Local expert encourages wide reading of text

A new Vatican document on biomedical ethics provides a teaching opportunity, especially for infertile Catholic couples who do not understand the church’s stand against in vitro fertilization, according to a local natural family planning and fertility care specialist.

“Dignitas Personae” (“The Dignity of a Person”), an instruction issued last Friday by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reaffirms that Catholic teaching opposes all fertilization techniques that separate procreation from the conjugal act, because they “proceed as if the human embryo were simply a mass of cells to be used, selected and discarded.”

“I highly recommend that everyone read the document,” said Paul Kortz, FertilityCare coordinator at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and immediate past president of the American Academy of FertilityCare Professionals.

“Like any church document regarding the sacredness of human life, what stands out in ‘Dignitas Personae’ is an understanding that all created beings possess human dignity from the moment of conception till natural death,” Kortz told The Catholic Post.

“Keeping this in mind,” he explained, “we are all called by God to use our intellects to become participants in the work of our Creator. The gift of our intellect provides the means to share an ethical responsibility to discern if medical interventions ever compromise the sacredness of life.

“Challenging as it may be, we must make concerted efforts to educate our family, friends, and associates that participation in any intervention that undermines the dignity of the human person is to be avoided,” Kortz emphasized.

Kortz said he was especially encouraged that the new document highlights “the need for medical interventions that reestablish normal functioning human fertility.”

One such method is NaProTECHNOLOGY, a system developed by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, founder and director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Neb. Dr. Hilgers also founded the Creighton Model FertilityCare System of natural family planning.

“It is common to hear those who have gone on to study NaProTECHNOLOGY to say they have had a life changing experience and are excited to have gained knowledge about the successful treatments that are all in line with the teachings of the Church,” said Kortz.

Editor’s note — To learn more, contact the OSF Saint Francis FertilityCare Center at (309) 683-5436, or the Pope Paul VI Institute at (402) 390-6600. On the Web, see www.popepaulvi.com.

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