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FW: [ra] contraception

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  • Brian Killian
    ... From: Brian Killian [mailto:brian@bepinc.com] Sent: Friday, January 05, 2001 4:46 PM To: romanacademy@egroups.com Subject: [ra] contraception Since
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 5, 2001
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Brian Killian [mailto:brian@...]
      Sent: Friday, January 05, 2001 4:46 PM
      To: romanacademy@egroups.com
      Subject: [ra] contraception


      Since theologians, whether St. John Chrysostom or Fr. Miranda, are not
      sufficient to resolve this debate, lets concentrate on the magisterium
      itself as our guide.

      The catechism of the Catholic Church devotes several paragraphs which
      pertain to contraception and give it its context, the relevant paragraphs
      are these:


      Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends
      to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to
      the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that
      mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment. So the Church, which "is on the
      side of life"[150] teaches that "each and every marriage act must remain
      open 'per se' to the transmission of life."[151] "This particular doctrine,
      expounded on numerous occasions by the Magisterium, is based on the
      inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative
      may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative
      significance which are both inherent to the marriage act."[152]

      2367 Called to give life, spouses share in the creative power and fatherhood
      of God.[153] "Married couples should regard it as their proper mission to
      transmit human life and to educate their children; they should realize that
      they are thereby cooperating with the love of God the Creator and are, in a
      certain sense, its interpreters. They will fulfill this duty with a sense of
      human and Christian responsibility."[154]

      2368 A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of
      procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their
      children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not
      motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity
      appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their
      behavior to the objective criteria of morality:
      When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible
      transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on
      sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined
      by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his
      acts criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human
      procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue
      of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart.[155]

      2369 "By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the
      procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true
      mutual love and its orientation toward man's exalted vocation to
      parenthood."[156]

      2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on
      self- observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with
      the objective criteria of morality.[157] These methods respect the bodies of
      the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of
      an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in
      anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the
      development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a
      means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:[158]
      Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of
      husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively
      contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the
      other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also
      to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon
      to give itself in personal totality.... The difference, both anthropological
      and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . .
      . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human
      person and of human sexuality.[159]




      Is it not clear from these passages, which summarize the Churches position
      on this matter, that what the Church is concerned with is with safeguarding
      the human meaning of sexuality? 2360 explicitly states that this is the
      case, but it is present almost just as explicitly in all the other passages
      and statements by the church in this matter. This is the moral center of
      all the Church's teachings about sexual morality. Why is it that in all the
      statements which have anything to do with contraception, it is always within
      the context of marriage? Why is the condemnation of contraception always
      within the context of the conjugal act, or the marriage act? Because that
      is the only context in which human sexuality has any moral legitimacy. The
      true meaning of human sexuality is synonymous with 'conjugal act' or
      'marriage act'. Outside of marriage, all sexuality is wrong and distorted.

      Hence, all forms of sexuality that take place outside of marriage or
      parallel with marriage such as fornication, adultery etc etc are already
      violations and distortions and contradictions of human sexuality. So we can
      see what is the precise nature of this moral wrong which involves the use of
      contraception. The exact species of evil which we are dealing with here, is
      the distortion and contradiction of human sexuality, which otherwise would
      be proper and good and holy. Whereas most the other species of sexually
      grave matter fall outside or external to marriage, (and for that reason are
      wrong) this particular beast is one which happens right within the context
      where sex occurs rightfully. Hence contraception has been called 'marital
      fornication' because it seeks to exploit ones partner for ones own purposes
      where it should express a mutual self-giving.

      It should be apparent that the sin of contraception, like the sin of
      fornication and all other sexual sins, are all sins because they are all
      actions which somehow oppose the truth of human sexuality and in so doing,
      they violate the dignity of the person and violate what is due both to
      persons and to God. Nothing is more clear from the catechetical summary of
      doctrine on this point, that it is at this level of human sexuality that the
      immorality occurs, not at the level of biology, or the teleology of sperm to
      fertilize eggs or anything else..(which it would have to be to make your
      [walter, darian, et alia] case that any use of contraception to prevent
      pregnancy from occurring is wrong).

      Now from this I would make two conclusions.

      This first is that everything I have been saying is right and vindicated by
      the magisterium, and I will try to show how it works. It is an elementary
      point of moral doctrine that the moral life is concerned with actions, and
      that those actions which can be classified morally are those which proceed
      from intelligence and choice, thought and deliberate will. A man is not
      guilty of murder by thinking about it, but only by doing it, or to be more
      precise, by willing it (intending it). So how does this relate to our nun
      who uses devices to prevent herself from conceiving in the event that she is
      raped? Because, since the sin of contraception occurs when the meaning of
      human sexuality is violated by man, it is not possible to violate it or to
      commit this sin if there is no intention to have sex in the first place.
      How could our nun possibly be guilty of this sin when she doesn't have the
      slightest intention of engaging in sex? It would be like saying that a man
      who accidentally kills another man is guilty of murder merely because the
      man died. I challenge anyone to show how someone can be guilty of opposing
      God's truth about sex in its unitive/procreative significance, without ever
      intending sex. Just as man who doesn't intend to kill an innocent person
      can not be guilty of murder, so too does a nun who never intends to have
      sex, can not be guilty of the sin of contraception. Of course she does
      intend to prevent herself from getting pregnant, and this may cause
      confusion because this same intention is present in those married couples
      who are using contraception to avoid pregnancy. But they are completely
      different animals and it is important to see this. The church has not given
      any indication that the mere intention to not get pregnant is wrong,
      (otherwise NFP would be wrong), nor does the church give any indication that
      merely blocking sperm from reaching an egg is intrinsically wrong without
      any other considerations. What the church is clearly condemning, is the
      abuse of sex which in turn implies and presupposes persons who are intending
      sex. If 2370 had said that it is trying to safeguard the biological purpose
      of sperm in their function of seeking out an egg to fertilize, then yes, you
      all would be right that the nun is guilty and that absolutely all use of
      devices with any intention of preventing conception is always wrong, but
      does the church say that? Nope.

      to be continued.............



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    • George
      George Desnoyers here. ... George Desnoyers replies: Okay, lets look at the magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church as reflected by the actual
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 6, 2001
        George Desnoyers here.

        Brian Killian said:

        >Since theologians, whether St. John Chrysostom or
        >Fr. Miranda, are not sufficient to resolve this
        >debate, lets concentrate on the magisterium itself
        >as our guide.

        George Desnoyers replies:

        Okay, lets look at the magisterium, the teaching authority of the
        Church as reflected by the actual teaching of the preponderance of
        bishops. The Catholic Church's magisterium has NOT supported the
        Church's position on contraception for some time. That is why
        Pope Paul VI intervened personally in Vatican II's handling of the
        issue (deliberately sabotaging the hard work of a Vatican II
        committee). When word got to Pope Paul VI that a Vatican II
        committee of bishops was preparing a document that would be in strong
        disagreement with the Church's ban on contraception, he had his
        Secretary of State deliver a letter to the Vatican II committee that
        demanded the insertion of four "modi" (emendments). The "modi"
        included a condemnation of contraceptive devices and a declaration of
        the authority of "Casti Connubii." [The final document, which just
        barely followed the instructions of Pope Paul VI, was "Gaudium et
        Spes" (1965).]

        After Pope Paul VI issued "Humanae Vitae" (1968), the Catholic world
        rebelled so vehemently that this pope never issued another encyclical
        (a ten-year period). Everyone rebelled, including the Church's
        bishops. The bishops' rebellion began in the area around the
        Netherlands, and quickly spread around the world. The method of the
        bishops was nearly always the same. They taught that ordinary
        Catholics, provided they had some education, could (and should) give
        careful consideration to the teaching of the pope regarding
        contraception. If, after doing so, they held beliefs different than
        the Pope's (those in "Humanae Vitae"), they could act on their
        own beliefs without being any less Catholic, and without being
        inferior Catholics. Never before in the history of the Church had
        the bishops overwhelmingly and enthusiastically taken the occasion of
        a pope's encyclical to advocate and teach the primacy of
        conscience over the teachings of the pope's encyclical.

        So much for the magisterium's belief in the sinfulness of
        contraception.

        Brian continued:

        >The catechism of the Catholic Church devotes several
        >paragraphs which pertain to contraception and give
        >it its context, the relevant paragraphs are these:
        >
        >Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal
        >love naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not
        >come from outside as something added on to the mutual
        >love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart
        >of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment.
        >So the Church, which "is on the side of life" teaches
        >that "each and every marriage act must remain open
        >'per se' to the transmission of life."

        This thinking is in line with several other actions of the Church in
        its history. The Church has at times forbidden the marriage of
        elderly people unable to have children, as well as other couples in
        which one or both of the people involved was/were thought to be
        incapable of conceiving or bearing a child. [So much for the
        Church's belief in the power of prayer to move mountains, and to
        produce miracles greater than those of Jesus.] It also has cast
        people into hell (declared them to be mortal sinners) for having
        marital relations (1) when the woman was already known or thought to
        be pregnant, or (2) during the time of the woman's cycle when
        conception was thought to be impossible. [Augustine would be
        appalled at the Church's approval of the rhythm method.]

        Contraception against natural law?

        The Church has claimed that contraception violates natural law, law
        which man is able to arrive at by the use of reason. If it is so
        natural to arrive at the law against contraception, why didn't
        the Greeks, who first recognized and defined natural law, know this?
        Why didn't the Jews of biblical times know this? Why didn't
        Jesus and the authors of the NT know this? Why are the Catholic
        Popes and Curia virtually the only society in the world that knows
        this natural law?

        Perhaps most reasonable of all to ask is, why didn't the special
        Pontifical Commission on sexuality that was established by Pope John
        XXIII and that reported to Pope Paul in 1965 know of the natural law
        against contraception?

        That Pontifical Commission was made up of well-educated people who
        certainly understood the concept of natural law, and who would
        certainly be capable of using their reason to arrive at it. They
        were people who, in large part, were picked specifically because they
        were Catholics in very good standing. They were people whom, it was
        believed, could be counted on to arrive at a report favorable to the
        Church's past position. In fact, they had all accepted the
        Church's ban on contraception in the past. They began their work
        on the Commission in agreement with papal thinking, and very
        respectful of the papacy and the Church's authority. Let's
        look at the final votes of that Pontifical Commission. There were
        three separate votes at the final session in 1965. The sixteen
        bishops on the Commission voted nine to three in favor of ending the
        Church's prohibition on contraception [three bishops abstained,
        and one – the current Pope, John Paul II, – was absent]. The
        nineteen theologians on the Commission voted fifteen to four in favor
        of ending the Church's prohibition on contraception. And the non-
        episcopal members of the Commission voted thirty to five in favor of
        ending the Church's prohibition on contraception.

        So much for contraception being opposed to natural law, law which man
        can know by the use of reason alone.

        Brian Killian said:

        >Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth
        >regulation based on self- observation and the use
        >of infertile periods, is in conformity with the
        >objective criteria of morality. These methods
        >respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage
        >tenderness between them, and favor the education
        >of an authentic freedom.

        Here is some testimony provided the Pontifical Commission on
        sexuality. It was provided by a person who was both a husband and a
        scholar. "Rhythm destroys the meaning of the sex act; it turns a
        spontaneous expression of spiritual and physical love into a mere
        bodily sexual relief; it makes me obsessed with sex throughout the
        month; it seriously endangers my chastity; it has a noticeable effect
        upon my disposition toward my wife and children; it makes necessary
        my complete avoidance of all affection toward my wife for three weeks
        at a time. I have watched a magnificent spiritual and physical union
        dissipate and, due to rhythm, turn into a tense and mutually damaging
        relationship. Rhythm seems to be immoral and deeply unnatural. It
        seems to me diabolical."

        What did this husband-scholar's wife say? Here's some of her
        testimony. "I find myself sullen and resentful of my husband
        when the time of sexual relations finally arrives. I resent his
        necessarily guarded affection during the month and I find that I
        cannot respond suddenly. I find, also, that my subconscious dreams
        and unguarded thoughts are inevitably sexual and time consuming. All
        this in spite of a great intellectual and emotional companionship and
        a generally beautiful marriage and home life." [Quotes of this
        husband and wife are from: Robert Blair Kaiser, "The Politics of Sex
        and Religion: A Case History in the Development of Doctrine, 1962-
        1984" (Leaven Press of "The National Catholic Reporter," 1985), pp,
        95.

        Brian Killian said:

        >Hence contraception has been called 'marital fornication' because
        >it seeks to exploit ones partner for ones own purposes where it
        >should express a mutual self-giving.

        The history of the Church in dragging out terms like "marital
        fornication" is very interesting. In fact, in the past, the
        Church has equated the husband's having relations with his wife
        at times when conception was thought to be impossible with rape.
        Strangely, the Church also maintained at the same time that the wife
        had a duty to say "yes" to her husband.

        I strongly recommend two books to Brian: "Eunuchs in the Kingdom of
        Heaven – Women, Sexuality, and the Catholic Church" (1990), by
        Uta Ranke-Heinemann, and "Papal Sin" (2000), by Garry Wells. If
        there are any other people who agree with Brian regarding the
        teachings of "Casti Connubii" (1930), "Humanae Vitae" (1968),
        and "Familiaris Consortio" (1981), they also are in desperate need of
        these books.

        George Desnoyers
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