Overheard on CNN.com: Can the Catholic Church change?
Sean Savage's third child was conceived via IVF and his wife carried another couple's baby to term after a transfer mistake.
May 10th, 2011
05:28 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Can the Catholic Church change?

Comment of the day: Not just anyone would be able to carry a baby to term and hand him over after birth. You are truly amazing people. -Summer819

Religion and conception

In a CNN.com "Belief Blog" post, Sean Savage explains why he believes the Catholic Church should reverse its opposition to in vitro fertilization, challenging the church’s stance that the only moral route to conceiving a child is through sexual intercourse. Savage, a lifelong Catholic, is the co-author of a book about the subject. He and his wife pursued IVF but accidentally received an embryo belonging to another couple. The mistake generated an intense media storm, and the day the child was born, the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, Ohio, publicly condemned IVF as "morally unacceptable.”

CNN.com readers who had either conceived or were conceived via IVF appreciated the column.

Jamie said, “Thank you for sharing your educated, well-expressed opinion. In a perfect world, couples won't have to choose between their church and their desire to build a family.” Charlie said, “I also want to thank you for your article. As the Catholic parents of a beautiful boy conceived through IVF we also feel blessed by God and in no way do we feel that we did anything wrong. The Catholic Church should understand that it is not only science involved in the process, but the blessing of God.” Amy said, “What a great article. I am a Catholic mother and we conceived our daughter using IVF. My husband had cancer as a child, which gave us little chance of ever naturally creating a child. God truly blessed us with our daughter and how she became is still a gift from God.” Tova said, “I am a woman conceived by IVF. My parents are Catholic – I left the church as a teenager, almost entirely because of this issue. I am here because I am meant to be here. It is not that my parents 'were not meant to have children' (though that's what my priest cousin told them, and that they should repent when they became pregnant with me).”

Others without an apparent connection to IVF  shared their thoughts about the controversy.

BigQuestions said, “If you believe that life begins at conception, IVF essentially results in the creation of many children, most of which will die before they even reach the womb (IE, many embryos do not survive thawing). If you believe that life begins at some other point along the path of pregnancy, you have started down a slippery slope that is used to rationalize abortion, etc. My wife and I have compassion for everyone else who is faced with these decisions. Ultimately we decided that we cannot set an arbitrary point when life begins and as such, couldn't go through with IVF.” Mario said, “Human life begins when an embryo is properly attached to the womb. Until this happens, the embryo is not a human being. This is the current approach in science. Moreover, Jesus Christ was not the product of a conjugal act.” Eric said, “If you check the scientific research, you will see that most ‘naturally’ conceived embryos do not survive either. Most of the time, a failure to properly implant in the uterine wall or an error in early cell division results in a spontaneous miscarriage, often before the woman has any idea that she is pregnant.”

Other readers either shared their support for the Catholic Church or condemned their stance on IVF.

David said, “I pray that we all look into our hearts to follow not what we want, or what we think is right, but what is right. We must be careful not to let what we say lead others astray. The church is our mother, who leads and guides us. It is not easy, but in the end it will be so comforting. May we all pray for God's mercy, guidance and understanding.” Dan responded, “David is somehow assuming that the Catholic Church is always right and people shouldn't think for themselves. David is wrong and that is a very dangerous position to take.” *SIGH* said, “If you are Catholic, you must accept the pope as the hand of God. In other words, the pope is your God. Live with it happily or find a church that is in line with your beliefs if you are not going to accept Catholicism in full and just piecemeal.” Michael said, “Sean: You and your family certainly deserve compassion here. As a fellow Catholic, I hope the lord gives you his grace to bear the cross of infertility. Also know that I am sure many have prayed for you and your family and perhaps even your bishop, who was likely well-intentioned to avoid confusion on the issue but missed the mark on compassion.”

Prime Minister gives up salary

Japan’s Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, said Tuesday that he will give up his salary until the nuclear crisis in the country is over. CNN.com readers praised his decision and questioned whether U.S. leaders would ever do the same.

kevinweslyn said, “An inspirational gesture. The disaster was not at all his fault or responsibility, yet he shows this solidarity with the Japanese people in order to underline how the populace is connected.” iperlady09 said, “I'm amazed by the honor and self-restraint the Japanese people have shown over the last few weeks. This sacrifice shown by the prime minister is how one truly leads by example.”

newsound said, “Would ANY U.S. politician show such benevolence and vision? Not in a million years!” AlienShark said, “Bloomberg doesn't take a salary for the position of mayor ... just sayin.”

Guest said, “Would that every rich CEO do something like this. We would be back in black in no time. Great sacrifice there, PM. Blessings to you!" marjie said, “The CEO of my husband's company didn't take a salary for several years rather than let employees go without jobs or raises. I was very impressed that he cared that much."

Bobby56 said, “I wish Congress would do the same thing since they bankrupted the country with mismanagement." vivismama said, “I agree, maybe after that they could be able to raise minimum wage so people just might be able to survive on it.”

Arnold and Maria split

After 25 years of marriage, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have announced that they are separating. The news came as a surprise to many readers who posted comments of support, while others took the opportunity to work in some of Schwarzenegger’s most popular movie lines.

misstrixie said, “That's too bad. I have always liked this couple. Maybe they'll work it out." fedupintexas said, “Too bad! I like Arnold and Maria! Glad he's making movies again!” And FullyAutoMag said, “Nice to see they can separate without going ballistic on each other.”

On a different note, BSideSlater said, “I left my wife and now I'm looking for Sarah Conner.”

ankanlion8 said, “Terminated!” elkilo said, “Hasta la vista baby.”

And the most popular movie line invoked? ucer0t said, “Arnold, I suggest you suck it up, look Maria in the eyes and tell her, ‘I'll be back.’” 5OnionRings said, “They'll be back.” arthurlele said, “He'll be back.” Waitforit said, “Don't worry Arnie, she'll be back.” OrangeGreen said, “I guess he won't be back.”

soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Joey

    I see no reason for the Roman Catholic Church to change.
    There are many other reputable denominations of the Christian religion, such as the theologically thoughtful Episcopal Church in America.
    The Roman Church offers a service that many humans want, and think that they need.
    The Roman Church will always be more materially successful if it changes as little as possible.

    May 10, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yahoo

      Yes, I hope they resist change. Then their obsolescence will be even starker than it is already. Roman catholicism is going extinct, and should.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jackal&jester

    Those that don't change risk falling behind.

    May 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey

    As long as we are in the world, there is always risk.

    May 10, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jazzzzzzzz

    trouble posting cnn

    May 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jazzzzzzzz

    thank you 🙂

    May 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jazzzzzzzz

    Hello Joey

    May 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jazzzzzzzz

    AHHHHHHHHHHHH, trying to say something about the Pope guess they dont want to hear it

    May 10, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey

    Sorry, Jazzzz.
    Why don't you recast the sentences?

    May 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey

    I very much admire the Roman Catholic priest in Florida–forgot his name–who wanted to marry, converted to the Anglican Communion, married, and continued his calling.

    May 10, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jazzzzzzzz

    you mean copy/paste

    May 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joey

    I meant, rewrite your comment so that you get to state your opinion without being thwarted.
    I had trouble posting, too, when I got back from work.

    May 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. kim

    Who cares to some of these fanatic every egg should hatch even when nature won't allow it.

    May 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey

    I am intensely grateful for artificial insemination: it gave me and my sister life.

    May 10, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jazzzzzzzz

    it won't post CNN is the pitts

    May 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy

    Hi, Joey.
    Hi, Jazzzzz.

    I was baptized into the Roman Catholic faith, but I'm not a practicing Catholic (much to my mother-in-law's chagrin) I found some of their beliefs to be a tad bit hypocritical.

    That being said, I agree with Joey; the RCC will be very slow to change, but change they might, as the die-hard Catholics begin to-forgive me-die off. (And for clarification, I'm talking about the US.)
    The RC faith is practiced around the world; I don't foresee too much change in the future.

    And for what it's worth, I agree with the poster who said Jesus wasn't a product of a conjugal act.

    May 10, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
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