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Children are not for sale, let's take over the squares
Interview by Andrea Zambrano
from «La nuova Bussola Quotidiana», october 8th, 2016

"Children shouldn't be bought and women are not for mining. We can't limit ourselves to expressing disapproval, but we need to take over the squares because it was Jesus who told us to proclaim from rooftops". This isn't a call for an upheaval, but a strong plea from Cardinal Carlo Caffarra in this interview with La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana where he comments on the decision made by the region of Emilia-Romagna to acquire male and female reproductive cells from international cryobanks in order to promote artificial insemination. Caffarra intervenes not as Archbishop Emeritus of Bologna, but as a son of this land, acting according to "a right given to me as an Emilian". With the bold double initiative from regional assessor Sergio Venturi (introducing both purchase of reproductive cells and voluntary donation from "altruistic" Italians), Caffarra decided he should no longer stand idly by.

Your Eminence, is the Region's decision going to take us to a point of no return?

This practice is an abhorrent, very serious thing. They don't realise they are uprooting the genealogy of the person from natural genealogy. The human person is born rooted in flesh and blood to a genealogy and it's incredible that people need to be reminded of this simple fact by a Bishop, because all I am doing is an appeal to the civil conscience to return to the person's biological and natural dimension. They are destroying the fabric of the relationships in which the human person grows harmoniously. 

And the initiative is bestowed with all the blessings from the law, as far as we know... 

The founding fathers of the Italian Republic didn't see any other way of being a family other than the way of the matrimony between a man and a woman. And to deny this fact is to surrender to the blindness caused by an ideology that prevents us from seeing the truth.

Therefore it's useless to say that the reproductive cells are coming from donations?

If I understood it well, the donation is in reference to the collection campaign, but the Region has already publicly announced the search for international cryobanks from which to acquire, above all, female ova. And these certainly aren't going to be donated: the estimated costs are of 650.000 euros for a 2-year period! Do you realise we are negotiating gametes the same way we arrange road pavement contracts? Are we not able to understand that we are using public funds to buy men?

When the institutions controlled a private market there was the hypocritical possibility of closing one eye... 

But by now veterinary medicine has fully entered human realm. Judicial systems have always favoured marriage between a man and a woman. It was the so-called privilegium juris, and this doesn't mean we need to punish homosexuals and celibates, but public authorities responsible for the common good have always known that the cornerstone of our social structure is the relationship between man and woman, which - concerning procreation and education - originates new persons.To choose to act against or simply not to favour matrimony is a choice against the common good. 

It's all wrapped with the excuse of the demographic winter... 

But they never talk about how many embryos are destroyed, or about the real percentage of failure. It's never made clear how a woman must undergo massacring hormonal treatments. It's State-funded deceit. We can't remain silent.

Yet again your Emilia strikes, the ever avant-garde region when it comes to new rights and the new anthropology of desires who become rights. Other than "satiated and desperate", as defined by your predecessor, late Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, has it also gone transhuman? 

It's with great pain that I conclude so. But I don't see any other solution except for a great educational effort. We can't plan the reconstruction of the fabric of the collective social good by any means other than a real change in the educational sphere.It's a very long process, but I can't see another path. 

But how? We are being governed by politicians who call themselves Catholic...

Indeed here we have a painful spot. We bishops need to declare a great mea culpa: we have allowed the decline of Social Doctrine teaching in our communities, we have stopped educating to a faith that becomes criteria for the judgement of what happens in the history of men. We haven't provided any parameters, and the result is that we can no longer see connection between what we celebrate on Sunday and we do on Monday. 

Try to explain: why the availability of reproductive cells is an act against nature?

Because things are produced, not children, and this is production of children. The logic of production deforms the person's dignity - the child's dignity. Secondly a woman's body is not a mine, a pit from where to extract whatever I need to fulfill my desires. An ovum is not like a bit of cornea tissue that could be used to give vision to a blind person. An ovum has the potential to originate a new person, it's not like any other cell in the body. 

Such a simple concept, yet so misunderstood...

It's a cultural problem. 

Why is the Church always chasing after these matters?

Actually the Church, who's constantly under the accusation of being backwards, is always the first one to warn about such things. But no one listens to the Church. When Benedict XV defined WWI as an unnecessary slaughter, he was attacked and scolded as "Maledetto XV" ("Cursed XV"). Nowadays all historians agree with him concerning the Great War. 

Is the objectification of human life also an unnecessary slaughter?

I'd say it absolutely fits as injustice against the Creator. Pope Francis once mentioned a remark from Benedict XVI, who in a conversation with him noted that the sins of today are sins against God The Creator - God Himself is being disfigured. 

Speaking of reticent Bishops, there's never any mention of the hazard to the soul.

Exactly. As a matter of fact, next week I'll be presenting Cardinal Ruini's book about Heaven and Hell. There's an eternity of happiness, but there's also an eternity of damnation. 

The Catholic world is torn: is it enough to condemn this anti-human deviation or should we do something else?

Evil must be stopped. Pope Francis spoke of a worldwide war aimed to destruct marriage. When facing war we can't limit ourselves by saying "I don't do these things, I am not a soldier in this war". We need to take over the squares and do everything we can to stop evil and stablish once again the respect for the right to life and to educational freedom. 

Is this how a "Church in the catacombs", a persecuted Church stand?

We're not quite there in the catacombs yet. May I remind you that the Church never chose to go there. When She was told go, She went, but the Church never chooses the catacombs, the hiding. We need to be resolute and faithful to what Jesus has imposed, which we often forget due to our sins and numbness: "What I whisper in your ear, proclaim from the roofs".

Translation by Juliana Freitag