Friday, May 6, 2011

Hitting Rome Below the Belt

It appears most Catholics ingnor Rome's extra-biblical requirements on birth control.  (link)

22 comments:

bossmanham said...

Hey Dan,

While I think a Biblical case could be made for the Catholic position on BC (which I agree with) the rationale comes mainly from the philosophy of Natural Law. Since BC is interfering with the natural purpose of God for sex, it is therefore immoral. They would say you can derive all of that from scripture.

Godismyjudge said...

They would say that, but... is it true? To quote the sweedish Pietists, vver is it written?

God be with you,
Dan

bossmanham said...

It's written in God's purpose for His establishments. If we are acting against God's purposes, are we not in error? I think God's purpose for the marriage bed is made quite clear from Genesis on. I can extrapolate if you want, but I'm on my phone right now.

Godismyjudge said...

"If we are acting against God's purposes, are we not in error?"

Well I guess I view God's purposes as either His commands or His providence. I am not sure if you are talking about some third catigory. If we act against His commands then of course we are in error.

We will not act outside of or against God's providence.

God be with you,
Dan

Matthew Bellisario said...

Read Genesis 38.

http://catholicchampion.blogspot.com/2009/08/genesis-38-and-sin-of-onan.html

Godismyjudge said...

Matthew,

Given Onan was unwilling to ‘fulfill the duties of a brother-in-law”, he didn’t qualify for the special permission given to brother in laws and his actions amounted to incest.

This is basically how Jovinianus viewed the passage:

“he censures Onan, slain by the Lord, because he, grudging to raise up seed to his brother, marred the marriage rite.”

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf206.vi.vi.I.html

So your claims that your view was the only interpretation of the passage in Church history is incorrect.

God be with you,
Dan

Matthew Bellisario said...

Sorry Dan, I have refuted your interpretation, and it is a fact that every, and I mean every Christian group before the 1930 interpreted this passage the way I am interpreting it. Even Luther and your "Reformed" friends interpreted it that way. How convenient it is when you can just change on a whim. Such is Protestantism.

Godismyjudge said...

Matthew,

You didn’t address my interpretation – I am not sure why you think you refuted it. Probably the real issue here is a difference in method as indicated by your statement here:

“all Protestant denominations who refuse this interpretation are not in accord with the consistent and ancient Christian or Jewish interpretations of this Biblical text. This in fact puts them at odds with Sacred Scripture and this Biblical moral teaching.”

You seem to think that when it comes to interpretation, you look for consensus or the church’s authority; whereas I think ‘refutation’ and 'interpretation' require individuals to reason for themselves. You can’t outsource your brain.

God be with you,
Dan

A.M. Mallett said...

If the marriage bed has only the purpose of procreation, how does one divy up those 2,3,4,5,6 or more sexual experiences over the life of the marriage?

Godismyjudge said...

lol @ Trav. Hum... my comment seems to have disappeared.

A.M. Mallett said...

Dan, there was a family on my street growing up in the day who had 19 children. He was a lucky guy I suppose to get that much experience.

Godismyjudge said...

Trav,

Didn't know you grew up in Utah.

God be with you,
Dan

bossmanham said...

Dan,

Well I guess I view God's purposes as either His commands or His providence. I am not sure if you are talking about some third catigory. If we act against His commands then of course we are in error.

I mean God's intention for certain institutions He has set up, which would have something to do with His commands, yes. In that His command for the first married couple was to be fruitful and multiply, I believe that is good grounds for what His purpose for sex is. Certainly we can see that without unnatural intervention, there is a natural end for sex, and I believe that acting against that end is to act against God's purpose for the act He instituted. Also, as children are a blessing, in preventing the natural course of sex, you are preventing a blessing from God. It also causes us to look at children as financial impediments if that is our reasoning for not having them. I will go on later today, but my lunch is over.

Godismyjudge said...

Brennon,

So are you trying to infer God's intentions behind His commands and then use those intentions as moral guidelines?

God be with you,
Dan

bossmanham said...

So are you trying to infer God's intentions behind His commands and then use those intentions as moral guidelines?

To an extent, I suppose. I'm not only inferring God's intentions from His commands, which is what we do with a lot of His commands, but also from the revelation of nature, which is painfully obvious in what marriage and sex entail. This is employing a bit of Aquinas' moral law theory.

But I also see that children are a blessing, and the more one has the merrier. I see that, whether the interpretation is clear or not (though most through church history have thought it so, ie all the reformers) the only time birth control is practiced in the Bible, the perpetrator is killed. And I see the command to be fruitful and multiply directly after the institution of marriage is created by God.

Now, one can ignore all those things and say it's more practical to consider finances (as if God won't provide what we need) but it doesn't seem that's ever a concern for the Biblical writers.

Finally, in a practical sense, we are killing ourselves off in the west by adopting this recent trend (one not accepted by any church until the 1930 Lambeth Conference). We're not replacing ourselves in the west. Muslims are having 8 children per family, and aren't slowing down. They'll soon take over Europe without firing a shot. So, in the immediate present, perhaps it helps the finances to not have kids, but I don't see that helping anyone in the long term.

bossmanham said...

And the command to be fruitful and multiply isn't one I have to infer in any case.

Godismyjudge said...

Brennon,

Hum… the intent question could just be a semantic problem rather than a substantive one. On the one hand, I have zero problem with reading a command in context or trying to understand a general principal behind specific commands. If that’s what you mean by ‘intent’, I am cool with it.

On the other hand, if you mean by ‘intent’ something over and above God’s commands (when properly and completely understood), I object. First, God’s commands alone are our moral standards. Second, good luck trying to figure out God’s unstated intentions. Third, God can have multiple intentions for something (is an apple for us to eat or for the tree to reproduce?).

On to the specifics of birth control. I am worried that you are arguing from the general to the universal. Just because mankind is to be fruitful and multiply doesn’t mean all people everywhere and at all times must be fruitful and multiply. Paul’s instructions on celibacy would be an obvious counter example. Just because sex is for reproduction doesn’t mean it’s only for reproduction. Just because Church’s didn’t say birth control is OK doesn’t mean they were against it. What if they were silent on the issue and left it up to the individual to decide for themselves.

Your make love not war approach to Islam is awesome.

God be with you,
Dan

@GodnChzburgers said...

The problem with artificial birth control is that it interferes with the complete unity of husband and wife. AS Paul says to us men in Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it."

This means we must love and empty ourselves. This emptying goes both ways. Such is the purpose of marriage: fruitfulness in a milieu of unity that is reflective of the very unity that is God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

There is also all the scriptural references that detail how families that remain open to life are always blessed. Being open to life does not mean that one must abuse the privilege either. We must be responsible parents and that means trusting in God's will for us. This translates into natural family planning but ensuring one does not does so with a contraceptive mind.

Godismyjudge said...

GnC,

We must be responsible parents and that means trusting in God's will for us. This translates into natural family planning but ensuring one does not does so with a contraceptive mind.

This seems to go against the quotation Matthew provided on his blog from Jerome, who basically said any sex except for the purpose of reproduction is wrong. Which leads to the question of where the line is to be drawn. If reproduction is essential to unity, then why is natural family planning OK?

God be with you,
Dan

@GodnChzburgers said...

Quotes are funny things. Certainly Jerome's opinion is a bit harsh but from my understanding, which is of course Catholic, Jerome is simply pointing out the fact that the primary reason for intercourse is procreation. That is why we have no need of it in heaven or at the Eschaton.

Being both material and spiritual beings, gift of intercourse is doubly pro-creative and unitive. In this basic act we are not only able to participate with God's will with concern to the blessing of new life but the bond between male and female becomes strengthened thus giving us an image of the unity of the Most Holy Trinity and of course that most famous of Paul's imagery of God and His spouse, Israel/the Church. (May I suggest reading JPII's Theology of the Body on this matter in addition to Paul VI Humanae Vitae)

Now, how does this all fit into the Church's approval of NFP (w/o the contraceptive mentality of course)? Simply put, not every act of intercourse will produce a child. What makes proper use of NFP legit and unobtrusive to the unity of a marriage (actually many studies show that couples who use NFP have a divorce rate of about 1 percent) is the fact that the couple are a) open to life and b) are so in tune with each other (can't do NFP w/o both parties working at it) that it becomes difficult to avoid the building of marital unity and the grace that God bestows when we cooperate with Him.

Godismyjudge said...

"NFP (w/o the contraceptive mentality of course)?"

Isn't the point of NFP to prevent pregnancy?

God be with you,
Dan

@GodnChzburgers said...

In a blunt sense yes. But with all things theological precision is key. The Church teaches that all contraception is sin.

Before continuing, I would like to qualify my statement and expand upon the Church's teaching that there may be extenuating circumstances where a woman must take birth control pills or either party may become surgically sterilized, etc. But these are few and far between and the intent behind these procedures or use of medicines was never to prevent conception.

That said, NFP is the only approved method by which the Faithful can "space" their pregnancies while remaining open to life. This is because whenever the conjugal act takes place both husband and wife give themselves "completely" to the other. If a couple chooses to use NFP for purely contraceptive purposes then their commit sin because there is never a willingness to accept life so to speak.

Think of premarital sex or oral sex - or any sex outside of marriage. We know that a sterile married couple can continue to enjoy the unitive aspects of the act because they cannot control the fact that life does not spring from their love yet that does not mean it is okay to sleep with someone other than their spouse, etc. Both using NFP in a contraceptive (contra-conception) manner and fornication are perversions God's gifts to mankind.