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Russian Orthodox Church: repentance must precede baptism of babies born to surrogate mothers

Catholic World News - January 03, 2014

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has issued a statement on the baptism of infants born to surrogate mothers.

After expressing sympathy for spouses struggling with infertility, the synod cited a 2000 Russian Orthodox bishops’ document and stated that it is morally licit for spouses to use artificial insemination as long as fertilized eggs are not destroyed. (The Catholic Church, in contrast, teaches that artificial insemination is gravely immoral.)

The synod affirmed Russian Orthodox teaching that surrogate motherhood is “unnatural and morally unacceptable” and stated that surrogate motherhood humiliates the woman carrying the couple’s child by reducing her body to “a kind of incubator.”

Infant baptism, the statement continued, presumes “upbringing in the Christian faith and according to the norms of Christian morality.” Such an upbringing cannot be assumed, the synod stated, unless those presenting the infant for baptism – either the parents or the surrogate mother –repent. Without such repentance, baptism must be deferred until the child can make the choice.

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  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jan. 03, 2014 10:17 AM ET USA

    Since it is evident that Pope Francis is exercising gradually a kind of Neue Ostpolitik vis-a-vis the Orthodox, the respective attitudes of Rome and Moscow (Athens, etc.) toward artificial insemination would seem to imply a major stumbling block. It would be interesting to see this and other differences between Catholicism and Orthodoxy (e.g. divorce and remarriage) discussed by knowledgeable writers here at CatholicCulture.

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