Relationship with my father


I would be grateful for any thoughts on this, because I am not at all clear on what I should do. The situation is that I am a Christian convert, from a non-Christian family, and I have just begun RCIA. My father is an IVF doctor. I was uncomfortable with IVF after I first became Christian, and told him so, and we basically disagree about it and he knows that I think it’s wrong. But now that I’ve read about the Church’s position on IVF, I have a much clearer sense of its sinfulness and I am worried about my degree of complicity with it.

I am very close to my father and he often talks to me about his work relationships and I have advised him, in the past, about how he relates to his colleagues. More importantly, I have struggles financially over the past three years, while doing my graduate degree, and he has given me a lot of money over the years. That money was of course earned by doing IVF treatments. Did I sin in taking it? Should I never take money from him in the future? I know he plans to divide his money between his children in his will, and help us all to get on the property ladder in a few years from now, but should I tell him I can’t take that help because I don’t like how he earned it? I hate the idea of saying such a thing to him because it would badly upset him and I fear it would destroy our relationship. What is the right thing to do?


Welcome Jane.

This is a tough situation because you need to be respectful of your father, who obviously loves you very much, not just because he is your father, but because he is another human with the right to live his life as he sees fit. Likewise - you have that same right and deserve the same respect.
So - regardless how you proceed, it is important that this respect - this love - be maintained.
Talk to him about this - about what you are discovering - and get his feedback.
Make sure that he knows you love him and share with him that you find these things troubling.
Again - listen to his feedback. And again - make sure he knows that you love him.

Now - as regards monies you received in the past…you have not sinned by taking it.

As for future monies - that’s a bit trickier.
As a basic view might I suggest this.
So long as you do not ask him for money you are not supporting his work or causing him to continue it (in order to support you).
If he offers money to you - he is offering it from what he already has and is doing so out of love for you.
You are free to accept of decline his offer, graciously, as you see fit.
As for any inheritance due you - You can always set that money aside and donate it to pro-life causes.

So - in a nutshell - my advice is to be open and honest with your dad, and then deal with any future situation as it comes up.



I would not be judging an obviously loving father on the same morality you hold because of your Catholic faith. You are not accepting blood money because you disagree with him. Do your best to make him understand your position. He is a smart man, but he may not have the gift of faith. Pray for him continuously and continue to love him ever as a weak reflection of the love of your heavenly Father for both of you.


I don’t think you are complicit in sin simply by accepting money from your father. You should not break relations with your father. Pray for him daily. You ought to be able to respectfully discuss with him the most problematic aspect of IVF, the destruction of developing human embryos. Someone does not have to be a Christian to understand the immorality of such a practice. Your father could certainly earn a good living as a physician without such a questionable practice. Pray for him daily that he might recognize the ethical dimension of his work.


Respect him and he will respect you. And about the money? Well, I think we all at some point every day give or take money from something that is not right. But it is only money, by accepting it you do not sell you soul to the Devil.


Be careful you don’t become more catholic than the pope. All new converts, be it religion, giving up smoking, exercise, etc. tend to be over zealous at the beginning. As Christians we are warned not to judge others.

"You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5

Read some of Pope Francis’ recent homilies, they hopefully will nurture a gentler approach to your father.


I agree. You are fortunate to have such a loving, generous father who genuinely cares about you. Keep in mind that, like most non-Catholics, he undoubtedly regards the Church’s teaching on IVF as being very odd. You’re probably not going to convince him otherwise, so just accept that as being one of those things that you agree to disagree about.


Thank you so much, everyone who has responded - you’ve taken a load off my mind. My father and I already talk frequently about the ethics of IVF and the moral status of embryos and he is not hurt by the fact that I disagree with him about that. My anxiety was about the money, as I think he would have been very badly hurt if I had refused to take that, so I’m grateful that everyone thinks I don’t have to do or say anything about that. Thank you!


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