By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN CITY, January 31, 2008 ( – Addressing a plenary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith this morning, Pope Benedict XVI asked the Congregation to focus on “the difficult and complex problems of bioethics”.  

In his remarks he explained the Church’s prohibition on artificial procreation. 

Artificial procreation, such as in vitro fertilization, he said, has given rise to “new problems,” such as “the freezing of human embryos, embryonal reduction, pre-implantation diagnosis, stem cell research and attempts at human cloning”. All these, he said, “clearly show how, with artificial insemination outside the body, the barrier protecting human dignity has been broken.”

The Pope added: “When human beings in the weakest and most defenceless stage of their existence are selected, abandoned, killed or used as pure ‘biological matter’, how can it be denied that they are no longer being treated as ‘someone’ but as ‘something’, thus placing the very concept of human dignity in doubt”.

Judie Brown, President of American Life League points out in her new book – Saving Those Damned Catholics – that while it is official Church teaching, most Catholics in North America have no clue that artificial procreation is immoral.  Brown commented to on the Holy Father’s statements, saying, “As elated as I am about Pope Benedict’s comments this morning once again repeating the Church’s condemnation of the practice of in vitro fertilization, I am saddened by the realization that the American Catholic bishops refuse to even take up an explanation of what the Church teaches let alone condemn the evil practice of in vitro fertilization.”

In his remarks the Pope stressed that the Church “cannot and should not intervene on every scientific innovation.”  However, he said, “it has the task of reiterating the great values at stake, and providing the faithful, and all men and women of good will, with ethical-moral principals and guidelines for these new and important questions.”

“The two fundamental criteria for moral discernment in this field”, he said, “are: unconditional respect for the human being as a person, from conception to natural death; and respect for the origin of the transmission of human life through the acts of the spouses”.

To order Brown’s new book visit: