Toward a theology of infertility and the role of Donum Vitae

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Horizons, ISSN: 0360-9669, Vol: 40, Issue: 1, Page: 28-52

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Cox, Kathryn Lilla
Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Social Sciences; Arts and Humanities; Theology Faculty Publications; theology of infertility; Donum Vitae; reproductive technology; Karl Rahner; generativity; concupiscence; marriage; Catholic Studies; Religion; Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
article description
A theology of infertility is needed to help couples and the broader ecclesial community understand the theological implications of infertility. Infertility raises questions about human freedom, finitude, embodiment, childlessness, and parenthood. In this article, dominant cultural assumptions surrounding each of these areas when considering reproductive technologies are sketched. Official Roman Catholic teaching on reproductive technologies (Donum Vitae), while rejecting most forms of such technologies, does provide a viable response to the presupposition that reproductive technologies resolve infertility. Given the dominant cultural assumptions and insights from Roman Catholic teaching, this article advocates for several ecclesial changes when considering infertility. Finally, theological resources for developing a theology of infertility are offered. Specifically, insights from Karl Rahner's theology of concupiscence are examined with an eye toward how they provide a framework for rethinking the cultural assumptions about freedom and finitude when considering reproductive technologies. Copyright © College Theology Society 2013.