I PROMISE we’ll be getting back to more typical Quidquid material next post. Whenever that will be.
Why is the Church against artificial insemination?
There are reasons the Church is against artificial insemination, especially as practiced today. I turn your attention to two magisterial documents, both put out by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Donum Vitae (The Gift of Life) and Dignitatis Personae (The Dignity of a Person). All other statements dealing with the topic of artificial human reproduction draw from these two important documents.
Also, we should be clear that the Church’s qualms here are with human artificial insemination. The procedures can be performed on pandas, elephants, and other animals, as well as plants, without any moral complaint.
A few points, then.
First, we must remember that children are not rights. No one has a right to a child, as if a child were listed with food, shelter, and clothing as essential things for our lives. Children are not property to be created, bought, and sold. They are human beings. They have their own dignity and natural rights.
Second, the Church has issue with how these artificial procedures separate the sexual act from the process of creating life. Sex is life-giving and love-giving. These procedures aren’t really life-giving, in the way sexual intercourse is. Really, they are life-making. Just as the Church is not in favor of separating fecundity from sexual acts, as is found in recreational, casual sex, so also she is against life-making from sexual process.
Third, the process of artificial insemination often involves other ethical issues. The sperm used in the fertilization is typically procured via masturbation. Most egregious is the fact that many of the unused embryos (that is, developing babies) are either frozen, used in other IVF procedures, used for experimentation (and destroyed), or simply discarded (and die). This does not get into the potential for “designer babies.”
For a brief overview of the Church’s teaching, as well as notes referencing key passages in Donum Vitae, see CCC 2373-2379.
Are the people who run and work in the porn industry looked down upon by Catholics?
For a lot more on this topic, see Matt Fradd, The Porn Myth. He draws a lot on statistics about pornography, including information relevant to this topic.
To the question.
The Church has always taught we should hate sin but love the sinner. Producing and distributing pornography is gravely wrong on several levels. Let us parse this out.
Viewing pornography is wrong. It reduces another person to the level of an object. The person in the pornographic material is not viewed as a person, but rather as a thing through which the viewer will receive sexual satisfaction. There is a similarity between using pornography and owning slaves; both stem from a mindset that views certain people as objects to be used. As such, many pornographers abuse in various ways the subjects of their pornographic materials. One study found that over 88% of pornographic material contains some sort of physical abuse of women, while of the same sample size, 48% contained verbal abuse, again against women.
This doesn’t even get into the negative effects pornography use has on viewers, nor the reality of underage pornography, where subjects as young as 12 or 13 are made up to look over 18, or not, as there is a market for child pornography.
The Catholic response to all of this should not be “oh my, pornographers are horrible people,” even if we look at the moral wasteland that is the porn industry. We should pray for them and for the subjects of pornographic material, many of whom have no choice to be in those videos or pictures. The subjects often enter the industry out of desperation, or a need for funds, or (in the most dire cases) because their life was threatened. Recall the sex trafficking video you watched last year in Theology. One of the girls interviewed was tricked into the world of prostitution, and was trapped by her pimp into being raped; the rape was recorded and distributed as pornography.
Few little girls and boys announce that they want to be porn stars. That’s never, as far as I can tell, one’s primary goal in life.
The problem with pornographers is that they bring others to sin, be it their subjects or their audience. All for easy money.
If you watch, make, or distribute pornography, especially of minors, please stop and get help. Talk to a priest. Talk to a counselor. Talk to someone. But get help.