Saturday, February 20, 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "DID THE POPE JUST PERMIT CONTRACEPTION?": 

I agree with the consistent ethic towards the value of every human life. It is a complex issue and must never be looked at from a simple context. It is quite arrogant to judge people who choose to protect themselves, when we know too well that coitus does not simply arise from lust. Imagine yourself in an untenable situation or perhaps your daughter gets into this dilemma. It is so easy to say that the Church condemns use of contraception or bans abortion but not as easy when it involves someone close to home. What if the husband who has sexually-transmitted disease demands sex from his wife? What about rape? In the latter case, Pope Paul VI permitted abortion for nuns in Africa who were vulnerable to that kind of assault in the context of the culture. Any proclamation regarding this difficult issue should be understood in terms of understanding the human situation, in a compassionate manner, and in a charitable way of advice. Otherwise, we might be akin to the attitude of the Pharisees who never lifted a finger to help but readily judged others based on skin surface observations. Please correct me if I am wrong. 

Since what you say here is common, let us address it in its own post:

While you and others may agree with the "consistent ethic" (e.g. Bernardin's "seamless garment"), you place yourself at odds with the Church which has always permitted men to kill each other, the conditions of which summarily fall under the right to self-defense and which are most clearly enumerated under the doctrine of "just war." (See CCC 2309

Even in JPII's ground breaking Evangelium Vitae, JPII stopped short of condemning capital punishment in all cases, simply because he was aware that he could not without contradicting the Church's constant teaching on the right to self-defense, which in most societies throughout history, has meant the execution of criminals. 

All that is to say that while all lives may be equal in dignity before God, not all lives are deserving of the same protection. Should I choose to break into my neighbor's house in the middle of the night, I choose to put my life at risk and my neighbor would be justified in taking my life to defend his own. 

Better yet, let's let Pope Benedict himself say it when he was yet the Cardinal Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
The next portion of what you say is simply "situation ethics." Sadly, this is what the pope apparently fell into practicing with his response. In other words, "Here is the Church's constant teaching except for when it gets hard," or "close to home." There are other religions for that. The Anglican-Episcopal church comes to mind. And by the way, no one is judging anyone else here. And even if one was, the judgement of a fellow human is NOT the judgement one should be worried about!

As for your example of a husband with a sexually transmitted disease, the wife has a right to refuse him. But oral contraception - which is the form of contraception at issue here - is NOT going to protect the wife against the disease. And according to the FDA, neither is a condom, which, according to its own statistical study, documents that condom use will result in pregnancy 18 out of 100 times. See for yourself right here

So if condom use will result in pregnancy 1 out of 6 times, how many more times will it permit the transmission of a virus? Then multiply that times the number of times persons may more freely engage in sex thinking they are protected. Is it any wonder that despite all the condom hype and even their free distribution that sexually transmitted diseases are crippling and killing at astronomical rates. And for Guam? Read: Island Ranks 6th in the Nation for Chlamydia Cases

You say that Paul VI permitted "abortion" for the nuns in Africa. I believe you meant to say "contraception." However, there's a problem even with that. There is nothing to document that Paul VI did any such thing. It appears to have been an off-the cuff answer to a hypothetical question posed to the pope during the time he was in the process of expanding the Pontifical Commission on Birth Control. The Commission was tasked with exploring how "the pill" actually worked and whether or not use of it by married couples could be morally licit. 

Sadly, the establishment of the Commission was never really anything more than a nod to the liberals, a way of saying "look we tried," but "no." In fact, this is exactly what happened. The Commission released its final report in 1966 with the vote 66-6 in favor of rescinding the ban on contraception. (Interesting numbers by the way 66-6 in [19]66.) Paul VI KNEW he could not rescind the ban and two years later, ignoring the 8 years of work by the commission, penned Humanae Vitae declaring the following:
Unlawful Birth Control Methods 
14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15) 
Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)
You finish your comment with:
"Any proclamation regarding this difficult issue should be understood in terms of understanding the human situation, in a compassionate manner, and in a charitable way of advice. Otherwise, we might be akin to the attitude of the Pharisees who never lifted a finger to help but readily judged others based on skin surface observations." 
Apparently, Paul VI is the Pharisee here since it is his "proclamation" which codified and solidified the Church's clear position on the matter, a position which cost him much and probably led to an earlier death, primarily because of challenges like yours and the fact that the majority of the Catholic world simply chose to ignore it anyway. (In fact, if there is any judging here, it is the judgement from those who already embrace contraception and who judge the tiny few who side with the Church.)

You end with "Please correct me if I am wrong." That's not my job. But thanks for the invitation to do so. I would just simply advise: study what the Church magisterially teaches and beware of airplane speeches. 

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