See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On Contraception...

As I always say, contraception is the original sin of the sexual revolution...
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From A Baptist:
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I’m quite negatively inclined toward the pill. I think that it’s something that more and more people are rejecting – the whole idea of using chemicals to fool the body into thinking that it’s pregnant, for a long period of time, seems to entail health risks that are significant. As well, there is the overall cultural effect of the pill over the last 40 years, leading to such things as widespread promiscuity, the degeneration of the family, the objectification of women, sexual irresponsibility, breakdown of family, high rates of divorce, etcetera; clearly there are big moral issues tied up in the whole question. And these moral issues I think are tied up with all forms of contraception.
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The idea of contraception itself is becoming morally questionable to people I think through the consequences of the ‘sexual revolution,’ or what we could even call the ‘contraceptive revolution’ – the whole idea that sex is recreational, that it’s not about children and family and marriage. The consequences of that, as they are worked out in society, with the predictions of Pope Paul VI coming true – these are causing people to look at it again and re-think what they took for granted, and I would count myself among those who are doing so. I am in the process of re-thinking contraception from a natural law perspective, and I would be at the point now of thinking that it really is inconsistent to embrace contraception, and then to not embrace the rest of the sexual revolution.
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The relation to same-sex marriage.
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I think the one thing that has happened in the last couple of years that has really forced people to think about this issue is the legalization of so-called same-sex ‘marriage’ in Canada. The idea of same-sex ‘marriage’ seems to entail a legitimation of homosexual behaviour, and when homosexual behaviour is legitimized, it is described as being morally equivalent to heterosexual sexual behaviour that is contraceptive in nature. This presents a real problem, because in order for Christians to say homosexuality is wrong, it seems inconsistent to say contraceptive heterosexual behaviour is right. And so if you’re relying on a strictly Biblical law perspective – simply the fact that homosexual behaviour is considered to be wrong in the Bible – if that’s your only basis, then the problem that is you may very well be able to say, “Well we Christians in the Church ought not to engage in that,” but for those who don’t accept the Bible, for those who are non-Christians, there doesn’t seem any way to justifiably require them to accept the anti-homosexual perspective.
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And so without a natural law approach to it, it seems as though Christian support for traditional marriage collapses. And this is what we are seeing in our society. So I’m in the process of re-thinking the basis of Christian opposition to homosexuality, and asking the question of whether, in fact, it is justifiable to expect a society that is pluralistic, that is made up of Christians and non-Christians, to accept anti-homosexuality. While in asking that question one is driven to a natural law analysis of the morality of sex, which raises the question of contraception.
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Theology of the Body
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I have developed a great appreciation for the Theology of the Body, and it’s very possible to read the Theology of the Body as a massive explanation for why Humanae Vitae (Pope Paul VI’s encyclical) is correct from a Biblical theology perspective. The Catholic Church has always based its opposition to contraception, clearly and openly, on a natural law analysis.
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As the sexual revolution took off in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, the western Church was divided between Protestant and Catholic thought; the Protestants had a Biblical theology/divine command approach to ethics, while the Catholic Church emphasized the natural law reasoning against contraception. Now, after Protestant opposition to contraception collapsed during the 20th century, I see the churches as having been put in a weakened position, because on the one hand we had Protestants with a Biblical emphasis on sexual morality and family issues, but then you had the natural law analysis of the Catholics. But the Catholic position didn’t seem compelling to Protestantism, hence the collapse of their opposition to contraception, and not sharing the Catholic natural position, Protestants were not able to speak strongly into the culture about the morality of sexuality. - A Baptist's opposition to contraception.
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H/T to Paula for the story.

9 comments:

  1. That is so succinct that I am printing it out. Thanks!

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  2. The common denominator between abortion, birth control and active homosexuality is a refusal to die to self and an unwillingness to submit to Gods will.

    Rebels don't fare well in the end.

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  3. The worst thing about contraception is the utter confusion perpetrated by certain clergy. I remember one priest told me in the confessional that it's a sin, but if my conscience dictates I must do it, then it's okay. I then found out that this is what the Bishop's Conference of Germany basically commands the priests to say.

    Here in the US I know several good, prayerful couples with large families who struggled with the issue but were guided by priests to accept the licitness of contraception in their situations (the reasons were often of a serious financial or health nature, the same reasons most people use NFP, not selfish 'that's enough for our lifestyle' reasons). I think we must all know several people like that.

    I mostly had a hard time accepting Humane Vitae because of the confusion the clergy have released. And even most of them learned to think that way in formation.

    Most people do not use contraception because they hate God or want to actively rebel. Let us pray for them and not judge the interior motives of their hearts (not that anyone here did, but I see it often on the blogosphere). Let us also pray that priests have enough courage to relentlessly preach the issue.

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  4. Mr. Mercury,
    ... I understand CLEARLY, people are trying to avoid "My life." It's getting harder and harder to raise a large Catholic family. I along with my friends who have several children and are struggling with huge financial, emotional, physical, and mental burdens right now. I get it! And unless your in these waters with us you wouldn't have a clue about how crushing it can be. (But your not witnessing the divine providence of God either or the Holy way's in which he manifests himself in our lives.) Some of these Catholic families are setting the bar of faith in action pretty high for the rest of us and if we're judged on a curve, I for one am going to be in big trouble.

    Even so,
    People who use birth control and who are Catholic and who know that it's against church teaching are in rebellion. NFP and abstence are the only acceptable solutions.
    Justifying it in ones own mind wont change that truth.

    ****

    I spoke with a young woman carrying her gucchi purse and wearing her beautiful clothing after mass and she said she wouldn't have any more children and that two was enough - just before she drove off in her new car...

    Don't kid yourself this issue is about stuff. Gods will or stuff and nobody wants to be poor, or suffer.

    Did you know that most of the same reasons a woman choses abortion are the same reasons she uses to contracept?


    As far as me judging anyone else, they're on their own. I don't have time to judge. I have my own sins to answer for , but that doesn't discount the fact that I'm calling a sin a sin and what God does with these souls later on- well, that's their problem - or more correctly his.

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  5. I should have known your Baptist was Craig Carter - he's the only online Protestant I know who's read Pope John Paul II's TOB, which I believe you hold in low regard (the work - not the pope). If I'm wrong I apologize.

    The man is a prolific poster at his blog, The Politics of the Cross Resurrected (http://politicsofthecrossresurrected.blogspot.com/). He's an Evangelical theology professor who refers to Augustine and Aquinas by "St." and he cites them where apppropriate. He is conservative politicaly, he gets it about radical Islam, he expresses appreciation for much Catholic theology (beyond TOB), and where there was once a disclaimer on his blog that he will never convert to Catholicism despite his obvious affinity fiormuch that is Catholic, it has since been removed.

    I think you should read him over time. He bears monitoring.

    I'd surely like to see him swim the Tiber - he'd be a great pick-up.

    Phil

    P.S.

    I support your policy against anonymous postings.

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  6. Phil - Thanks. Just to be clear, I actually hold the authentic teaching of theology of the body - as the the catechesis of JPII is popularly referred to - in very high regard - it is a mystical work in it's own right. Sadly, the interpretation by misguided, shallow, pseudo intellectuals seeking to make it a product of pop-Gaga-esque culture is what I see as a problem, if not a gross corruption - as such, I'm against that.

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  7. Belinda, I wasn't criticizing your comment. I was talking about people who genuinely want to serve God, but who come up against severe hardships, not your Gucci bag lady. They hear about the church's teachings, find it hard to live by, and then they go to Fr. X and tell him how much they are struggling. Then Fr. X will give them some claptrap about conscience and how HV is not exactly infallible, how NFP is *essentially* the same thing, etc. This is what almost all of the priests I talked to about it did.

    Remember also that in the 70s and 80s, even most of the 90s, people couldn't just access papal documents online or read the several brilliant articles out there by moral theologians on the issue. They learned it like this: "If you have doubts, go to Father, he'll guide you."

    Believe me, I do not excuse contraception. It has ravaged the entire European continent and destroyed our culture. I decided to stand on the issue and my adherence to Church teaching destroyed my own marriage. I will not back down on the evil that it is. But I think we need to pray for those who have been misguided, and REALLY pray for the misguiders.

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  8. And for the record, I was in no way making excuses for people who want to avoid hardship. I'm talking about people with 5 or 6 kids and no money left, people with 4 kids and 5 miscarriages, etc. This doesn't justify it in any way, but it also doesn't indicate thoughtless frivolity.

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  9. Yes Mr.Mercury, I will offer up my prayers with yours.

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