A long time ago, Father Mike told me “Catholicism is a religion, not a cult.”
I can’t remember what he was talking about exactly. But, I do remember it being about that the hierarchy of Catholicism states many things as doctrine that we as members of the religion are not required to believe, if we can logically and reasonably come to another conclusion, using our faith as our guide.
Now, this is hard to do. But there are many things that I don’t blindly believe in that the Catholic Church believes in. Because, many of their doctrines, all though created in the name of God, are created by humans, men in particular. And as time goes by many of those decisions have been recanted. Lets not forget human follies completed in the name of the Church such as the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades. The Catholic hierarchy is not infallible.
There are many other issues that I sometimes believe fall into this category, such as women not being allowed to be ordained ministers (Did you know that in the early Church women were allowed to be deacons? These women were granted powers of Baptism etc.), or how priests are not allowed to marry (Did you know this was allowed in the early Church and banned due to children and property issues?), or that unborn children may be in a continuous purgatory. (How the heck do they know? These children are pure. You can’t get any more pure?)
So, for last few months, I have been struggling with IVF. And I go back and forth – completely undecided on my position. See, I am trying to use my faith, the Holy book, and my knowledge to reason a decision on this complicated topic. Also, please note that I do not hold any judgment on anyone who uses IVF or is successful with IVF. I am just trying to figure things out for myself. I am trying to remain Catholic and while “pushing(ed) myself to the limits” as Baby Blues said.
See that is my struggle. How do I push myself to the limits, while remaining true to my faith? And do I believe in what my faith teaches is correct on this topic? How do I not loose my faith too? Infertility takes so much away as is.
I thought I had the solution with 3 IUIs and a GIFT. But outside groups are FORCING me to reconsider. Our secondary insurance has made it a requirement for us to complete 3 injectible IUIs on top of the Clomid IUI which we already have completed. Then my RE is refusing to pursue GIFT. Her statistics show that IUIs are more successful. So, she has almost flatly refused to pursue GIFT. And she is the only RE for our primary insurance network – meaning they use no other RE for the entire Boston area. Leaving us little choice about switching doctors, but it may be what we need to do in the end anyway.
But, see I am not sure how I feel about IVF. I thought I had it straight in my head. I wasn’t willing. Because the embryos would be children in my mind and that it would be too difficult to go thru all of that and have it be unsuccessful. It would only solidify my feelings of a defective body. Make me hate my own body more. All things that are not good in my opinion. Not to mention, my fear, that I may loose my mind in the process.
However, yesterday, when the nurse called to tell me I would have the choice of IVF or cancellation. I thought maybe I should consider this more closely. But, I quickly said out loud, “IVF is not an option right now for us.” I was thinking, what if it is our only option. What if, I am such a good responder that this will happen continuously? What if, IVF will be our only option? Leaving me with no choice but to truly think this completely. It was no longer something I could examine later if need be. It was a right now question.
So my thought process began:
First, the Church approves of drugs for ovulation and procedures that allow for increasing your odds without fertilization. (Please note I know that this is an over simplification of the doctrine.) So, they are reinforcing their belief that life starts at conception. However, as many of us know, fertilization may happen without implantation ever occurring. So, are they insinuating that there is more mysticism with fertilization, than implantation, or the life itself? Is the thought process that life is started at fertilization and therefore medical science shouldn’t have the same privilege? Is this thought process established to prevent confusion with pro-choice doctrine?
This point, perplexes me to no end. Personally, I do believe that life is created at fertilization. But, I also know that if we are lucky enough to get fertilized embryos, that is no guarantee of implantation. I truly believe, that God’s hand is involved with implantation and maybe that this is actually where life is started. This thought process reinforces my belief that children conceived thru IVF, are gifts from God because implantation is not a guarantee.
Secondly, the Bible states “Go forth and multiply.” That statement in itself leads me to believe that we should have children. But it doesn’t talk about how to do it. Granted at the time of the Bible, there weren’t other ways to get it done. Lets not forget that the wedding mass asks specifically if the couple is willing to accept children into their lives? Which begs the question, if we are to be willing to accept children, wouldn’t it be our responsibility to pursue them?
In the Bible, there are so many stories about women who struggled to get pregnant or who had womanly issues. Such as Sarah, or the woman who was healed by touching Jesus’ robe. In those stories, God helped them succeed in obtaining their child or healed their medical condition. But, if we have medical interventions to help us, wouldn’t it be wise to take it? Especially since the mysticism of conception is still there. It is still very much in God’s hands. Wouldn’t it be negligent not to take this opportunity given to us by medical science to our advantage? Isn’t their knowledge, granted to them by gifts given to them by God? Their intelligence, comprehension and will to want to know how to help. Aren’t those gifts?
Part II to come later….my brain currently hurts. I obviously have more questions than answers here.