What is Love?


Short answer to the billboard: Yes.

Short answer to the billboard: Yes.

This opinion piece is about the morality contract for teachers of Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Cleveland.  Teachers, whether they like it or not, are roll models for children.  They teach not just reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic, but they also teach how one should live their life.  Part and parcel of a Catholic school teachers job is therefore to model the morality children are supposed to be learning in Catholic schools.

This morality is not arbitrary, but is founded on love.  Let’s look at the case the author brought up, that of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

To begin, my 7th grade science class taught me that pregnancy, “results when a mature egg is fertilized by a mature sperm” (Thanks Stanford University!).  That newly formed zygote is already either male or female; and has eye color, hair color and so forth already determined because this human zygote (soon to be embryo) has it’s own unique DNA, just like you and me.

For IVF, many eggs are harvested and fertilized, creating many embryos.  These embryos each have their own unique DNA, and if allowed the womb to grow, could become fully functioning adults.  However, many of these embryos are cryogenicly frozen in case the first attempt to implant embryos in the womb fails.  While one might be, “blessed with twin boys through in vitro fertilization”, there are many other sons and daughters that remain on ice.  

(N.B. – I use the terms “son” and “daughter” because the embryo is already either male or female through DNA, even if the respective male and female parts haven’t yet grown).

How cruel is it to make over a dozen daughters and sons when one will only raise one or two?

“What kind of church wouldn’t see that?”

Apparently the church desired by the author of this opinion piece.

In our understanding of what makes an action loving is the fulcrum of the matter.  The Catholic Church has received the teachings of love from Jesus Christ and passed them onto us. Some things didn’t exist when Jesus was around, so the Church looks at the handed down teachings and looks for whatever doesn’t contradict them to guide us in our new settings and with our new technology.  Who would doubt that it contradicts love to conceive but not raise a child?   Those people are called deadbeat dads or moms, and are justly scorned for such behavior.  Orphans are given a protected status in the Scriptures, and children created but abandoned by parents are orphans.

The protestations of some Catholics to redefine the teachings of love handed down to us from Christ are because we are ignorant of the richness of our theology.  Therefore our Catholic teachings become ungrounded and so gain the patina of arbitrarity instead of having the love which is their foundation shine forth like the dawn.

Now then, in the unlikely event the author will read this piece, I challenge her to become a more loving person so that she can make a reality of the Church becoming more loving.  I challenge her to love the 400,000 frozen up like Stallone and Snipes in Deomolition Man as much as she loves those she can see and touch.  If she and I and every Catholic manage this great love, then the Church will indeed become more loving.