IN ONE OF ns harshest social condemnations, the Vatican has reiterated that artificial insemination is illicit and that homosexuality is not a "normal" condition but one which should be "eliminated" or "corrected".
The Vatican, in its daily newspaper Osservatore Romano, was responding to what could be a trend-setting decision by doctors in Italy permitting a gay couple to become "test tube parents".
The artificial insemination process, at a Ligurian hospital in northern Italy on behalf of a lesbian couple, comes six months after the Euro-Parliament's controversial bill on the legalisation of gay marriages in Member States. The progressive draft of the bill said at the time that their next step would be a campaign for the legislation of adoption for gay couples.
The Ligurian artificial insemination case is believed to be a first test of Italian and ultimately European law.
The gay couple named only as Livia and Francesca, have told doctors that they are both "practising Catholics" and would guarantee a Christian up-bringing for this test tube child.
But after a week of debate between doctors and government representatives, including a Health Ministry undersecretary who described the case as an "abomination", Rome has now intervened.
"The contrast with God's plan on marriage and the
family is complete and radical", said leading theologian Fr Gino Concetti in the significant article in Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.
"These two women are not just forcing nature, they are falsifying it," he went on, warning that children "born" in this way were bound to become destablised adults.
The intervention by the Osservatore, is also being interpreted as further condemnation of bio-ethical practices in a Rome State hospital which is currently a world leader in artificial insemination techniques.
One of the clinic's bio-ethical breakthroughs is menopausal pregnancies and thousands of middle-aged, even elderly, women including Britons are on the waiting list In Rome to undergo such experiments in order to conceive children.
• The Pope said last week that Christians were obliged to fight the exploitation of women, often caused by male selfishness.
At a general audience at the Vatican, the Pontiff also warned women against "masculinising themselves".
"The perfection of the woman is not to become like the man so that she loses her specific qualities as a woman" he said.
The Holy Father held up the Image of Our Lady as the model for emancipated women. "The role surpasses all the claims of women's rights, even those of our age" he said.