chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Hungary and Bishop of Győr András Veres (pictured) in an interview with Magyar Nemzet.

Magyar Nemzet contacted Veres after he gave a passionate speech on August 20 in which he said: “Brothers, we should pay attention to another internal danger! Namely, by a deviously worded law, wrapped in the guise of good will, that ignores the values of Christ, the poison of giving up a society built on Christian values sneaks upon us unnoticed. We could see this in the provisions that increased the funding of in-vitro fertilization.”

Veres told the daily that this was not a declaration of war against IVF programs, however he insisted that the Hungarian legislation is “not appropriate according to Christian values”. When asked if he would find IVF programs more acceptable were all embryos created in laboratories to be implanted, Veres said the main problem with IVF programs is that in such programs “life does not conceive [as a result of] a natural relationship between man and woman”. Moreover, Veres added: “Additional conceptions happen amid artificial conditions. Additional embryos are either frozen and set aside, or destroyed.

“Artificial insemination is not acceptable to the Catholic Church,” he concluded.

Asked whether he condemns priests who provide spiritual support and prayers to deeply Catholic couples who cannot conceive a child and choose to take part in an IVF program in desperation, Veres categorically stated that a pastor could never give such advice as the Church’s standpoint on the protection of life is very clear and unequivocal. He said that during his decades-long pastoral duty, sterile couples who had taken his advice to adopt had often conceived their own child in a few years.

“The human body and psyche is complex, and it shows that caring for children released an inner barrier that allowed them to create a child.”

Veres said he feels sorry for Catholic pairs who took part in an IVF program, and that blame for this lies partly on priests who have too few occasions to address the issue.

“Most people do this [IVF] out of ignorance,” Veres argued. When asked if IVF children are conceived in sin, Veres gave an evasive answer: “Children are the least to blame, and parents are mostly uninformed.”

He concluded the interview by calling everyone who has participated in IVF programs outright sinners, but that “depending on how conscious the decision was on their part, the degree of the sin is more or less serious”.

The government announced in June that after many years of professional and civilian requests, it would double the number of IVF treatments supported by the state, from 6,000 to 12,000 a year. The announcement contained a promise to raise the state support of medication for IVF program participants from 70 to 90 percent. Nonetheless, as hvg.hu pointed out, the government’s recent demography policy will not be a real remedy to sterile couples, since it would only support IVF treatments undertaken in state hospitals. Eighty percent of IVF treatments take place in private institutions. State hospitals lack both the equipment and personnel to undertake 12,000 treatments a year.

Balázs Pivarnyik :