“Ask a Priest: Should I Speak Up If a Boss Talks About Pursuing IVF?”

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Q: I know that we should fraternally correct others if there is an occasion for scandal. There have been some instances where I was silent about matters that were presented to me. Such as my supervisor telling me that she was lesbian and wanted to do artificial insemination and I kept quiet. Maybe I said, “Oh, really” or something like that. In another circumstance, my family members put a pirated movie on TV in a dinner we had, and I kept quiet but avoided watching it myself, although sometimes peeked because it was right in front of me. In another case, I admired someone’s hard work on a Sunday, though the work might have been unnecessary. In cases like this, when I keep quiet, am I sinning by not correcting them? Is this the sin of scandal or am I just being scrupulous? – J.L.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Fraternal correction can be an act of love and, since we are called as Christians to love, such correction can be an obligation at times.

Deciding when and how to speak up, however, takes prudence.

On the one hand, we aren’t called to go around policing others. On the other hand, we should try to educate others when there are serious issues at hand.

In the case of your supervisor, you might want to let her know that children have a right be to conceived within a real marriage, not produced in a lab. And you might also tell her that IVF often involves the destruction of tiny human lives.

For your own reading see https://www.ncbcenter.org/files/2614/3094/3360/IVFPreachingPoints.pdf.

You might share this link with your supervisor: https://www.ncbcenter.org/resources/information-topic/dignitas-personae/techniques-assisting-fertility/.

My guess is that this is hard sell. If she’s a practicing lesbian, she might not be open to the message about IVF. But here the goal is to at least share the truth with her – there are lives at stake, after all. Whether your supervisor accepts the message is another matter.

As for the pirated movie: you might choose a good time to let family members know that in general you are uncomfortable with such material. Perhaps they will at least not show it when you are around.

As for people working on Sunday: while you might not be required to lecture them (especially if you aren’t close to them), you shouldn’t be encouraging them either. In any case, the evaluation about whether the work was unnecessary is a judgment the other person needs to make for himself.

Now, don’t get discouraged with yourself. Integrating our faith with our actions and uniting all of this to evangelization is not an easy task. It takes time.

The important thing is that you don’t just drift through life keeping quiet about everything. This is one reason why the world is a mess: we Christians don’t give better witness.

In other words, a good offense is the best defense. Be open about your faith with others. This lets them know where you are coming from.

Perhaps some of this is worth taking to prayer. You certainly would want to consider praying for your supervisor, who has a long way to go in her spiritual journey.

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