VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday urged infertile couples to shun artificial procreation, decrying such methods as a form of arrogance.
Speaking at the end of a three-day Vatican conference on diagnosing and treating infertility, Benedict also reiterated church teaching that marriage is the only permissible place to conceive children. Matrimony "constitutes the only 'place' worthy of the call to existence of a new human being," he said.
The pope pressed the church ban against artificial procreation, saying infertile couples should refrain from any method to try to conceive other than sex between husband and wife.
"The human and Christian dignity of procreation, in fact, doesn't consist in a 'product,' but in its link to the conjugal act, an expression of the love of the spouses of their union, not only biological but also spiritual," Benedict said.
He told the science and fertility experts in his audience to resist "the fascination of the technology of artificial fertility. Benedict cautioned the experts against "easy income, or even worse, the arrogance of taking the place of the Creator," an attitude he indicated underlies the field of artificial procreation.
Sperm or egg donation and methods such as in vitro fertilization are banned by the church for its faithful.
The emphasis on science "and the logic of profit seem today to dominate the field of infertility and human procreation," the pope said.
But he added that the Church encourages medical research into infertility.