During an annual speech about threats to human dignity across the globe, Pope Francis condemned the practice of surrogacy. This is not the first time that the Pope has publicly decried the common practice.  Compared to some of his relatively progressive views on sexuality, these conservative comments on surrogacy may alienate some people within the Church.

What Has the Pope Said About Surrogacy?

In his recent address to the public, the Pope called surrogacy a "despicable" practice. He characterized it as a grave violation of the dignity of women and children, citing the fact that poor women in desperate need are often exploited for their ability to bear children. To close the speech, The Pope called for a universal ban on surrogacy, urging nations across the globe to unite in prohibiting this practice.

How Does the Catholic Church View Surrogacy?

The Catholic Church's position on surrogacy is rooted in its broader teachings on the sanctity of life, marriage, and family. The Church opposes in vitro fertilization and surrogacy, viewing them as practices that interfere with the natural order of conception and family building.

The Church's opposition to surrogacy is based on the belief that the act commodifies the sacred process of bringing life into the world. According to Catholic doctrine, children are considered a gift from God, and their creation should occur within the sacred bonds of marriage. Despite this stance, the Vatican's doctrine office has made exceptions for same-sex parents who opt for surrogacy, allowing their children to be baptized.

What Do Critics Say About the Pope's Views?

Critics of the Pope's stance on surrogacy argue that it oversimplifies a complex ethical issue. Commercial surrogacy, particularly in countries like the United States where it is legal, is often subject to regulations that protect the rights and well-being of both surrogate mothers and intended parents. The Pope's comments appear to disregard all possible positive aspects of surrogacy.

Women also have agency and have the right to choose what to do with their bodies. People have been critical of the Pope's harsh words about surrogacy because his stance seems to lack respect for women and reproductive freedom. Placing such an intense focus on surrogacy as a global threat takes attention away from issues such as the climate crisis, global famine, geopolitical conflict, and more.

What Consequences Might This Have for the Church?

Many Catholics around the world have strong feelings about pregnancy and birth-related issues, especially abortion, the use of birth control, and surrogacy. In that way, the Pope's views on surrogacy may not shock or upset mainstream Catholics. His remarks reinforce the Church's unwavering commitment to its doctrinal teachings, which may in fact make conservative Catholics feel more empowered within the Church.

Not every person in the Catholic Church holds conservative views, however, which makes the Pope's comments that much more controversial, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community. The Pope has made some efforts to be more inclusive, but calling for a total ban on surrogacy will definitely alienate gay and lesbian members of the Church. It remains to be seen how this perspective might influence the Church's engagement with contemporary social issues and its ability to connect with a diverse and evolving global audience.

As the Church grapples with evolving societal norms, the Pope's unequivocal call for a universal ban on surrogacy sets the stage for potential internal discussions and external dialogues with individuals and communities whose views may differ. While critics challenge the Pope's position, asserting the need for nuanced considerations, the Church maintains its commitment to upholding the dignity of life within the framework of its doctrinal principles.

Category: Christianity

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