By: Winifride Prestwich

Is there any guide to the stands of the Christian churched in Canada on new reproductive technology?

M.R Winnipeg

As far as I am aware, the only country where a researcher has attempted to obtain the views of the Christian churches and the Jews is Australia. The results, admittedly, are very tentative and general, but they are of value. The survey covered Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics, Jews, Lutherans and Presbyterians.

Every religion condemned the following: ovum and embryo donations; in-vitro fertilization outside of marriage; embryo freezing; cloning; human-animal hybrids; genetic engineering; ectogenisis; non-human wombs (e.g. human embryos in sheep or pigs); sex selection of children. Other questions showed differences of opinions, not only between groups but within the groups themselves. The Roman Catholics vetoed all the new-reproductive technologies. Anglican, Baptist, and Lutheran groups would allow artificial insemination by the husband and (with some reservations) so would Jews and Presbyterians.

All the groups refused to sanction artificial insemination by a donor, through Presbyterians had some reservations. Anglicans and Baptists would allow in-vitro fertilization within marriage, and (again with reservations) so would some Jews and Presbyterians.

Generally, all groups were against surrogate motherhood and womb leasing; and all destructive experimentation on any human embryo – either spare or specially created for research –the first 14 days.

In summary, with the exceptions of artificial insemination within marriage, and in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer within marriage, all Australian religious groups were against new-reproductive technologies. It should be said, however, that, as in Canada, there might or would be differences of opinion even within a congregation.

I was given a copy of a pro-life prayer which I was told came from the Archbishop of Vancouver. I said the prayer daily, but somehow I mislaid it. Do you know it?

S.L Kitchener

I think this is the prayer you mean. It is from Life in our Hands: A Pro-Life Strategy for the Archdiocese of Vancouver

Prayer for Reverence for Life

Almighty God, giver of all that is good, we thank you for the precious gift of human life:

  • for life in The womb, coming from your creative power,
  • for the life of children, making us glad with their freshness and promise.
  • for the life of young people, hoping for a better world,
  • for the life of the handicapped and disabled, teaching us humility
  • for the life of the elderly, witnessing to the ageless values of patience and wisdom.

Like Blessed Mary, may we always say “YES” to your gift. May we defend it and promote it from conception to its natural end. And bring us at last, O Father, to the fullness of eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord.