Thursday, February 18, 2016

Newsflash: Pope Francis did NOT just green-light contraception!


I feel like yelling.

Look at the second line of this headline:






NO, the Pope did NOT say birth control is OKAY. That is UNTRUE. The Drudge headline erroneously extrapolates from this distorted AP article, but let's read closer, yes? Francis says that it is not intrinsically evil to avoid pregnancy (DUH!!!), unlike abortion which is intrinsically evil. And he even references Pope Paul VI, the very person who wrote Humanae Vitae, which condemns contraception!

From the AP article itself:

Abortion "is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil at its root, no? It's a human evil," he said. "On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one (Zika), such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear."

Guess what? He just said what the Church has always said: Avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. And there are ways of avoiding pregnancy, as Pope Paul VI said, that are moral. It's called Natural Family Planning.

Hello??? Is anyone ever listening?

DON'T BELIEVE THE MEDIA, people!!! Sigh....





*Please note that even the word "Zika" was inserted by the reporter, not spoken by Pope Francis.






148 comments:

  1. Just came here to see if you'd posted about this, haha.

    Yes, obviously drawing the conclusion that contraceptives are now universally ok is a silly thing based on what Pope Francis said.

    However, I think his comparison of chaste nuns using ABC in case of a real and present danger of rape and the Zika situation is false, and I think he has misstepped with this one. Women who are taking birth-defect inducing medication are not dispensated for ABC use. How is this situation any different?

    ReplyDelete
  2. THANK YOU. I can't even deal with the media nonsense today. Ugh.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Monica, theologians have weighed in on that question. Nuns are not sexually active. For them to become pregnant, they would have to be raped. So, it's not a proper analogy to compare the nuns (who are not sexually active) to married women who want to avoid birth defects.

    I'd have to do more research on the nun situation, but I remember that being a big discussion a few years back (during the Croatian/Serbian wars?).

    ReplyDelete
  4. So to clarify, the nuns who were being systematically raped in the '60s in Africa could choose, as a defense, to take the Pill. They could never choose abortion, of course. And, rape is a violent act, not in any way analogous to an act of sexual intercourse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not really. Some theologians expressed that opinion. But the Pill can act as an abortifacient. And that is not morally permissible, even in cases of rape.

      Delete
    2. Also, just a minor clarification... the Pill is not a "defense" against a rape aggression. It will not stop violence. It will only (potentially) stop a pregnancy. I realize that the word is used by the USCCB in this matter but I still find it incorrect and highly innappropriate. The woman does not "defend" herself against an unborn child. This slippery slope is almost impossible to avoid... the requirements for a truly ethical administration of emergency contraception after rape literally almost impossible to implement in any setting, let alone a hospital setting following a traumatic event.

      Delete
  5. Yes, we are in agreement! And, judging from the first translation I have seen of the whole thing (depending if that is reliable), he did not necessarily equate the two situations anyway. He was a bit rambly (he's a talker, and it is fodder for the press), but I am not sure he was making a parallel.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Melody, it's true that the Vatican did not definitively declare either way. But theologians have weighed in to try to sort out the moral principles. It's a sticky wicket, sort of like embryo adoption. No definitive answer to a very difficult situation that has only been confronted/possible in modern times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Theologians don't agree on anything. There is a theologian for every moral position on the planet. I'm sure we've both met some of them. I think the importance of the Vatican keeping this speculative theology close to the vest is not appreciated enough. The requirements for emergency contraception to be made available to a woman are quite stringent... as I said, almost impossible to implement under any circumstance.

      Delete
  7. "The woman does not "defend" herself against an unborn child." No, but she can defend herself against the unjust aggressor's sperm.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It isn't really that stringent. You can do a simple LH urine test and/or an ultrasound to determine if ovulation is imminent. If a woman knows where she is in her cycle, that helps even more.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It is unlikely to be followed under a traumatic circumstance. If professionals even know the guidelines. If the woman has any knowledge of her menstrual history, or is capable of communicating it. It is complex. I'm not saying it isn't ever permissible. I'm saying that it is not as clear cut as people think.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Melody, if you could, please post at the bottom so it's easier for me to follow.

    The rapist's sperm is part of the rapist. It's not a child and I can repel it. I reject all the rapist's body and fluids, including his sperm cells, which are NOT something I need to revere or preserve. I hope we can agree on that.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sorry, Leila... your combox is setup as "reply" under a comment so I thought I was keeping it orderly by keeping comments in the right order. :)

    Yes, we can agree on that. I'm just getting picky about language. And I don't necessarily and ultimately disagree... just thinking with my keyboard (probably a bad idea).

    Also, I am not seeing distinctions in online discussions between spermicide and the morning after pill, both of which are used under the title "emergency contraception." One is never an abortifacient. The other can cause a chemical abortion. It's really a critical distinction for emergency use. And most Catholics aren't prepared with those questions in an emergency situation. Then to bring the discussion to Zika is different. A husband is not an aggressor... the virus is. Drawing even a casual relationship between the situations is just so confusing for people.

    ReplyDelete
  12. No worries, Melody! A few years into my blogging career, Blogger decided to add a "reply" function, and I've resented them ever since, ha ha!!!

    Yes, I agree it's confusing. The pope is a talker, and he loves people. He loves to talk and we all know people like that. He is surrounded by "friendly" reporters on long plane trips and he is jovial, wanting to answer their questions and chat. It's not conducive to really precise language, and there tend to be tangents. That's what we have all come to expect on these plane rides, and here is a funny satirical look at that, today from Eye of the Tiber:

    http://www.eyeofthetiber.com/2016/02/18/francis-declares-plane-interviews-new-authoritative-form-of-magisterial-teaching/

    ReplyDelete
  13. The good news is that Drudge has taken down that ridiculous headline, but I'm sure the damage has been done.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I don't think the ABC as a defense to rape has anything to do with sperm. For one thing, ABC does not defend against sperm. I think the argument here must be that sex is a unitive and procreative act. While a woman cannot defend herself against an aggressor's forcing of the unitive, she can at least defend against the procreative. I'm just talking off the top of my head here, I have not studied this, but to me, this argument makes much more sense.

    ReplyDelete
  15. ... Posted to soon... Makes much more sense for the special case dispensation given to the group of nuns in immense the danger of rape.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Monica, it's not possible for a rape to be "unitive" in any way, so that can't be it. It's not even mimicking the marital act, as fornication does. It's just straight up violence -- just like if someone used an inanimate object to violate a woman's (or man's) body, only this time a penis was used for the violation. So, there is no "forcing" a unitive act, is what I'm saying. I do think that if and when the Pill does prevent ovulation, it is protecting the woman against the invading sperm cells which seek (instinctively) to penetrate her ovum. So, it is a defense against the forward action of the sperm, in my mind.

    But I'm not wedded to the idea that everyone has to come to that formula in order for it to make sense. That is what makes sense to me, though.

    ReplyDelete
  17. In other words, sex is a unite and procreative act, but rape is not sex. If that makes sense?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hmmmm. This would make rape the equivalent of stabbing someone with a penis, and it isn't. Let's say a condom was used during a rape, so we take away that aspect for a moment. Why is stabbing a woman in the vagina with a penis worse than stabbing her in the gut with a knife? (I think it IS worse).

    I think the reason rape is so abhorrent is because of the forced unity to her aggressor. But if there is a technical definition of unity in this context that I am missing, please let me know! It seems that if gay men cannot engage in unity because their biology is wrong, even when all emotional elements are in place, then a straight "couple" can have unity even when no emotional elements are in place.

    And now I have to go to bed. Talk to you tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
  19. You may be thinking simply mechanical, but sexual unity can't be forced. It's just not sexual intercourse.

    I don't know that we can measure what is worse: A rape or a murder (stab knife into gut). I do believe that emotionally, we can sometimes feel that rape is worse ("I'd rather be murdered than raped!"), but is rape objectively worse than murder? I would argue that it's not. I would rather (God forbid) be raped and live than not be raped and lose my life. I think it's an emotional question, anyway, not a question of what is objectively worse, you know?

    But I'm just thinking off the top of my head. Both are very evil things.

    ReplyDelete
  20. The problem that I foresee in the Pope's statement is how, now, people may decide in what situation they're in and if that situation may allow them to contracept. Sure Pope F referenced the nuns and rape (which is a situation that is hardly against procreation) but we all know how easy for it is for Catholics to misuse and twist those words for their own benefit. It creates a lot of confusion.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I agree that could be a fallout, but then I always ask myself: How badly did those folks want an out anyway? It seems to me that if they quickly take the headlines as truth and don't get the actual facts of it, then they were already mentally out of the truth and looking for an excuse to contracept.

    To me, that seems like human nature. It's like folks who leave the Church because Father yelled at them or because someone gave them a dirty look when their kid was crying at mass. Yes, those things can hurt, but we wouldn't leave over it unless we we a) didn't really know our faith in the first place, or b) we already had one foot out the door.

    If anything, maybe this is a chance to clarify and not confuse. An opportunity.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I clarify: I meant a non-mortal stab to the gut. Like you, it I was in the horrible situation of needing to choose between these evils, I would choose to live.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Monica, oh I see! Yes, agreed, I'd rather be non-lethally stabbed!

    ReplyDelete
  24. New question for you: What definition of sexual intercourse are you using so that rape is not sexual intercourse? Is this your own personal definition, or do you have some basis for it? If rape isn't forced sexual intercourse, then what is it?

    I know this has now drifted totally off-topic, but I'm curious because we both know that how we use and define words is very important. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Once again, thanks for the clarity, Leila!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. My complaint is that, once again, we are left to defend and clarify what Pope Francis has said. He continues to drop these "fire bombs"! Why? Do we not have enough to do without working that much harder to clarify what he has said. Has he not learned that he must be careful how he expresses himself? Of course he doesn't mean that artificial contraception is licit, but couldn't he have been just a little clearer? Wasn't this a "teachable moment"? I am very frustrated with his ambiguities. I read something today in which the author stated that we needed to accommodate Francis and understand him within the cultural context that he speaks. Perhaps. However, as a leader of the Catholic Church, does he not have the obligation to speak with clarity on that which the Church holds as most moral...especially considering the "context" in which we live.

    And speaking about people leaving and the "how badly did they want out anyway" comment...did these comments help? No, if anything they will only help to defeat any effort to keep someone who is thinking of leaving their faith to stay. Yes, people leave the Church because they do not understand what it is they are leaving, and sowing this type of confusion (wether Pope Francis means to or not) is not helping. I find it terribly frustrating.

    Knowing that his words will be misrepresented means that Pope Francis has an obligation to speak clearly and concisely. He failed to do so in this situation. It would be nice if the media would think carefully about what the pope has said, but it is not realistic. Therefore, our holy father needs to think before he speaks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with yo 100%. I am surprised I have not heard more people say this.

      Delete
    2. Yes, he definitely needs to be more precise or just stop talking off-the-cuff! I have heard a ton of people say this. I wish he had better advisors.

      Delete
  27. Ok, but, question. Here is what I would say if I were a liberal who wanted to see the Church come on board with the times. *If* you are correct, that there is no connection between the question regarding contraception and the reference to the nuns who were allowed to use contraception, then why did Pope Francis himself tie the two together? Yes, the word Zika was added to the quote, but Zika was, in fact, what the question was about. Zika, and contraception.

    So, if Pope Francis was not tying those concepts together, and if we assume he is an intelligent man, experienced in positions that require diplomatic language and able to recognize the importance and weight of tying two thoughts together in a sentence, then why did he say it? Is it that far fetched to say that, perhaps, he actually thinks that it's ok to use contraception if there is a widespread, uncontrollable threat of birth defects in a certain area? Or do you think that someone will point all of this out to him and he'll say, "Hmm. I shouldn't have said that. Better issue a clarification."?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Monica, I'm not sure. I think in the secular vernacular we (even me) would call that "forced sexual intercourse" perhaps. But I am pretty sure that the Church would not perceive it nor call it that. When they speak of contraception violating the marital act, they don't mean rape, of course.

    Sharon and Jennifer: I can only say this: I share your frustration with the "off-the-cuff" comments from our Holy Father. They seem to mostly happen on these stupid long plane rides. Francis is a talker and he is not going to change. He likes to talk. He is friendly. He speaks off-the-cuff. He is not polished and he is not precise at all. He gets himself into trouble. The press is very aware of his gift of gab, or rather his penchant for making headlines with controversial musings. They play him. They love it. He meanders when he talks and he makes connections and tangents that are not necessarily connected perfectly. That is who he is and what he does. Someone on Facebook said that what he says during these informal talks with reporters carries no more weight than if he were singing in the shower. It's true! These are not official pronouncements, and in other ages, we would not have a way to record or report every conversation a pope has.

    Is it frustrating? Yes. But then we have to ask ourselves: Why did God allow a pope at this time who is not so precise, after giving us two popes who are very precise? And, did the world convert to Catholicism with those other two at the helm? All these questions are interesting to me. We have the Holy Father we have. Why are we hand-wringing? It's nothing we can change.

    As for my comments about people leaving the Church.... I was one of them at one point! I wanted out! The thing that kept me in? I actually did my work and "found out what I was leaving before I left it". There is a responsibility that adults have for their own beliefs. Adults do have a duty to find out what is true. They have a duty to own their faith. At what point do we admit that most Catholics really have NO interest in going deeper and finding out the Truths of the Faith? And at what point do the rest of us have to take responsibility for not being holy and grace-filled enough for them to want to stay? Why is it always the pope's fault? Again, these people we are talking about were likely adult Catholics when Benedict was pontiff. Did they get strong in their faith when he was leading the Church? Clearly not. And if they did, then how is their faith so easily shaken by a plane interview or two? That changes nothing? They would leave the Eucharist over that? Makes no sense.

    ReplyDelete
  29. You can never express yourself carefully enough to people who are determined to misunderstand you.

    My understanding is English isn't his first language so between him trying to communicate clearly and relying on translations....it can be hard.

    But it is genius in its own way. I've never had so many people approach me and ask about Catholic teachings based on the report of what the Pope said.

    Am I really clearing up a misconception the Pope CAUSED or am I clearing up a misconception or lack of knowledge the person already had?

    Under this Pope, we have opportunities to express our faith and talk to many people who would never stop to give Catholic teachings the time of day. Most of them are generally curious and confused about us.

    He's pushing Catholics out of their comfort zone and I love him for it. Our job is to win souls for the Lord. Let's use every tool and opportunity we have.

    ReplyDelete
  30. "Am I really clearing up a misconception the Pope CAUSED or am I clearing up a misconception or lack of knowledge the person already had?"

    BINGO! Yes, a thousand times!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Either way, the effect is the same. He has an obligation to be clear, especially when navigating waters that are known to be murky at best. It is known that many (dare I say "most"?) Catholics don't understand contracepton and morality. So why be ambiguous? Why leave yourself wide open to "misinterpretation", "misrepresentation", whatever you want to call it. I get it, "stand by your man". However, error needs to be pointed out. It is a mistake to continuously say things in such an unclear manner when you KNOW it will be taken out of context. He could do a lot to help himself...an us.

      Delete
  31. Jennifer, you didn't really address the point, though. We had two popes for over a quarter century who were very precise -- did Catholics get it? Did the world get it? Hardly. So, perhaps this new paradigm (headlines, headlines, followed by an opportunity for clarification) might help shake some of them out of their stupor. Who is confused? Were they clear on things with the other popes (and faithful in those matters) but now are unclear? I guess I'm just asking how much better you think things were in people's understanding when we did have precise popes? And did the press take care to keep everything in context with those previous popes? Serious questions.

    PS: Please look below for commenting instructions. I know it seems picky, but if you could not use the "reply" option I'd appreciate it. It just makes it easier for me to find all the comments if we add our comments at the bottom and not as a "reply". Thanks. :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. The Holy Father just needs to stop. Stop doing in-flight interviews, stop addressing these "gotcha" questions. Apparently his advisors have tried to steer him away, but he keeps insisting. Not for the world's sake, but for the faithful's sake. I was watching an interview where a priest was trying to defend him, and he was shaking and so was I.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Jennifer:

    In your first comment you said "we are left to clarify and defend." You were talking specifically about Francis but think of it in the larger context of our faith.

    That is EXACTLY our job- to clarify and defend.

    Francis is tossing us in the deep end and telling us to go be Catholics. We rely far to heavily on our clergy to do the heavy lifting for us and that includes our popes. The Pope isn't there to explain the faith, the Pope is there to LEAD the faith.

    He reminds me of a father who deliberately puts his kids in a situation so they can learn how to deal with it.

    That's why I commented he's pushing us out of our comfort zones. We are the Church and we need to start engaging the rest of society more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I meant to say "isn't there to just explain the faith." Obviously teaching is part of it but it isn't his only function.

      Delete
  34. Cheech-

    Could you give me an example of what Francis says that is so hard to defend? I keep hearing about all the awful things Francis says but I really never found one that I thought was that bad.

    I'm honestly asking because I just don't see it

    ReplyDelete
  35. Starfire, Bingo!
    I cringe when the Pope is in a plane as well. But what happens next is amazing. I end up having a conversation with a person about church teaching on contraception that would NEVER had happened before. When was the last time anybody woke up thinking " today I'm going to explain the church's teaching to so-n-so"??. Not!
    So the Pope ( in all his Sanguine ambiguity glory) pops off and Drudge stupidity runs a headline and the next thing I know is I'm having a conversation with a person about what I consider one of deepest beliefs and cherished princlples in my life. It would have never happened!
    Do I like it? No! Was I going to touch that person with my own initiative and evangelical boldness today? No . But it turns out I had to.
    End result , something that likely would never had happened.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When was the last time anybody woke up thinking " today I'm going to explain the church's teaching to so-n-so"??. Not!

      That is my thought EVERY single morning dude! :P

      Delete
  36. Chris, yes! And, the pope is SUCH a sanguine!! I love it!

    Margo, hilarious!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Leila, you asked if people "got it" during our last two popes. I would actually answer yes. Did they follow it? Probably not any more than they do now. But did they KNOW contraception was wrong? Of course! There wasn't all these muddled messages from media. We certainly weren't seeing Drudge headlines like "Pope says contraception is ok" during the reigns of JPII & B16.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I'm not so sure, Nicole. After all, the headlines screamed: "Pope Benedict OK's Use of Condoms!" and I had to write a post debunking it.

    ReplyDelete
  39. True. I remember that one instance. But it just wasn't as incessant as it seems to be now. He was also criticized for being too "strict" so I think people were less likely to constantly be thinking/hoping he'd change church teaching.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Nicole- From what I remember they just called Benedict a child molester who protected child molesters and walked away.

    At least with Francis they listen....even if it is only for 30 seconds.

    ReplyDelete
  41. StarFireKK, that's right! And they said that about JPII especially.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Oh, there was more than one instance... see here for several examples (including some from JPII's pontificate).

    ReplyDelete
  43. Well apparently I was brain dead during B16's tenure. I just don't remember it being so incessant like it is now. Guess I was wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Oh, I don't think you are brain-dead! It is more incessant, a lot more incessant. And you are right, Francis' style does contribute to that.

    ReplyDelete
  45. You are definitely not brain-dead. I absolutely agree that it happens more often. A combination of Pope Francis' loose talking style ha ha, and the press that just loves to take advantage.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Leila, what should I do with this information?:

    ROME, February 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi has affirmed that the Holy Father was indeed speaking of “condoms and contraceptives” when on the flight back from Mexico, Pope Francis said couples could rightly “avoid pregnancy” in the wake of the Zika virus scare.

    Fr. Lombardi told Vatican Radio today, “The contraceptive or condom, in particular cases of emergency or gravity, could be the object of discernment in a serious case of conscience. This is what the Pope said.”

    ReplyDelete
  47. Fausty, I don't like LifeSiteNews anymore. They have been so anti-Francis and inflammatory and odd that I have stopped taking them seriously. Not so reliable. They will spin anything against Francis, and openly. So, I will wait to hear from a more reliable source. But Francis' words were clear.

    ReplyDelete
  48. It really saddens/frustrates me when you can't trust even what used-to-be legit conservative Catholic sources like LSN! Who/what can I trust these days?? Leila, I want to always be able to trust you and your Bubble haha, don't let me down ;)

    ReplyDelete
  49. I think this article is very good in explaining the problem and frustration of these off-the-cuff interviews. I really wish he'd stop doing them. And so do many senior Vatican officials!


    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/are-the-popes-controversial-inflight-interviews-a-price-worth-paying

    ReplyDelete
  50. Leila, my sister made the same comment about Lifesite News when they were the only ones reporting that the Vatican was going to be used as a backdrop for an environmental slide show, but it was true. If they are quoting Lombardi, they are quoting Lombardi. Unless you think they are reporting on a bad source. Have you looked into it yet? If that's what he said then really.... Come on.... There is no defending that, Leila. Use of contraception for grave reasons? As in, the same reason the Anglican Church gave for allowing contraception? Not good.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Sharon, I am with you. If he did say it, it's beyond annoying. But even if, the statement carries no doctrinal weight.

    I am off to our all-day Diocesan Women's Conference so I promise I'm not ignoring, but I won't be able to read or comment much, if at all!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Leila, I've been talking to my family about this and I'll say, "I know what Leila will say about this." You read the Bubble long enough and the message gets through! :) I knew you would say that it is not doctrine. You would say that press conferences on air planes are not magisterial. You would say that quotes from press secretaries, even if accurate, are not magisterial. You might even point out that, when historians look back at this time, they will not be able to quote encyclicals or ex cathedra statements from Pope Francis that change Church teaching on contraception. And I completely agree with what I think you would say!

    In the meantime, after all of the angst caused by what seemed to be hints that Pope Francis was going to allow civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion, God bless him for (finally....) saying that such Catholics should be integrated into the Church, but that does not mean they would receive Communion. I can't for the life of me find the quote now. I sure hope *that* quote was accurate.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Saw this linked at Fr. Z's website. Thank God for the ability to lighten things up with humor.

    http://www.eyeofthetiber.com/2016/02/18/francis-declares-plane-interviews-new-authoritative-form-of-magisterial-teaching/

    “when, henceforth, I make a pronouncement from the Seat of St. Peter, which will from now on be over in seat A3, every believer will be required to give firm and definitive assent to the truths I proclaim, including the kinda weird things, based on faith in the Holy Spirit’s assistance to the Church’s Magisterium in the sky.”

    ReplyDelete
  54. I'll continue to White Knight for our Pope.

    Reading the LifeSite News article, I think this is just bad reporting.

    This is what I am gathering from what I've seen quoted from Pope Francis, since no one seems to want to give the full quotes:

    -Abortion is an intrinsic evil. Contraception is not an intrinsic evil and is different than abortion.

    -There are situations in which the Church might say it is okay to use contraception such as in the case with the nuns. (This isn't new. You can use the pill for medical reasons with a whole lot of caveats which I won't get into. For example, a teenager, who is not having sex, can use the pill to help regulate her cycles.)

    - Such cases cannot be made lightly and must have discernment. (This isn't clear. If someone asked me, I would argue because this is a very serious teaching the discernment should include a member of the clergy or even a statement from the Bishops or the Pope.)

    -The pope also says "In this case and in the case of the nuns, it is clear." Well, I think it is less clear to us. But I would argue since the nuns were given permission but there has been no permission granted in this case the pope is saying it was clear the Nuns could use contraception (for reasons y'all already stated) but it not acceptable to use contraception in the case of the virus.

    Frankly, I think Lombardi's quote is more confusing but he might not have been quoted in full.

    Maybe I am trying too hard or am full of it. What do you guys think?

    ReplyDelete
  55. Ewww, boy. I do not like this one from our Pope, at all. And I am a diehard, walk- the-line, Catholic, as you know. Never a critique of the Pope is on my lips. Yet. Objectively, look at the stripped down logic here. Let’s be honest. Dangerous.

    Sharon makes a great point. Melody makes a great point.

    IMO, the question of “why did God give us this pope for our times” and all that is secondary to the real issue at hand which is:

    The argumentative logic our Pope has presented is exactly a comparison to our slippery slope marriage arguments. One group is justified in getting this one thing, so now it logically cascades across and down to the rest of the groups in the array justifiably getting the thing too, or at least they’re justified in asking; otherwise, it’s illogical and even some would say, hypocritical. I hate recognizing this and saying it, but there it is, logically.

    If it’s okay for this, it becomes okay for that. If it’s not okay for that when it was for this, then it’s not logical-- across the board-- and it’s either got to be okay for all or none. It’s not a medical condition that the nuns are using contraception for. It’s preventative. It’s outcome-based, which is the same reason people use it across the board.

    It’s the same logic that normal, married, or even unmarried people, will use to justify taking the pill (for a non-medical issue). This is bad in my opinion and needs serious clarification.

    Because use of the pill has been justified for one group for desired outcome, now how can there not be justification across the rest of the board for all the other groups? Just like the equal marriage arguments and slopes we go down.

    "This isn't a blank check," he said. "Undoubtedly, with regards to Zika, there are people who need to protect themselves." - from the linked article.

    Not a blank check, ok, but the logic would hold that it is actually a blank check or should logically be, because this is all okay’ed under the heading: “preventative”, not “medical”.

    It’s outcome-based. Just like any pill justification. Yikes.

    It may not carry doctrinal weight, but it sure loads the logical cannon to be used against the Church. We don’t need more reasons to defend what is already attacked for illogical reasons, now here we are looking at and hearing this? This would actually be a valid logical argument against the Church and it kills me to say that. I hope he clarifies.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I agree Nubby. I don't understand why the Nuns were given permission to use it. I don't want to be heartless but protect the nuns, give them options to protect themselves or get them out of there.

    A child of rape is still a child and still an innocent life.

    ReplyDelete
  57. That's a great point, StarFireKK. Can't we protect the nuns with armed men or some type of police protection? Why does the Pill need to come into play? There's other forms of protection, or are there not? I don't know, honestly, the situation they're in.

    But I am really uncomfortable with this "preventative" logic.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Does anyone have a citation for the nuns? I'm finding a lot of theoretical references, and Fr Z implies that it might be an urban legend, but not proof that the situation actually happened. It almost seems like a theoretical exercise in moral theology and not a true event in history. But, that being said, my googling skills keep getting bogged down by news articles about this silly plane interview. I could just be missing it.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Yes, Starfire and Nubby. I'm completely with you. Let's see, so I want contraception, or do I want a bodyguard to protect me from being raped in the first place? Not a tough call there. And the bodyguard can also serve as my escort in getting outta there, and taking as many other women and girls with me as possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "do" I want contraception. Wish there was an "edit" button next to the reply and delete buttons!

      Delete
  60. Heidi,
    Sorry, I don't have a citation. I'm just going from the article linked here that mentions Belgian Congo area nuns in the 1960's supposedly being approved to use birth control. I am wondering now, if it's not a real event, why would it have been referenced? That's more confusing.

    Yet, even if it was not a real event, the confusion of the logic would remain, to me. Dispensing for one group to control an outcome but not dispensing for other groups? Why not, when both groups desire an outcome of 0 children and both could say they've 'discerned' for grave (or grave enough) reasons, right?

    Reasons would become very loose and not even necessary, actually. Because it's outcome driven and each group just wants the same outcome. Zero kids. No medical reason.

    If A gets it, then B gets it, then C gets it, too. Just like if this "x" kind of marriage is ok now under the law, then a dolphin/woman marriage is ok, and a man/truck marriage is okay.

    There becomes no logical basis to say "no" to any of them.

    I am trying to intellectually understand if it's a case of the press really being inaccurate (as usual), or if it's something Our Holy Father really needs to publicly edit and fix.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Thank you, Nubby, for all your comments. I always enjoy reading what you write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What you write always clicks with me.

      Delete
  62. Thanks, Beth. That's very kind. I appreciate that. You're not bad either ;)

    ReplyDelete
  63. Thanks for your response, Leila. I really love your measured and logical responses to the issues of the day. I'm one of your many "lurkers" who values your (and your readers') ability to reason so clearly and consistently. But I have to say, unless LSN is (deliberately?) misquoting Lombardi, it's pretty hard to argue PF was *not* referring to artificial contraception especially considering how he pivoted from the example of the African nuns to the modern day dilemma of the Zika outbreak.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Nubby, I agree completely. I'm just curious if it really did happen or if it purely was a theoretical exercise in moral theology that has become almost an urban legend. Either way, Pope Francis should clarify the reference, but I'm just more curious than anything else. And honestly, I feel like the reference, as a whole, is muddying the waters more than the rest of his comments. I think if he hadn't mentioned it, there'd be a lot less confusion - the reference implies that he is condoning birth control AS contraception, not as hormone therapy, and that's a huge distinction.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Sorry! I hate to put out another link. But this entire topic has been very personally and spiritually troubling. I appreciate your insight. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I feel as if I'm in a bit of a spiritual free-fall right now. If PF pulls on the thread of nfp then the entire sweater will unravel for me.
    http://m.ncregister.com/daily-news/popes-comments-on-contraception-in-accord-with-magisterium-philosophers-say/#.VsjGzUVHbCQ



    ReplyDelete
  66. Ok, I read the article, and I have to say, Fausty, that the headline is really, really misleading. I find it really annoying that the editors chose that headline, because it doesn't fit with what the article says. I'm surprised at the NCR editors. Major fail, in my opinion.

    First of all, the Pope's comments are *not* what this article is commenting on. The matter is question is, can couples use contraceptives because of the Zika virus? That was, essentially, the reporter's question, and no matter how much you want to defend the Pope, his answer truly does seem to say that, in certain circumstances, the use of contraceptives is ok. They were talking about Zika, so he must have meant Zika. I think it gets silly to pretend he wasn't.

    This article just goes all over the place. It explains, pretty well, that the situation of the nuns was different. They were not wives trying to experience any-time sex without consequences, so we can't compare them to the normal question of ABC. But... we have pointed out, above, that the Pill is a pretty lame defense against rape, and it makes me really kind of mad at men who say, oh, you might get pregnant from a rape? Ok, then, take the Pill. Are you kidding me? You lazy man, get me a bodyguard! Be a man and protect me! Don't tell me you're working on the underlying social ills, either. Get me a man with a gun to protect me, and do it now! Good grief, if you won't protect me, then for crying out loud, get me a gun to protect myself, not the Pill! Never mind that the theologians then say that the Pill is not ok because it causes early abortion. So, are we suggesting that we arm nuns with against rapists with condoms? This is getting a little more than ridiculous!

    Second, they then try to defend the pope's comments by saying, well, if you're husband is violent against you, you can use the Pill. But first, try to discuss his violent treatment of you. And maybe discuss the Pill option with your priest. Are. you. kidding. me??? The woman has a violent husband, and again, she is to defend herself with the Pill? Please, tell me this is all a bad dream! I don't know if I should laugh or cry!

    Never mind the fact that if you are going to pretend that the Pope was talking about women in Zika infested areas who have violent husbands, then I have to say, you are really, really trying to defend the Pope's comments by going to ridiculous extremes. The question was not about violent husbands, and please, Mr. or Ms. Theologian, don't pretend that it was.

    And then, to top it off, they finally get to the truth. Yes, you can avoid pregnancy as a means to optimize the health of your child. And no, you can't use contraceptives to do it. So sorry, NCR. Your final paragraphs actually contradict your headline. I don't care how you spin it. In answering the question about Zika, the Pope's comments clearly tied his answer to the situation of the nuns, who were apparently given (lousy) permission, due to an extreme condition, to go on the Pill. His comment on contraception is *not* in accord with this article.

    Really, this is all just nuts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Forgive my typos. I was going to preview before publishing, but I didn't feel like it. What can I say - I'm phlegmatic....

      Delete
  67. From the end of that article: "it remains unclear precisely why the Pope would recall the case of Paul VI and the Congolese nuns in this context." Yeah. You're not kidding.


    ReplyDelete
  68. The pill was allowed as a 'remedy' for the nuns who had a fear of potential pregnancy, when the real remedy should've been some type of physical protection in the form of police or some type of security. Because look at what that opens up logically, now.

    Is it right or wrong to use the pill for preventing pregnancy? We need to be logically consistent. All or nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I'm with you. I just like to point out that, as usual, the Pill fails as any sort of real solution for women. Even for medicinal purposes, it doesn't cure the underlying issues.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Oh, I know. Sry, that wasn't meant as a reply to your comment. Just an additional one. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  71. I think the situation with the nuns came to mind because it was another situation where contraception came up as a means to protect people. I'm not sure that Pope Francis meant to draw a linear line between the two circumstances. But it really is unclear.

    I still don't see how the nuns were able to use it. Unless they really believed the pill never acted as an abortifacient and now we know it can. We don't allow women to get an abortion in cases of rape so....

    As for violent husbands......um, considering our legal system use to refuse to recognize marital rape saying we can use contraception in those cases would be a big deviation from our past teachings/culture/viewpoints.

    Don't get me wrong.....I'm not saying marital rape doesn't exist or isn't deplorable.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Hi! I'm back from the amazing all-day Women's Conference and mass. So refreshing to the soul! 600 women, I think? Great speakers (if you haven't read Colleen Carroll Campbell's book, My Sisters the Saints, do it!

    I haven't read through all the comments or been up on the latest news, but the thing with the nuns in the '60s is not that problematic for me, because I accept that non-sexually active women can take the Pill if they darn well choose. Heck, even sexually active women are allowed to take the Pill for reasons other than contraception (though they can always find better options). In the '60s, I think those Pills had hormone levels high enough that it was not abortifacient like more recent low-dose Pills that had breakthrough ovulation.

    But I want to sum up these three thoughts:

    1. I wish Pope Francis, who tends to talk and (let's face it) ramble, would STOP doing these impromptu interviews!! Apparently he knew in Argentina that he was bad at it and didn't do them.

    2. I still love him, because he's got a good heart.

    3. I wish he would stop giving these interviews.

    4. Even if he said, "Contraception is awesome!!!" on the plane, it would not mean anything, doctrinally. But it would mean that the press would have the opportunity to make the confusion worse.

    5. I wish Papa would cut out the interviews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's still three thoughts, even though five numbers, because three of them are the same thought, ha ha.

      Delete
  73. Hi Leila, How are sexually active women permitted to use the pill for reasons other than contraception when the pill will still automatically be contraception (intended or not), and it's abortifacient? Sorry, but that really confuses me, so if you can clear that up I would feel better! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  74. Yes, StarFireKK. I'd add, how was the objective immorality of the pill suspended? The point is to stop the attack, not treat what happens after the fact. That's like saying we don't remove children from abusive homes, we just leave them there and treat them after. The real remedy is to stop the attack in the first place. A contraceptive pill doesn't stop the attack. Treatment for after the fact helps no one.

    How can the immorality of it be suspended, to begin with? We know it's an objective evil when used solely as birth control. I think it's important that we think aloud on this, and it's even more important for our holy father to clarify at this point. What a media field day it's been over this.

    ReplyDelete
  75. I'm not really worried about him giving interviews. If I'm worried about anything, it'd be about the holes in the logic that I see.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Just briefly, as my kids haven't seen me today and are all over me, reading Humanae Vitae gives many clues to this puzzle. First, contraception (and its prohibition) assumes a marital embrace being thwarted. This is me now: A rape is not two people "attempting" sexual intercourse. It's violence. And the sperm are not sacred. The sperm are part of the rapist's body and may be repelled, just as any other part of the rapist's body (that seems logical).

    Use of the Pill itself, or any meds, even if there is an anticipated impediment to conception, is not illicit if used for reasons other than the intent to contracept:

    Lawful Therapeutic Means

    15. On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever. (19)

    And again, to contracept, there must be an intent to have sexual intercourse (and presumably in the context of marriage, as Humanae Vitae states).

    Okay, that's my take and I hope it helps! I will be back much later tonight!

    ReplyDelete
  77. When you get time, we should look at this excerpt. Basically this is talking married couples. So the logic holds that it might be suggested that unmarried women take the pill just in case they get attacked, especially those who live in dangerous cities with higher violent crime rates. So the only people that cannot prevent anything with this mindset and method are marrieds. I have lost the objectivity. How do we suspend evil from a thing that is objectively evil?

    Even if he said, "Contraception is awesome!!!" on the plane, it would not mean anything, doctrinally. But it would mean that the press would have the opportunity to make the confusion worse.

    I’m no pope basher and yet this statement would obviously mean that we're going to have to sift through what he means, since he said it. If he said it, that means there's something for us to take from it - not doctrinally, okay, perhaps- but then why would he shout it or say it at all? When he talks, people listen. Shouting “contraception is awesome” would be an endorsement and a thumbs up. It would be leading a lot of people to skip to the corner for condoms.

    The logic here on this whole birth control/nuns rape/virus issue is ... thought provoking.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Contraception is a deliberate thwarting of the conjugal act. It's intrinsically evil to do that. Rape is not a conjugal act. That makes logical sense to me. We may repel the aggressor's body parts, all of them, including his sperm. We don't need to receive them, as this is not a conjugal act in the first place.

    And as far as the second part, yes, that's a huge problem in the modern age, where pretty much every single thing a pope says can be recorded and sent around the world. This sort of thing never happened before the modern era (and the previous popes in the internet era did not talk so loosely).

    I'm not sure I agree that everything a pope says that is recorded means there is "something for us to take from it." I'm not sure that follows?

    ReplyDelete
  79. Also, I saw this that someone posted and I will get the source by tonight (my kids are clamoring for a movie):

    Nuns in the Congo

    It also confuses many that the officials of the Church many decades ago permitted nuns in the Congo who were in danger of being raped to take hormones that prevent ovulation (which is what the “pill” does). In this case the hormones would be taken with the intent of avoiding a pregnancy, but not a pregnancy that would be the result of a spousal act of sexual intercourse. They would not be altering the purpose of a spousal act of sexual intercourse. Rather, they would be defending themselves against the possible consequences of an act of rape. Keep in mind that it is justifiable for a woman to inflict great physical harm, even death, on a man threatening rape. Her act of killing the rapist is not justified as a “lesser evil” because killing is not a lesser evil than enduring rape. Rather, her act is an act of just and moral self-defense.

    Thus, for a woman to do something to prevent a rapist’s sperm from uniting with her ovum is a part of justifiable self-defense. Her act has nothing to do with violating God’s plan for sexuality. She is not choosing to use contraception to prevent a spousal act of sexual intercourse from achieving its natural end. She is not refusing to make a complete gift of herself to her spouse. She is fending off a rapist and all his physicality. Clearly, her use of ovulation-suppressing hormones is not an act of contraception. (A good source for information about the history/reasoning concerning the nuns in the Congo is Fr. Edward Bayer’s Rape Within Marriage (1985), pp. 82-3)


    ReplyDelete
  80. This is the article, and it's really good! By Janet Smith.

    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4594/contraception_congo_nuns_choosing_the_lesser_evil_and_conflict_of_commandments.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  81. Leila - that source is from Dr. Janet E. Smith's article in Catholic World Report:
    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4594/contraception_congo_nuns_choosing_the_lesser_evil_and_conflict_of_commandments.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  82. LOL scary how we posted the link at the same time!! :D :D :D

    ReplyDelete
  83. But my correlation and argument aren't satisfied.
    Enough for the night, I need to think on this. Pray me up, pls. Thx.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Then of course there is this, which says the Congo nun thing never happened!


    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2016/02/its-not-an-urban-legend-its-a-lie-paul-vi-did-not-give-permission-to-nuns-to-use-contraceptives/

    ReplyDelete
  85. I think the scary thing, to me, is that it appears that we have a Holy Father who thinks that, for grave reasons, it's ok to use ABC. Whether his comments are magisterial or not, it is unsettling.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Nubby is right.

    If contraception were ever to be considered not? an intrinsic evil (playing God in regards to the beginning, or otherwise, of new life, be it by way of a "perfect" or "imperfect" child - say, one with microcephaly, or Down Syndrome, or congenital heart disease, e.g.,) and therefore never to be condoned, then it'd most certainly be a first step on a slippery slope (on which, in any case, we're way down the track already). Anyone who has read Humanae Vitae (ironically, written by the same Pope who allegedly approved contraception for nuns in the Congo) and lived to see every one of its dire prophecies come true in the pitiful world of today, knows that already.

    Besides, what happens when contraception fails? Isn't the next step, almost invariably, the very stuff "the Mafia does - which so horrifies us?

    Mothers who drink heavily shouldn't have children - says the world. Women (who, or whose partners, might have the zika virus) should contracept - says the world, even though the CDC categorically advises that the incidence of transmission from mother to child is rare.

    "A mother already infected with Zika virus near the time of delivery can pass on the virus to her newborn around the time of birth, but this is rare."

    So. What alarmingly "exceptional" circumstance next for further justification of intrinsic evil(s)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I meant to include the CDC link: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/transmission/index.html

      Delete
  87. I completely agree with Leila's view on this. Pope Francis' comments were perhaps unfortunate and confusing, but they are not magisterial teaching. He remains a lovely and perhaps a holy man. But he is a man, and he makes mistakes, like the rest of us. I am in no position to determine whether these comments were indeed a mistake. But think of all the holy men and women, let alone Popes in times past, who have pronounced on all manner of things not in line with magisterial teaching. Doctrine remains unchanged, and the Church is still standing, and always will. In the German language, the translation for the expression "holier than thou" is literally "more papal than the Pope". I for one will try not to be that, and instead trust in Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  88. I'm still in a bad place with this. Can we talk it out here? I am not happy with my Mother Church right now and it kills me.

    This whole nun/virus/pill lack of logic is going to make it harder for us to defend when we talk to people about NFP to others. I have a lax Catholic neighbor who is just now conversing with me casually on that. Now this.

    I got friends who are chewing their fingernails down to the skin, worrying and stressing over whether they should vaccinate their kids because of the fact that some of those vaccines were made immorally. And my Church is allowing the pill for nuns?

    I am a married woman, who faithfully follows NFP and goes through that whole sacrifice when I could, apparently, weigh my reasons enough and hop on the pill to enjoy more of my spouse whenever I want. But I am not allowed, because the marrieds aren't allowed contraception, but unwed women are (nuns or single, just unmarried)?

    I need to understand this and see logical consistency or else I need to work on peace to get over it.

    I'd walk through fire for my Church, and back again, but today is rough. I pray for clarity, consistency, peace, understanding and wisdom for those of us mentally irritated with this. This is not where I want to mentally be, one second longer.

    ReplyDelete
  89. I am not attacking the pope or his goodness or his heart. He is out of the analysis of the objectivity of the pill, here.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Nubby, be sure to read the article that Leila linked to. Fr. Z has the background on the nun story, and it is not true. So we really don't need to be upset by that situation. It doesn't exist.

    I have been upset by this, and I have tried defending the Pope on this, and I have worried about the Church on this. But as of right now, I think I understand it. I don't think anyone can defend what the Pope said. He was, understandably I suppose, misinformed about the nuns. He seems a bit quick to accept information from "authorities", so he rather easily determined that the Zika threat is real. And, we have to admit, he himself is under the false impression that it really could be okay to use contraception for "grave" reasons. He said so by reference, and spinning it however you want doesn't make it otherwise. The fact is, he is wrong. It's not okay to use contraception to avoid pregnancy. So, we have a Holy Father who is a bit confused on some things. Not exactly a happy situation, but there it is.

    I think maybe we were spoiled, growing up with JPII and Benedict as our Fathers for so long. Not every Holy Father is as good as every other one. Pope Francis is sweet, and a lot of what he says is both edifying and challenging. Unfortunately, he's no John Paul II, and he's no Benedict. But we are witnessing the truth of Christ's promise. Even though Pope Francis is not so strong in his thinking, when it comes right down to it, he will not change Church teaching. I feel so much better knowing that he has come out and said that people in irregular marriages are not going to be allowed to receive Communion. I honestly believe that he intended to loosen those "rules", but that he didn't realize what a truly awful thing that would have been to do. And he didn't do it. He will not do anything to change Church teaching on contraception. It's all fundamentally okay. The Holy Spirit will continue to bring people into the Church, and other people will continue to reject the Church.

    I won't fear for the Church itself, but in the future, I won't be quick to defend what Pope Francis says. The truth is, sometimes he is personally wrong. He doesn't have a deep understanding of some things, which is disappointing and causes a lot of confusion. But God is still in His heaven and it's all going to be okay. That's my take on it.

    ReplyDelete
  91. That helps, Sharon. Thanks. But if the story of the nuns isn't true, then you are right, he's referencing a false event and okaying contraception against the virus and fears of contracting it, which skews the objectivity of a thing being objectively evil across the board.

    That's not a good thing to defend against, logically.

    I'll take it all to Mass this morning and leave it at the altar. Thanks for your comment.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Nubby, I agree with you! My husband and I took a long time to come around to NFP during our reversions, and if I had heard this when I was "whatever" about contraception, it might have encouraged me to throw the NFP idea out the window.

    ReplyDelete
  93. One last thing before I get ready for church. Let's keep it honest. If a non-Catholic came here and said, "Hey, with this virus outbreak, I believe women should be able to contracept", we'd be all over that like white on rice, saying, "It's an intrinsic evil. They must consider other options. The ends don't justify the means. The Pill is never allowable for contraception. Etc."

    We'd blow that apart in two seconds.

    Now, here comes an exception from a papal plane interview. Okay, so the nuns aren't the first group to be allowed to use the pill (since that's supposedly a false story) but those in fear of the virus are. So start with Group 1. Now, group 2 is who....? Marrieds who 'fear' emotional or physical lack with their spouse? The criteria gets watered down... the allowance of the pill increases.

    Is it evil, yes? Or evil, no?
    Intrinsic in nature evil yes or no?
    Allowable ever, yes or no?
    Objectivity should make something air tight, otherwise it turns subjective. And harder to defend against.

    ReplyDelete
  94. This may be off topic, but I need to say it anyway: Pope Francis speaks the language of the people, and he is FEARLESS. That's why the people love him, and that's why he is invaluable for the Church. He is as fearless as John Paul II was, and unlike most bishops and priests I know today. Is he a man of truth? I do think so, though he may not get everything right in his off the cuff remarks. I am thankful that he is our Holy Father, and a worthy successor to his two predecessors. The cardinals were after all guided by the Holy Spirit in the conclave. He knows best (the Holy Spirit, that is).

    ReplyDelete
  95. I'm not sure this will help you Hubby but I think the sinfulness of contraception can only be understood in the context of the marital embrace. If single people are having sexual relations the sin is fornication right? Would you say to a person having sex outside of marriage "well, make sure you are open to life and don't use contraception?". The sin isn't in using the contraception (though certainly contraception makes sex easier to avoid the consequences of the sexual act) but in having sexual intercourse outside of marriage. Contraception in the context of marriage is just a whole different thing altogether. Openness to life is rightly spoken of in the context of the marital embrace and it's call to total self giving. Unmarried couples have no right to say their gift of self is in anyway a gift. Fornication is not a form of unity for the two people and cannot ever be compared to the marital act. Two different topics. Married couples are the only ones with a right to the sexual act in the context of marriage. Geez, don't know if this helps or not.I will pray for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry wrote hubby instead of Nubby. Darn phone!

      Delete
    2. Sunshine, we were writing that same point at the same time! Thank you!

      Delete
  96. Nubby, I totally get what you are saying, so I am going to throw out some of the things as I understand it, to flesh it out. These are not in any particular order, but this is how I've always understood things:

    -- Contracepting is thwarting the conjugal act of its purpose. That either in anticipation of, during, or after the conjugal act, a couple may not separate the act from its procreative purpose, nor change its nature. To do so is ALWAYS immoral.

    -- Rape is not a conjugal act, so the teaching on contraception cannot apply at all. It's like when we say that stealing is intrinsically evil. It is. But there are things that look just like stealing that are NOT stealing: Like when a person takes food from a rich man when he is starving (think Jean Valjean). That is NOT stealing, because a starving man has the RIGHT to food that God has provided, and no one can deny him that. So, although some would say, "Hey, that's an exception to stealing!" it is not.

    -- If a nun wore a diaphram or an interior condom (female condom?) to keep herself from the attackers' sperm, would that be acceptable? Or if she used spermicide after the attack? I think it would be totally acceptable. Even a voluntary chastity belt has never been immoral, right?

    -- Is it just the Pill we are objecting to here?

    -- The Church has never said that it's intrinsically immoral for a woman to take the Pill. In fact, single women (chaste) don't even have to think twice about it, morally speaking, only that it's probably one of the dumbest ways of treating most pathologies that they would be using it for. There are better ways to treat acne, endo, pain, etc. However, it's not intrinsically immoral for women to ingest the Pill. Just like a condom used as a balloon is not immoral. It's a piece of latex. In itself (or used for other purposes but thwarting the marital act), then it's neutral.

    -- To me, even the act of fornicators using contraception is like ... a "nothing". Meaning, the couple is already committing a GRAVE sin that, if done willfully (fornication) and with full consent and knowledge, would be worthy of hell. So, adding contraception to that? What does that mean for the couple? Do fornicators sin by using contraception? Is the lack of contraception a way of keeping their sin more "pure" and "holy"? It's all absurd. And by the way, I don't know the answer to that. I have had a friend ask, "But should unmarried people use contraception?" To me, it's like asking about whether or not a bank robber should use real ammo when scaring the people as he robs the bank. I don't have an answer for the question of "should unmarried people use contraception", because my answer would be: THEY SHOULD NOT BE HAVING SEX, so how can I advise them on the best or most moral way to perform that mortal sin??"

    -- Not sure if any of that last part made sense.

    -- Humanae Vitae says that for reasons other than contracepting the marital act, a woman may take medication or hormones or whatever (including the Pill) for therapeutic reasons even if that would lead to an impediment of fertility (cause conception to be impossible). That makes sense to me, because contraception must be a willful act intended to stop conception before during or after the conjugal act. And that would not apply.

    Okay, one more, hang on....

    ReplyDelete
  97. So to be clear, contraception is intrinsically immoral. But contraception can only be a "thing" at all if it's impeding or thwarting the ends of the marital act.

    ReplyDelete
  98. but I think the sinfulness of contraception can only be understood in the context of the marital embrace.

    Then the objectivity in the thing is lost. The objectively evil nature has been suspended. Objectivity requires no conditions because objectivity transcends parameters and parenthetical situations and bracketed situations we want to project onto it.

    If single people are having sexual relations the sin is fornication right? Would you say to a person having sex outside of marriage "well, make sure you are open to life and don't use contraception?". No, I wouldn't. I wouldn't preach to anyone. The excerpt that Leila posted from the document pertains to marrieds. So the logic is really that any single woman fearing attack could be on the pill. The correlation is the same- a fear based issue, a potential for harm to come. Right? Whether it's the non-real event of nuns being raped or a virus attacking a baby.

    And let's be even more honest. There's a huge assumption that people aren't sexually active, right? That's an exception in criteria. "We assume you're not sexually active, so here's the pill." Wow. That's a major assumption and I am not saying nuns are sexually active or anything attacking that-- so no one misinterpret me here. The assumption itself allows for use of the pill. That's a huge assumption. That's exactly correlating to, "We assume single women living in areas of high rape rate aren't sexually active, so here's the pill for preventative measures." It is equal in correlation and my mind is exploding from it, actually.

    The sin isn't in using the contraception
    The thing is evil itself, isn't it? So I don't follow this.

    Thx for the prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  99. But contraception can only be a "thing" at all if it's impeding or thwarting the ends of the marital act.

    I will need to think about this. Thx 4 the help.

    ReplyDelete
  100. However, it's not intrinsically immoral for women to ingest the Pill.

    Right, no, I get this part. But then look. Singles could be assumed to be chaste and told, "here take the pill, in case, you know, you're raped." Just assumption alone is huge and there is no evil in consuming it. Yet, it works as a preventative. To prevent kids. To prevent ovulation. To prevent whatever. To thwart.

    Still thwarting. Not a sex act of marriage, but still thwarting.

    ReplyDelete
  101. "But should unmarried people use contraception?"

    No, not "should they", but it correlates to the assumption that they're allowed to "in case of rape". It makes an equal assumption and is an equally preventative measure. Right?

    ReplyDelete
  102. Here is something maybe peripherally related that has always bugged me for the fact that it's not logical:

    There are many women (we know from all the NaPro ladies! Go NaPro Technology!!) who have repeated miscarriages due to low progesterone levels. Once a woman understands that this may be a cause of her miscarriages, she can often reverse the problem in future pregnancies by being treated with progesterone. (Usually shots, progesterone in oil.) Those shots or pills are a godsend! (But can be expensive or cumbersome, and it might take a lot to figure out the problem in the first place, and medical bills ensue, etc. Just the normal stuff when dealing with pathologies.)

    Anyhoo, this leads me to: I've heard very good and devout Catholic women, very much of goodwill, claim that women who have low progesterone have a MORAL OBLIGATION to get treatment with progesterone if they are sexually active. That if they do not go and get progesterone treatments, they are culpable for a future baby's death by miscarriage if they don't! I think that is absurd!!! Just because one may be prone to miscarriage does not mean that one must be morally bound to fix it, or else forego sexual relations (at least during ovulation). That is nonsense! The woman is not willfully causing miscarriages. The women would be having normal relations with her husband, and she would not will the death of a child conceived who might be miscarried due to hormonal imbalances.

    I think that people are misunderstanding what our moral obligations are. Is it wonderful to have recourse to and take advantage of progesterone treatments if available? YES! I've known many women who have done that. But it is SINFUL to not be treated for a hormonal imbalance? Of course not! There are many, many things and situations that could make a woman more prone to miscarriage (heck, even some types of jobs or activities), but it's not a moral obligation for the woman to makes sure that there is zero risk to an unborn child (who can do that?), nor is it a moral obligation to make sure that we never take any medication (as married women) that does not impeded the chances of conception (or ovulation) in any way.

    I think we are conflating two things, conflating our obligations.

    For contraception to be contraception, two things have to be present:

    1. The marital act
    2. The intent to contracept


    So, definitely, the Zika virus could NEVER be an excuse for married women to contracept! No, no, no!! If the Pope was implying this, he is wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  103. One more think that is telling: In the same interview on the plane (read the whole thing), a reporter asked Francis about the Vatican document from several years back, from one of the congregations, which talked about the obligation to oppose legislation on gay "marriage" when it comes up in a society. The Pope said he couldn't really recall that document! So, let's just say that Francis is a pope of the people, and not really "up on" the documents and statements of the Church!! Is that unfortunate? Yep. I wish he were VERY familiar with things like that document. But he's not. What can we do? He did say again and again, "it's in the Catechism". So, what he is doing is saying, in essence, "Look, my position is the Church's position", because I'm pretty sure he gets his weaknesses with detailing doctrine and canon law. It does drive me batty, for sure, but he says, "I am a son of the Church" and that is our cue (and the reporters' cue) that he will always default to the Church's teaching.

    I share everyone's frustration, but that's who Francis is!

    ReplyDelete
  104. No, not "should they", but it correlates to the assumption that they're allowed to "in case of rape". It makes an equal assumption and is an equally preventative measure. Right?

    But it's a non-thing. Rape is not a conjugal act. So, the question of contraception cannot even apply.

    To me, this whole question is somewhat like the question: "If God is all-powerful, can he make a rock that is too heavy for Him to lift?"

    It's like a non-question. It cannot apply. It goes against the nature of the thing.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Right, no, I get this part. But then look. Singles could be assumed to be chaste and told, "here take the pill, in case, you know, you're raped." Just assumption alone is huge and there is no evil in consuming it. Yet, it works as a preventative. To prevent kids. To prevent ovulation. To prevent whatever. To thwart.

    Still thwarting. Not a sex act of marriage, but still thwarting.


    Yes, and I suppose if a single woman just wants to pop hormones in the off chance that she is raped one day, so be it. I don't think there is anything that says she cannot. The problem is not in the thwarting (we thwart things all the time), it's in the thwarting of the end of the conjugal act. It's attempting the marital act, but saying no to the baby that could result. In rape, there is no marital act. There is no conjugal act.

    Think of it this way: The act of rape to conceive a child is mortally sinful, as is the act of making a child in a petri dish, via IVF. If I were to position myself next to the lab tech as she was just about to add the sperm to the eggs, and if I were to slap that dish out of her hands and thwarted the conception of potential children, I would have thwarted the conception, but not sinfully at all. There would be no sin in preventing a child from being conceived in a petri dish. Rape is as evil, if not more, than an IVF attempt.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Oh, I love this!! Please read it!

    https://amywelborn.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/against-popesplaining/

    ReplyDelete
  107. In moral theology, why does context change the objective definition of something? Does this mean that the condition of intent changes a literal meaning?

    Think murder v self-defense. Self-defense is still taking a life, but the context was defensive and not aggressive. But at the end of the day, it's still 'murder' in terms of a life being taken. So why is contraception not still contraception outside of intent, at the end of the day?

    Morally speaking, intent is always of utmost importance but how does that condition really change the objective reality of what something is?

    ReplyDelete
  108. To the article on the Pope and all of that, I get that he probably shouldn't be speaking so much if he's not good at it, and I really don’t normally care to critique all of that. Like ice skating, people shouldn't speak publicly, if they're not good at it. They'll either get injured or injure someone else.

    But speaking on objective evils, he not only drew on an untrue event (nuns on the Pill) he made it worse by doing so.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Leila, am I understanding correctly that you are revising your original theory that the Pope did not green-light contraception? Are you saying now that he did, in fact, support ABC in these limited situations but didn't officially change doctrine?

    ReplyDelete
  110. For contraception to be contraception, two things have to be present:

    1. The marital act
    2. The intent to contracept


    Why is it conditioned to these 2 things?

    The condition of the marital act means that non-marrieds on the pill who are fornicating are only guilty of fornicating because they don't meet both conditions here.

    They're having sex, but not in the context of marriage, so it’s not called the ‘marital act’, right. So, they’re not literally ‘contracepting’. Only fornicating? How is this logically consistent when we know they are indeed contracepting on top of fornicating. The reality is, they are.

    It’s like saying, “This thing is only really this thing within this context.”

    “This ball is only a ball when used by the red team and on the condition that the red team has the intent to use it.
    This ball isn’t really a ball if used outside of the red team; so, in the case of the blue team using it, it’s not a ball.”

    Is the thing a ball or not?
    Then what is it? The meaning is only in intent and context of act?
    So, then where’s the objectivity of a thing being able to be defined as evil?
    Why the parentheses to an objective reality like contraception?

    ReplyDelete
  111. "But it's a non-thing. Rape is not a conjugal act. So, the question of contraception cannot even apply."

    We do have to say, though, that it's not like this is official Church teaching, right? No one has ever said that it's ok to take the Pill if you think you are at high risk of being raped. So really, it's a non-issue.

    I hope that there aren't people out there who were thinking of using NFP but who have now changed their minds because Pope Francis just said not to bother, because he thinks a "grave reason," whatever that reason might be, overrides an intrinsic evil. What Pope Francis said was not Church teaching. It was not at that level. He did not change anything.

    ReplyDelete
  112. And to continue my thought, the Church has never said that it is ok for unmarried couples to use contraception. So in a way, I'm not really clear, Nubby, what you're having a problem with.

    ReplyDelete
  113. And to continue my thought, the Church has never said that it is ok for unmarried couples to use contraception. So in a way, I'm not really clear, Nubby, what you're having a problem with.

    Of course the Church hasn't (it wouldn't be 'contraception' in that context anyway, according to the 2 conditions needed). I am not saying it did. I am creating a scenario of assumption to illustrate the ideas outlined in the excerpt of HV that Leila posted. I made a concrete application that shows there are no limits on unmarrieds, assumed to be celibate, using the Pill, really, even without threat of attack. The limits are on the marrieds. There would be no limit, per that document, on singles.

    The moral landscape is assumed, really. That was my point there.

    ReplyDelete
  114. But at the end of the day, it's still 'murder' in terms of a life being taken.

    No, it's not murder. Not at all. I think that may be the hang-up. Murder is something specific, and it's always immoral. Killing in self-defense is not murder.

    All murder is killing, but not all killing is murder.

    As for stealing, stealing is always wrong. But "stealing" food if you are starving is not stealing at all.

    Contracepting (according to the definition in HV) is when the marital act is thwarted from its natural end. Rape is not a conjugal act.

    Question for clarification purposes: How do you understand the Church's definition of contraception?

    And, if an unmarried couple asks you if you think they should use contraception as they fornicate, what answer do you give them?

    ReplyDelete
  115. Sharon, I have no idea the actual intent of the Pope in his heart and soul, or if he believes that contraception can be used with married people facing something like Zika virus.

    But I do know that his comments did not green-light contraception. He cannot change the moral law. He'd be the first to say that, once he sorted out the nuances, which he doesn't always seem to fully get.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, gosh, yes! Sorry, Sharon, that was to Fausty!! Thanks for catching that.

      Delete
  116. I understand it as the Church gives it. I just want to understand how they give it.

    I'd tell them according to the Church they cannot technically contracept because they don't meet the 2 conditions for that.

    If they're asking me what I think they ought to do with their sex life, I'd tell them that's a really bizarre and private issue and that I don't believe in contraception nor fornication. But they'd know this by my witness, I'd hope.

    ? How does this relate to my questions on moral conditions and where they originate?

    I'm going to check my Aquinas and some of JP2's stuff. I don't want to cloud up comments with bulletin board comments. I need to go about two levels under to see where the conditions come from. Thanks for the convo.

    ReplyDelete
  117. Earlier you said this and I agree:

    Killing in self-defense is not murder.

    This makes sense because you've supplied a new word that replaces murder, which makes logical sense. Self-defense is killing, not murder. That makes sense. But...:

    Contracepting (according to the definition in HV) is when the marital act is thwarted from its natural end. Rape is not a conjugal act.

    So we have the reality that contracepting can only really be called contracepting in marital context but not in fornication context, then what would it be? What's the new word? How can it be only defined to one context? I mean, the fornicators on the pill are obviously contracepting and thwarting and preventing just the same as marrieds who use contraception are. If it's not called "contracepting" for them in this context, then what's the word? I need a new word or I can't get my head around why the objectivity that contracepting is built only on two conditions.

    All I have found thus far is a reiteration of the moral law and moral theology but nothing teaching me why those two conditions drive the objective definition.

    Like I asked earlier: Is this thing a ball or isn't it a ball? If it's not a ball if the blue team uses it, then what's the new word? And, further, why does "context of use" and "intent" drive the need for a/the new word? Help, someone?

    ReplyDelete
  118. First, do you agree that rape is not a conjugal act? It's not the thing that any Pope was talking about when speaking of how contraception would distort the nature of the act?

    Sure we can say that fornicating couples are contracepting, but.... so what? We are talking about what is moral, and in this case, we've just put contraception on top of another mortal sin. So, forget if someone asked you personally, but just generally and as an academic exercise, what would you say about a hypothetical fornicating couple. Would you say that their use of contraception is a sin?

    It's the best way I can phrase the question. Is it less sinful or more morally okay (on some or any level) if a fornicating couple does not contracept?

    But again, I have no problem using that word for fornicating couples, just that it doesn't really *matter* in a sense.

    Do you see why a starving man taking food from a rich man's table is not stealing? So, sometimes context and intent do make a difference, even when something like stealing is TRULY intrinsically evil (I'm back on the nuns taking Pills now, even though it turns out that was probably something that never actually happened).

    How did we get here???? Oh, Papa Francis!! lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't take my "so what" as flippant. I really mean it. So if a fornicating couple does not contracept, does that make things more kosher or moral? It's something I've struggled with, because it seems like we should say, "gosh, at least don't contracept if you are fornicating!" But then again, really? Does it matter at that point? Can non-contracepting be a virtue in that situation?

      Delete
    2. But I am not looking at virtue here. I am filling in my flowchart. My mental flowchart has too man empty rectangles...ack! mental shut down mental shut down!

      Delete
  119. First, do you agree that rape is not a conjugal act? It's not the thing that any Pope was talking about when speaking of how contraception would distort the nature of the act?

    ? I'm looking for a new word apart from any rape scenario. Rape is not conjugal, okay, but that's beside the point because the nun story never happened and the idea that the pill would ever be acceptable would never be valid- it's an objective evil. No conditions should allow for its use for 'preventative' measures. That's another discussion.

    Sure we can say that fornicating couples are contracepting, but.... so what?

    The 'so what' is huge. I need a new word. If not contracepting, then ______. If not ... then ... It's the same logic we use when we argue atheists, "where do morals come from?" If not from God ...then_____. Insert new word here.


    We are talking about what is moral, and in this case, we've just put contraception on top of another mortal sin. So, forget if someone asked you personally, but just generally and as an academic exercise, what would you say about a hypothetical fornicating couple. Would you say that their use of contraception is a sin?

    I wouldn't call it contraception, because, according to the Church, what they're doing is not contracepting! I need a new word to talk about what they're using or evaluate their use of it. I mean, I'm just looking for a new word. If it's contracpeting, then why doesn't the Church define it like that? Intellectually, I need to know the building blocks of how the Church arrived at this way to go about defining the word and why they chose that route. I am not challenging Her. I am wanting to sit at Her feet and learn. I need to understand, for my own benefit here.

    The stealing scenario-- so then what is it called, if not stealing? New word insertion. It's not "stealing", okay, because taking (still stealing) food if you're starving is okay in a moral situation where one takes from abundance or excess and it serves the common good (fellow man).

    I don't know why you brought that in to the explanation of contracepting being built on 2 conditions? It's still defined as stealing and really doesn't illustrate the foundation of where those two conditions come from.

    I just like to see it. These two conditions come from _______ from this reference, written from ___ to ___. Just a solid reference.

    ReplyDelete
  120. I extrapolated that from HV. I promise to look in the moral theology book after we're done with this movie, here at the Miller home. But as for stealing, that is defined as taking something without permission that rightfully belongs to another. The goods of the earth that God gave for survival cannot rightly or justly be "owned" by someone who is withholding it from the starving. It's not stealing at all to take it. Not stealing.

    I'll be back later, promise.

    ReplyDelete
  121. I appreciate the time.

    As to the 'stealing', I do understand the moral situation that allows for the taking of the food because I understand the whole idea of the common good and serving the common good, as I mentioned before...but look, we still call it stealing.

    We haven't replaced the word. We just put the same word in a new context and yet still call it stealing.

    Why don't we do the same with 'contracepting'? Same word, both contexts.

    Thanks for the time... I'll keep looking and learning as well.

    ReplyDelete
  122. Yes, let me know what you find! But no, I actually don't and wouldn't call that stealing. Stealing has a meaning and that's not it. If the rest of the world wants to say it's stealing then to me it's like calling gay couplings "marriage". It's not really marriage, and stretching a word can't change that.

    ReplyDelete
  123. In the book Moral Theology (the priest's best companion in the confessional before Vatican II), there is a category on theft and stealing. "Extreme need" is one "reason that permits one to take things belonging to another" (the word stealing or theft is not use at all). The conditions must be such that the person only take what is needed to survive and no more. And that the person may not take from one who is in the same extreme need. And that wherever possible, this is seen in the sense of a loan, that it will be repaid if situation ever warrants it.

    Anyway, that's not contraception, but it's an illustration that intrinsic evil is real, but we need to make sure that we understand what those words refer to, and what we just use colloquially. It's a thick little book! And the only reason it's so is because human beings live in this complicated fallen world and though the Church works off broad and concrete principles, we still need them explained and applied to the complexities of life. It's like we used to tell our RCIA students. The reason that someone in the Church answered a question like, "Is it a sin to chew on a blade of grass before receiving the Eucharist", is because someone of the faithful asked it! And the Church works hard to answer those questions.

    In a case like Pope Francis, he is not a moral theologian, I think it's safe to say! I don't believe that is his area of interest at all.

    That still may not help you, but tell me what you find!

    ReplyDelete
  124. Haven't read all your comments here, Leila, but thought I'd link to this post and see if you had thoughts on it. :). http://www.catholicallyear.com/2016/02/the-pope-francis-conversation-or-go.html?m=1

    ReplyDelete

PLEASE, when commenting, do not hit "reply" (which is the thread option). Instead, please put your comment at the bottom of the others.

To ensure that you don't miss any comments, click the "subscribe by email" link, above. If you do not subscribe and a post exceeds 200 comments, you must hit "load more" to get to the rest. We often have meaty and long discussions -- trust me, they're worth following!