A Catholic parish in the Midlands has apologised for the hurt it caused with a Facebook post which said that IVF treatment was "totally incompatible" with its faith.
The post read: “The process of IVF damages embryonic stem cells and thus life and is therefore completely, clearly and totally incompatible with our Catholic faith. For all believers in God, all life is sacred at all times.”
The post has since been removed.
A statement from the parish this evening said: “A post published on the Tullamore Parish Facebook page on Christmas Eve concerning IVF has caused great distress to many members of our parish community and beyond. For hurt caused we apologise.
“Matters concerning fertility are sacred and sensitive, and all children are cherished and God-given, this is the essence of the Christmas message.
The parish understands the great suffering experienced by mothers and fathers who long for a child.
"At this time, we offer our pastoral and prayerful support to all parents and expectant parents.”
Earlier today, the Health Minister Simon Harris commented on the controversial post, saying: “I think the comments were unfortunate, insensitive and hurtful.”
He added that the “idea that any Christian would find (IVF) objectionable is something that I’ll never understand or comprehend”.