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Human Sexuality and the Natural Law

The objective of this essay is to articulate the nature and purpose of human sexuality as it can be known by the human person on the basis of spontaneous observation and reflection. It is in those truths of nature and purpose that the specific ethical norms for personal and societal life in the matter of sexuality are rather immediately discovered. The appeal here is not to authority (except insofar as truth by intrinsic evidence commands acceptance) but to common observation and the basic testimony of human history; the meaning and normativity of human sexuality can be known with certainty in this way. Old Testament Judaism and New Testament Christianity have confirmed and deepened this universal understanding.

The objective of this essay is to articulate the nature and purpose of human sexuality as it can be known by the human person on the basis of spontaneous observation and reflection. It is in those truths of nature and purpose that the specific ethical norms for personal and societal life in the matter of sexuality are rather immediately discovered. The appeal here is not to authority (except insofar as truth by intrinsic evidence commands acceptance) but to common observation and the basic testimony of human history; the meaning and normativity of human sexuality can be known with certainty in this way. Old Testament Judaism and New Testament Christianity have confirmed and deepened this universal understanding.

Man’s Natural Knowledge

I ask the reader permission to begin simply. Simplicity and directness are special characteristics of the way to that knowledge of the natures of the things, found in experienced reality, the knowledge we call natural. The process of human knowing—perhaps especially that which reaches knowledge of the fundamentals—is not complicated and should not be allowed to become so. A minimum of sincerity and goodwill is required. That, in turn, means the simple and spontaneous will to know the truth without prejudice. One of the greatest obstacles to true knowledge is a bad education, especially that of the modern period, characterized by its program of blocking the spontaneous activity of knowing, by a priori agnostic or atheistic constructs.

We spontaneously observe the reality around us, and ourselves. We see, we hear, we touch, we smell, we taste—activities that occur constantly and without much effort. The human intellect—which is discovered to exist, and to be what it is by this activity—penetrates this accumulated sense data to reach the entities behind it, comes to know things as beings of particular conceptually-defined kinds as well as, by reflection, the human person who knows and his distinction from the things known. Of course, the ability to articulate for oneself and others the natures of things in clear concepts does not happen with one observation or in an instant. It also requires a certain maturing of the person’s senses, intellect and will. But a knowledge of the fundamentals of reality is rather rapidly and easily acquired if one has a relatively normal family life, a reasonable non-agnostic and non-atheistic first education.

The normal good-willed person today (and we have no real basis for thinking it was different in the past) who has not been indoctrinated into distorting his spontaneous observing, judging, reflecting and reasoning abilities, recognizes through his personal experience many fundamental truths. Among those truths, we could enumerate the following: the distinctions between inanimate objects and living beings, the distinctions between vegetative life and animal life and, especially, the distinctions between human life and everything else that is observable. Man rather easily attains the foundational truth and norm of the inviolability of innocent human life, while recognizing that animal and plant life have their basic meaning in their usefulness to the betterment of humanity.

With a little time and encouragement, the human person discovers that the foundation for the unique inviolability of man lies in his spirituality, that is, in his capacity for intellectual knowledge and freely-given love. Both the capacity to know and the capacity to love, speak of his spiritual life-principle (or soul) and his immortality. The full import of this realization, however, is only grasped when, in time, he faces and resolves the question of origins, of existence itself. With a sincere and penetrating effort, he can come rather easily to acknowledge that he and all other creatures speak forcefully of the Creator, whom we call God, and of the truth of creation from nothing. In that very realization the question of finality for man is beautifully resolved in the truth of an eternal life of knowledge and love of (and with) God, of all that is good.

The basic oughts of human activity are discovered in the very simplicity of these truths. We must live according to the nature God has given us, not trying fruitlessly to invent a new nature nor denying our final destiny. In the act of the creation of each being, God instilled in each one, the laws of its growth to perfection, which His providence sustains and actualizes. All creatures other than man reach their perfection “deterministically,” as it were, under God’s providence, a perfection inextricably linked to His purpose of making them a means for man’s final perfection. The human person however—because his destiny is eternal and by its nature of freely-given love and knowledge—must attain actual knowledge of the law, dependent on perfection, of his nature and freely adhere to it in order to reach fulfillment; there is nothing automatic for man. But just as he can know his nature, he can know and adhere to its laws of dynamic growth.

The Natural Intelligibility of Human Sexuality

Critical to the understanding of human sexuality (as of the human person in his or her totality) is the understanding of creation as a whole and, as a consequence, the truth about God. The truth about God is at the very heart of the intelligibility of everything. The truth of creation and the Creator is the primordial truth written into the being of man and all things. God is truly intelligible as the only possible explanation of the existence of anything, the beauty and design of the universe, the answer to the question of finality, etc. Therefore, any a priori decision of agnosticism in fundamental matters, any embrace of atheism, undermines the human person’s spontaneous understanding of himself and his sexuality as of everything else. It is only by being open to the intelligibility of God and therefore—critically—to the intelligibility of the final purpose of creation (the union of each human being in love and truth with God eternally) that there is the possibility of truly understanding anything.

What immediately stands out regarding the discovery of the truth of creation (and therefore the truth about God as Infinite Spirit and Person) is the spiritual reality of the human person, his immortality and his destiny of happiness in an eternal union with God in knowledge and love. While understanding and experiencing the goodness of material creation and of his own body, the human person easily reaches the conclusion that the human spirit is of almost infinitely more value than matter, and that all material creation, other than man, is ordered to his perfection, as he is ordered to God, that is, to eternal life with God. Thus he understands the absolute value of each and every human life because each human being, as a spiritual being, is created an eternal value by God. Thus he is spontaneously moved to love his fellow human beings as ends (that is, as beings made and sustained by God for eternal life) and never as means. Thus we can say that the love of one’s fellow man is not essentially based on sexual attraction, but rather on the dignity of the human person as a spiritual creature willed by God as an end. Thus, too, connatural and utterly primordial in man is the love for new human life—the love for children—and the will to collaborate with God in whatever way he indicates to bring new life into the world and to care for it (as for all human life) as an end for God. With just a little further observation and reflection, the meaning of human sexuality is discovered in this context.

The special attraction of men and women to one another is discovered at a stage in the development of the individual human person. In broad terms, it is an attraction of complementarity; it is also a specifically sexual attraction. Especially on the basis of the fundamental experience of one’s family life—which coincides with what the individual might conclude by a more “scientific” observation and reflection—the person of normal experience knows that sexual attraction is completely oriented toward the finding of a unique other of the opposite sex in order to form a special and lasting union, a new family. With the same experience, it is known that this unique union of love is centered around marital intimacy and the bringing into the world of new life, the crown of that love. For anyone who allows himself/herself to know God and the final purpose of creation, the marital union is seen to be sacred (i.e., related especially to God) because it is a unique collaboration with God to populate the earth in love so that heaven might be filled in the final fruition of all love.

With the acknowledgement of the truth about God and his will for man, the human person understands that he was made for love, for the love of God and the love of himself and all other human beings as God loves him and them. It is in loving in this way that he is filled with the fruits of love and reaches final perfection and happiness. By reflection, man easily understands that love is the willing of the good and the doing of the good that God ordained in the created truth of things. A fundamental dimension of that good is known to him by “reason,” that is, through normal observation and reflection. He thus strives to serve the good he discovers, the infinite Good, who is God, without limit, and himself and other created beings according to the nature of each being (the “nature” of each being and its spontaneous dynamic of growth is, so to speak, the “incarnation” of God’s will; the dynamic of growth of each created being and the God-created relations between beings in their mutual final ordering to God is the reality of the creative law of God; the dimension of God’s law that is naturally intelligible is what is properly called the “natural law,” while the dimension corresponding to the fullness of His will is called the “law of grace”).

In coming to know himself and other human beings, man easily discovers himself to be a spiritual-bodily creature and, within that reality, a sexual being. Since his body, like his soul, could have its origin in nothing other than the creative act of God, he knows it by that to be good. Love of himself and love of others necessarily means love of the integrity of the human body. Man recognizes that his body, its essential structure and abilities, is an intrinsic good of his nature and that it must be dealt with as an end in the same way as his soul. Although the bodily dimension of man is easily recognized as ordered to the spiritual, it cannot be dealt with as a mere means, as can animal life. Every moral act of man must be an integrated spiritual-bodily act where the discernment of moral right and wrong is necessarily governed by the truth of his body as well as that of his soul. Thus every free act of man in relation to his sexuality, and that of other human beings, must respect not only the purpose of that sexuality but its very structure and dynamic, which, in effect, shows the way to the fulfillment of that purpose.

A simple and sincere observation of the physical and biological reality of human sexuality shows it to be completely and spontaneously oriented to the union of a male and a female for the purpose of conceiving new human life. If there were momentarily any doubt about this, confirmation is immediately found in the observation of the animal kingdom; perhaps God gave humanity animal life also for this educational purpose. The dynamic of the human sexual act (of union between a man and a woman) is spontaneously open to the conception of new life; whether a new life is conceived or not is dependent most often on inscrutables related to the uniqueness of the couple and the timing of their union, etc., factors which mankind throughout history have related to the divine or God’s will. The first requirement of morality for man regarding the sexual union, is that he respect this dynamic and not interfere with it. By reflection upon the spontaneous and deep emotions involved and, above all, upon the truth of creation and its finality, man easily understands this union as most special and as not within his prerogative to manipulate or reinvent.

Thus, too, the human person can easily understand that the sexual union of a man and woman requires the permanence of an exclusive union between the two. The intimacy and depth of the union itself requires this for both the man and the woman. Then, the woman especially, when carrying within herself a new life, needs the integral protection and love of her husband; with almost the same emphasis, she and the child need that protection and love especially during the first years of the child’s life. The child, in all normal circumstances of his or her development to adulthood, needs the security and stability of the mutual and complementary love of father and mother, fruit of their unique and unconditional love for one another. All of this speaks strongly—as all of history has confirmed—of the institution of monogamous and indissoluble matrimony as the only “place” of and meaning for the exercise of human sexuality.

It is especially married couples who, living out spontaneously and generously the dynamic of their married love under God, most forcefully experience repugnance before the proposal of premarital sex, marital infidelity, divorce and remarriage, contraception and, especially, homosexual activity; they shudder at the especially grave disorders of in vitro fertilization and, now, the proposal of human cloning. They have experienced the truth of the God-given purpose of their married love, the centrality of that truth for all creation, and recognize spontaneously what goes directly against it in themselves and in others, and endangers everything related to that purpose. This same truth (the depth of the disorder involved in any of the above mentioned acts) is easily recognized by anyone who has grown up in a wholesome family, independently of whether they marry or not.

Understanding the Depth of Sexual Disorder

While the above has been an attempt to articulate positively the truth of human sexuality as it is naturally intelligible, it is also possible and necessary to understand the gravity of the disorder involved in many of the sexual phenomena being promoted especially in our times.

Premarital sexual activity

Premarital sexual activity, especially when it is engaged in with blind ignorance or rebellious rejection of the known moral law (by contrast with failures through weakness), most often amounts to a profound solipsistic choice resulting in the reduction of the human person to quasi-animality. It may, however, involve adherence to the more diabolical, pantheistic conceptions characteristic of the tradition of militant atheism so dominant today which propose ultimate cosmic unification through sex of any sort (as long as there are no children.) Since sexuality is such a core value oriented to the very purpose of creation and it is by premarital activity that it is transformed, in the best of cases, into a mere private solipsistic choice (or, following the second phenomenon described above, a more direct diabolical rebellion), the disorder it causes in persons, especially young people, is enormous. Besides blinding the participants to the essential spiritual reality of themselves founded in the spiritual reality of God (or, worse, substituting a false “spiritualism” for true spirituality and the true God), it blinds them to the final purpose of life.

It is easy to understand, then, that if a child were to ensue from pre-marital sexual activity, an abortion would appear to be as much an option as not. Having rejected one of the most fundamental principles (the limitation on the exercise of sexuality to marriage), easily rejected as well is any other principle, especially when the situation is difficult. Premarital sexual activity constitutes a fundamental disruption of the truth of the human person as a spiritual creature created for union with God now and eternally. It amounts to either a blind, animal-like pursuit of pleasure unaware of the spiritual and eternal dignity of self and others, or to a diabolical rebellion against everything.

 

Marital Infidelity

Marital infidelity has always been recognized as a grave personal, familial and societal disorder by any but the purposeful practitioners of it; in many countries it still involves legal penalties. It constitutes a grave attack on a marriage and is universally acknowledged as an immediate cause for permanent separation on the part of the innocent party. This very fact is a strong confirmation of the truth that human sexuality is, by its nature, ordained exclusively to the union of one man and one woman during the life of both. It also constitutes a solid confirmation of the enormous disorder of premarital sexual activity, where the commitment to exclusive fidelity—which is the foundation of marriage—does not exist.

Divorce and Remarriage

Divorce and remarriage are, of course, effectively related to marital infidelity and have the same profound effect on the persons and families involved, as well as on society as a whole. Humanity has acknowledged some logical cases of separation of spouses and even some cases of legitimate second marriages (i.e., when the first union(s) are proven to not have been marriages from the beginning). However, it has not been until this century, when various atheistic currents gained dominance, that the notion of divorce and remarriage has been forcefully promoted. Before this, societies basically reinforced the natural law and religious truth of the indissolubility of a publicly established marriage.

Certainly, children spontaneously recognize the catastrophic reality of the breaking of the bond of fidelity between their parents; without being able to articulate it fully, they know that the unconditional love of their parents for them is dependent on their unconditional love for one another. Couples who are faithful to their marriage bond in spite of many difficulties are the first ones to confirm the devastating effect of a societal environment that facilitates divorce and remarriage. Marriage in all cultures and in the heart of the human person cries for unconditional loyalty. The very fact that militant atheism has throughout its history given top priority to introducing the concept of marriage as a mere contract breakable like any other contract, should be an ominous warning concerning the predictable final result of this phenomenon: the destruction of mankind in hatred of God.

Contraception

Contraception goes to the heart of the disruption of the authenticity and fidelity of the love of spouses. It also goes to the heart of the project of militant atheism, or what Jewish, Christian and Islamic believers would say has been the ultimate project of Satan from the moment of the creation of man; to stop man from having children so that God cannot fill heaven.

The vocation of the human person to love is universal. By its nature, this love must be unconditional in willing the final good of everyone in imitation of God’s love; that is the dignity of the human person. Now what distinguishes the unconditional love of spouses toward each other from the general demand of such love in everyone is faithfulness to the purpose of their unique union; in all ordinary circumstances, this faithfulness is centered on their sexual union and the God-ordained purpose of that union. That purpose is inscribed in the very structure and dynamics of the union and is fulfilled automatically whenever the couple carries it out lovingly without interfering with its physical and biological dynamic. To seek to express love for the other while purposely disrupting the structure and dynamic of the marital act is to objectively undo that love; this disruption counters the objective good that God has willed for the two through that act (including the good of the two resulting from their having been obedient to His determinations for the act).

Contraception is defined as having marital relations while purposely doing something (some physical act) before, during or after those relations which by its nature makes impossible the conception of a new life through those relations. The grave disorder of the act of contraception is found not specifically in its non-openness to conception but in the way in which that objective of non-openness is sought and attained. The marital act can be discerned to be especially God’s, in line with His exclusive prerogative to establish the way by which to create new human life and best protect and nurture it, the primordial reason for creation. It is clear as the most elemental truth accessible to everyone that He has wanted to create this new life through that most special act of human love between spouses and according to a certain rhythm of the biological fertility of the wife. Thus any approach to the marital act that does not consist of its natural spontaneous completion, or that cancels by human initiative its spontaneous fertility, is a direct countering of God in that which is His complete prerogative.

What is deeply disordered in the act of contraception is the purposeful exclusion of God’s action when He has indicated His will to act—at least His will to be able to act—through the fertility of the spouses. The fact that the truth about the grave disorder of contraception has been thrown to the winds for so many and that contraceptives are so available has led not only to the widespread phenomenon of premarital sexual activity but to promiscuity and to a loss of the very idea of marriage for many. This shows, at least indirectly, that contraception by its very dynamic impinges deeply upon the authenticity and fidelity of the love of spouses in marriage. Contraception within a marriage, with its essence being the will to block fertility in the acts of marital intimacy with complete disregard for the determinations of God, exposes marital love to a weakening along the lines of premarital or extramarital sexual activity. The objective exclusion of God and His ways exposes man to all the weaknesses of his disordered nature without God.

As mentioned, the decision of a married couple to intentionally exclude the possibility of a conception while still having marital relations is not itself contraception. Contraception adds to that intention the doing of a physical act which by its nature excludes conception in that particular marital act. At times a couple may be morally justified in deciding not to be open to children either for a short time or even—when objective circumstances seriously indicate a justification for such an extension—for an indefinite period. But then, they cannot rightly choose the way of contraception, which attacks the sacred inviolability and integrity of the marital act as established by God and exposes sexuality to ever more aberrant forms of manipulation; once the objective inviolability of the marital act is broken, arbitrary subjectivity becomes the rule, and the very purpose of God’s creation through marriage and the marital act—His eternal and ultimate purpose—is made subject to the winds of mere pragmatic, worldly reasoning.

When serious reasons proportionate to the time of limitation exist, a couple can practice what is called periodic continence, freely choosing to limit marital relations to the times when it is ascertained that the wife is naturally infertile. The moral legitimacy of this action is established not by the intention of the couple to happily receive another child if God chooses to give it anyway (that might be the intentionality of a couple practicing contraception as well), but by choosing the way of limitation obviously set up by God; the legitimacy rests in its being God’s way rather than man’s in something which is the sole prerogative of God. The very fact that medical science has shown that the periods of infertility of the woman can be known with certainty (in most cases) is a clear indication of God’s way. Of course, the objective of non-openness in justified circumstances may be legitimately pursued also by total abstinence if periodic continence is not a possibility, or if the couple simply chooses it.

This discussion of morally illegitimate versus legitimate ways of pursuing the objective of non-openness to new life or limitation is in danger, however, of missing the main point of the truth of human sexuality and life. One of the critical factors involved in the present moral crisis of society is the loss of the sense of the purpose of creation and of God’s providence especially with regard to giving new life and sustaining it. The great error of our times is to have succumbed—to one degree or another—to the propaganda concerning overpopulation and the absurd and presumptuous proposal that we humans have any possibility of calculating how many human beings this universe can sustain or how many are necessary to fulfill its purpose (especially when the true purpose of creation is denied or, at best, ignored). This propaganda has been the drumbeat of militant atheism throughout this century (it having begun, however, with Malthus (1766-1834) et al, especially with the neo-Malthusians in the middle of the last century); while the ultimate motivation of some protagonists is specifically diabolical (i.e., the ending of the human race), other elites have promoted population control especially among those whom they consider possible future opponents of their power and their atheistic project (the poorer people of the world, Christians, Muslims, etc.). Sadly, this propaganda has been quite successful and has gradually established a basic hold on societal consciousness. As a sign of this hold, the propaganda has already shifted to a deeper point of fundamental error: the promotion of the notion that the universe is not for man (for man’s perfection) but man for the universe; thus, man is expendable in relation to the whole.

At the very best, the result of this propaganda is that the notion of limitation of children is becoming the ideal of ideals even, to a degree, among those of traditional moral adherences. Very little will be resolved until we can undo the enormous lies about overpopulation and liberate the human heart and mind once again with the truth about the nature of creation and its purpose. God created the material universe for human life and that in abundance (so that, finally, heaven might be filled). The primordial and glorious duty of two people who marry is to be open to the children that God wishes to send them through the authenticity and fidelity of their love. The concept of limiting children must be established anew as what it is in God’s creative plan: an exception. The fear of overpopulation is an entirely false fear introduced by militant atheism and sustained by a loss of the sense of the true God and His providence. Certainly God, who created sexuality and its spontaneous integrity as well as the entire universe and who governs the fertility of mankind along with all the resources of the universe, will not fail to sustain all those that He Himself brings into the world through the authentic love of spouses.

Homosexuality

The word “homosexuality” is used to identify both a) a condition or tendency/inclination of sexual attraction to persons of the same sex and b) the phenomenon of performing sexual acts with persons of the same sex. Humanity and all major religions have judged both the condition or tendency and the activity to be deeply abnormal. Societies throughout history have stigmatized homosexual activity as especially depraved and have often made it illegal and prosecuted it along with other grave sexual disorders (e.g., sodomy in general, whether homosexual or heterosexual) which go directly against marriage, especially in its procreative dimension.

Homosexuality, of course, is especially wrong because it opposes the purpose of sexuality from beginning to end; it is objectively disordered both in its origins and in its finality. Heterosexuality as the sexual attraction and inclination toward those of the opposite sex is an enormous good created by God as intrinsic to the plan of creation; it is directed to married love and to the bringing into the world of new human life and educating it, surrounded by the faithful love of spouses. Heterosexuality, in other words, can obviously be abused but its basic reality is an essential good. Homosexuality, on the other hand, is an inclination that is a pathological disorder because in its roots it directly counters the very reason for sexuality, which is inextricably linked to procreation within the marital fidelity of man and wife. It is precisely authentic love for the persons with this homosexual tendency, or the people involved in homosexual acts, as well as love for the whole of society, that demands clarity concerning the disordered nature of homosexuality, and demands the giving of appropriate help. In fact one of the greatest injustices of our times—and first of all to homosexuals—is to have ceded to the pressure of some of them (and other sexual revolutionists) to call homosexuality a moral option, or to have adopted an attitude of indifference.

The problem of the rise and spread of homosexuality cannot be separated from the reality of the “sexual revolution” (and sexual immorality in general) nor from the history of militant atheism. On the one hand, dogmatic avowal of homosexuality has led to the rejection of all traditional notions of sexual morality and to the promotion of atheism (and, most diabolically, of the “religious” or “spiritual” kind) as the only possible environment in which to sustain the “homosexual culture.” On the other hand, militant atheism, with its violent rage against God and humanity, has always sought a complete disruption of sexual doctrine and practice, especially of marriage and the procreative meaning of sexuality; homosexuality has been promoted as a force and a manifestation of the atheistic project. Certainly there will be little will or ability to counter and correct the homosexual movement if there is no renewal of sexual morality in general through a reeducation of society on the central place of God and His creative plan in all thinking about life and society. Undoubtedly of special importance is to reestablish in peoples’ consciousness and consciences the enormous importance and beauty of marriage in its mission toward new life and, by contrast, the catastrophe of the contraceptive mentality and way of life.

In vitro fertilization (IVF)

In vitro (in glass) human fertilization is the bringing about of the conception of a human person outside the body of a woman. This conception takes place in a laboratory container—a glass vessel or suchlike—using eggs taken from a woman’s body and sperm from a man’s. The living human embryo of the conception is then transferred from the laboratory container into the body of a woman for gestation until normal birth. A less radical and sophisticated (as well as older) procedure for bringing about a conception in an unnatural way is called “artificial insemination.” Artificial insemination is the introduction of sperm from a man into a woman by laboratory methods in the attempt to bring about a conception in the woman’s womb, thus making the marital act of husband and wife insignificant causally in the bringing about of the conception.

Both these procedures might seem to present entirely different questions from those of the sexual immorality already treated. The development of these techniques supposedly took place in the context of the desire of validly married couples not able to have a child normally, giving them a chance to have a child of their own. However, many things rapidly occurred completely beyond this context, showing by their very nature the lack of original “purity of intention.” Sperm other than the husband’s was used, eggs other than the wife’s. With in vitro fertilization there came “surrogate motherhood,” sperm and egg banks, conceptions for the single woman and, increasingly, specifically for lesbians. In vitro fertilization involves in practice the bringing about of a considerable number of conceptions at once while implanting in a woman only a small number, the rest being destroyed as unusable, or frozen for future implantation or experimentation. Effectively, however, the essential moral disorder exists already in the case of a married couple using exclusively their own egg and sperm and not allowing the fertilization of more embryos than would be immediately implanted in the wife. The disorder is essentially the same rejection of principle that is involved in all the sexual aberrations already treated.

With a little reflection, it is not difficult to understand how the period of history in which human beings have most rebelled against the true meaning of sexuality—epitomized in the rejection of the intrinsic and ever present procreative meaning of sexuality—is also the period in which children are being sought outside the way of true union in marriage. This literally contradictory phenomenon is, however, comprehensible within the “logic” of an effective rejection of God. It is the blindness (and therefore the arbitrariness) of a flip-flop taking place in the vacuum of lives being lived without knowledge of the nature, dignity and destiny of man, which knowledge is impossible without the knowledge of God. While some people who use these procedures to have a child may not have consciously accepted all nor even most of the premises and goals of this immorality, objectively, they attack the very dignity of human life, as well as that of their own married life, by their moral blindness in wanting a child at all costs.

On the one hand, the dignity of the human person is so great and so necessary to protect, that the only “place” worthy and safe for its conception and growth is the womb of the wife protected by her husband. In total conformity with this truth, it follows that the only way truly worthy and protective of the initial conception is for it to happen under the exclusive causality and intimacy of the marital act of the parents carried out with the spontaneity of love. Only the conjugal act as the cause of the conception in the womb of the wife gives a minimal guarantee that the person conceived will not be manipulated by others (not even by the parents) and will be cloaked in the faithful and indissoluble love of his or her parents. Any intervention that separates conception from the structure and dynamics of the concrete conjugal act destroys the protection warranted by the dignity of the human person and objectively opens the way for converting human conception into an object of production for other men’s use (the approach of artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization is objectively indistinguishable from the typical—and legitimate—process of production of animals and material objects).

On the other hand, artificial insemination and especially in vitro fertilization objectively destroy the reality of marriage as a unique love of a man and a woman for one another under God and for God and His mission of life. Breaking the integrity of the marital act as the visible cause of the life that God creates, effectively destroys the meaning of that act and makes it dispensable. As a marriage is easily undone by contraceptive practice—the transformation of mutual love in the service of God’s purposes into an attempt at love without God—so it is easily undone by seeking a child objectively not for God’s sake (God is objectively excluded in the rejection of the truth of His way for bringing a child into being) but for the couple’s sake (a reason that becomes abhorrent without God). In both cases the immediate disorder lies in ignoring God’s will as imprinted in the structure and dynamic of the marital act.

From a fundamental point of view, in vitro fertilization is a disorder greater than abortion because of the depth of its attack on human sexuality and marriage and thus the essence of God’s plan. Besides, each instance of it involves in practice the eventual killing of a considerable number of human beings/embryos which are “surplus,” “defective,” or used as “objects of experimentation.” With the present promotion of the practice among couples (as well as among singles and especially lesbians), the prospect for the future is a number of such killings that can easily go beyond the present number of abortions. In addition, in vitro fertilization has opened wide the door to unimaginable manipulations of human life and specifically, now, to the possibility of human cloning. While the attempt to clone would be a Godless and anti-human step beyond the Godlessness and anti-humanness of in vitro fertilization, it is of the same essential aberrant nature, that is, the ruthless and diabolical extraction of human generation from the only place worthy and protective of its dignity, the marital embrace of man and wife. In vitro fertilization is a frontal attack on God and man.

Cloning

Technically, the idea of cloning a human being involves “taking a cell from a living person, slipping it into an egg cell [from any human egg] whose genetic material has been removed and allowing the genetic material of the adult cell to direct the development of a new embryo . . . a person who is the identical twin of the person who provided the initial cell.” As in the case of identical twins, the new human being would obviously be a distinct human being (determined essentially by the unique spiritual soul created by God as its life principle) from the person who provided the genetic material which makes the two identical genetically.

Supposedly, human cloning has not yet been attempted; it has just been done in the case of some animals. The latter does not go against the order of creation, nor man’s dignity, and therefore is not against the law of God. The attempt at human cloning, however, would be a step forward in the ruthless and frontal attack on God and man, potentially much more monstrously and diabolically manipulative of the human person than in vitro fertilization. The attempt must be absolutely prohibited. This will not be feasible logically nor practically, however, unless in vitro fertilization is absolutely prohibited. In vitro fertilization and the blind and rebellious choice behind it is the force driving this movement of ultimate degradation. As those now favorable to the attempt at human cloning have said “it is no worse, morally, than creating custom embryos from sperm and egg donors . . . Is it worse somehow for her to clone herself than to obtain an embryo made-to-order with donated egg and sperm, the kind that many fertility clinics are already offering the infertile?” [and the fertile single and lesbian]

Lastly, it must be said that the move to cloning and what follows is unstoppable unless there is an awakening to the calamity of the sexual revolution of these years in all of its manifestations. The slippery slope of human degradation that we are experiencing began fifty years ago with the start of the sexual revolution, launched principally by atheistic elites who had managed to capture control of the principal cultural instruments—the basic media, the legal system, education, and political structures. Society has been inundated with their corruption. We need not have begun down that slope nor is it inevitable that we should continue the fall. But there is an inevitability in the movement of degradation if the truth about God and human sexuality initially rejected are not re-embraced. This inevitability of degradation is not mechanistic determinism but simply the consequence of persistent rebellious free choice against the truth.