France: Bishops Oppose Assisted Reproductive Technology

September 23, 2019

Several officials of the Bishops’ Conference of France (CEF) have intervened at the Collège de Bernardins, to voice their opposition to the future draft law on bioethics, the discussion of which is to begin September 24, 2019 in the National Assembly. The new president of the Episcopal Conference has also given, in an unprecedented way, his support for the protests next October 6.

Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort made it clear on September 16, 2019 at the Collège des Bernardins: “We must state that our politicians remain blind to the stakes of what they are going to decide.” These incisive remarks, made on the eve of the examination of the bill on bioethics, join those of the Archbishop of Paris who does not mince his words: “We are in the era of the absent-minded professor and deranged scientists,” said Michel Aupetit.

For his part, Bishop Pierre d'Ornellas, Archbishop of Rennes and head of the Bioethics Commission of the Bishops’ Conference, wondered: “Is such a revolution in the law of filiation desired by the French people? To suppress paternal ancestry is an affront to filiation.”

The president of the bishops of France did not hide his support for the October 6 national march, notably organized by “Manif pour tous.” The prelate declared, “I do not see how we could prevent citizens, Catholic or not, worried about this bill, from protesting, if they think it's a useful way to make their voices heard and to move the debate forward. And I would say they have a duty to do it.”

This episcopal surge of support is undoubtedly welcome, but it does not extend to the point of a solemn and vigorous commitment. Positions remain personal, and the Conference as such is refraining from calling for demonstrations. The spokesman, Vincent Neymon, leaves every citizen to his individual conscience. But the divine and natural law imposes itself on the individual conscience, and it is a moral duty for each to oppose the attacks it is undergoing.