An Evaluation of Controversial Statements in Etica Teologica Della Vita

Elvis I. Šeman, Eamonn M. Mathieson, Umberto P. Villa, Deirdre T. Little, Randy D.L.R. Juanta, Paschal Corby, John I. Fleming, Purcell Brendan Purcell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The teachings of the Catholic Church on human sexuality, contraception and the treatment of infertility are well established and clearly explained in many Church documents, including Humanae vitae and Familiaris consortio. In 2022, a book was published in Italian which reported on a seminar organised by an Academy of the Catholic Church about the ethics of life. Titled the Theological Ethics of Life (abbreviated ‘ETV’ in Italian), the conclusion of chapter VII contains statements about contraception and assisted reproductive technologies (ART) which, though somewhat difficult to interpret, appear to be controversial with regard to accepted Church teaching on these subjects. This paper presents a detailed analysis by a group of Australian Catholic doctors and ethicists of an English translation of paragraphs 172 and 173 of ETV and concludes that they contain statements which deviate from and contradict accepted Catholic teaching on contraception and ART. The authors also claim that a thorough up-to-date knowledge and understanding of suitable current alternatives to contraception and ART (eg in-vitro fertilisation, IVF) which are safe, effective, readily accessible and consistent with Catholic ethics appears to be lacking in paragraphs 172 and 173 of ETV. The authors suggest a better understanding of currently available methods to assist with fertility care, aided by input from Catholic medical experts working in the areas of Fertility Awareness Methods (FAMs) and Restorative Reproductive Medicine (RRM) would better inform ongoing debates about contraception and ART within the Church and be of service to the Faithful who should be encouraged to pursue these alternatives which are both effective and consistent with Church teaching on human sexuality and morals.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalLinacre Quarterly
Early online date23 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Apr 2024


  • assisted reproductive technology
  • catholic church documents
  • catholic medical association
  • Catholic moral teaching
  • contraception
  • Etica Teologica Della Vita
  • fertility awareness methods
  • human sexuality
  • pontifical academy for life
  • restorative reproductive medicine


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