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Russian Orthodox Church says will baptize‘surrogate’ babies after parents’ repentance

December 26, 2013, 21:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, December 26, /ITAR-TASS/. Baptizing of infants born with the aid of ‘surrogate maternity’ techniques will be performed only after the parents repent in the Church or when the child reaches adulthood or anyway the age of taking a decision to become a Christian, the Russian Orthodox Church’s Synod said in the document approved in Moscow’s Synod residence.

“The ‘surrogate maternity’ is evaluated in the Synod document proceeding from the Basis of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted in 2000. And the assessment of the technique is quite clear-cut,” Vladimir Legoida, the chairman of the Synodal Information department at the Moscow Patriarchate, told reporters.

“The current practices humiliate human dignity of a woman whose body is regarded as a kind of an incubator,” he said.

The Synodal document was approved as a response to a discussion that is gaining momentum and concerns the spread of the practice of ‘surrogate maternity,’ which meanwhile is legal only in some countries.

“The baby born to a surrogate mother is allowed to be baptized in accordance with a wish of the people bringing it up if they are either its biological parents or its host mother and only when they admit that this type of reproductive technology is morally reprehensible and if they repent in church later,” reads the Synod’s document.

The document underlines that unless “they understand this, the baptizing is postponed till the child can make a responsible personal choice of his own.” In this case the factor of ‘surrogate maternity’ does not create an obstacle in the way to baptizing as the person cannot shoulder responsibility for his parents’ behaviour.

“When an infant born to a ‘surrogate mother’ is brought into Church, the question of his baptizing can be decided in accordance with instructions from a diocesan archbishop,” the document says.

At the same time, “the Church gives its blessing to baptize infants in mortal danger regardless of the circumstances.”

Legoida said that these regulations for baptism allude to any consciously expressed reluctance of a person to live by the Christian values, not only to the issue of ‘surrogate maternity’.

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