Skip to comments.No compromise in latest Vatican ruling on condoms
Posted on 06/07/2006 6:11:40 AM PDT by NYer
The Vatican today published a sweeping condemnation of contraception, abortion, in-vitro fertilisation and same-sex marriage, declaring that the traditional family has never been so threatened.
The document was issued by the Pontifical Council for the Family, whose head, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, is a strong opponent of the use of condoms under any circumstances.
Gay activists in Italy condemned the report as a grotesque attack against modern life, freedom and social redemption.
The 57-page document does not break any new ground but summarised traditional Vatican positions.
"Man of modern times has radicalised the tendency to take the place of God and substitute him," it states. "Never before in history has human procreation, and therefore the family, which is its natural place, been so threatened as in todays culture."
It makes no mention of the debate within the Catholic church on whether condoms could be used in the fight against Aids, in particular to protect the wife of a man who has the virus. It reaffirms the 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, that stated the Vaticans opposition to contraception.
The document also condemns IVF treatment, artificial insemination and the use of embryos. "If a man takes on the power to fabricate man, he also takes on the power to destroy him," it says.
"The human being has the right to be generated, not produced, to come to life not in virtue of an artificial process but of a human act in the full sense of the term: the union between a man and a woman."
There was controversy when Cardinal Trujillo asserted three years ago that condoms do not prevent Aids and may help spread it because they create a false sense of security. The Vatican insists sexual abstinence is the only sure way to fight Aids.
Several other cardinals have argued that the use of a condom within a marriage would be the lesser of two evils if it prevents passing on HIV infection to the partner.
The document made a broad attack on what it said were threats to the "the natural institution of marriage".
"Couples made up of homosexuals claim similar rights to those reserved to husband and wife; they even claim the right to adoption. Women who live a lesbian union claim similar rights, demanding laws which give them access to hetero fertilisation or embryo implantation.
"Moreover, it is claimed that the help of the law to form these unusual couples goes hand in hand with the help to divorce and repudiate," the document said.
"Abortion and infanticide show the absence of efficient juridical protection for the conceived. Such practices in fact constitute a violation of the fundamental right to life which is the right of every human being from the moment of conception," it said.
Franco Grillini, a deputy in the Italian Parliament and honorary president of the activist group Arcigay, condemned the Vatican document as "grotesque," and said that other European countries that give legal recognition to unmarried and gay couples have done so with great benefit to society.
"To maintain, therefore ... that this would represent an attack against the traditional family is a falsehood that has been scientifically contradicted by the facts," said Signor Grillini.
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Agree or disagree the Vatican takes the long view and is consistent.
The document obviously struck a chord. These folks are foaming at the mouth.
Not Catholics, they are ill-equipped to criticize.
geez. you mean that the worship of God isn't done by a popularity contest???
Love the language here "unusual couples." I could think of a thousand other words to call these perverts, but for the Vatican this is pretty good.
But they can use the rhythm method to help prevent unwanted pregnancy?
It's call being realistic. One method works much better.
If the Pope wanted to be consistent he would declare that no Christian should seek medical attention from a doctor for anything, they should just pray to God for whatever ails them, since to do anything else would be like playing God.
Your reasoning above is flawed. The issue isn't about "wasting semen" (contrary to the famous Monty Python song). It's about proper use of the sexual act. Sex does bring the married couple closer together, but at the same time, the couple are acting as one reproductive principle.
The fertility treatments may be similar to getting medical attention in terms of technology, but it isn't the same. One improves/saves lives. But you don't have to produce offspring in order to improve/save lives.
When you read news reports on Catholic subjects, keep a few things in mind:
The Church teachings have a really splendid internal consistency. They are "inconsistent" only with some widespread but mistaken assumptions, some of which I addressed above.
Does this help? A little?
We were assured that the Vatican was wrestling with the whole issue of condom use for married couples when one partner has AIDS and that in fact a draught document had given the green light to this.
The usual shrill whiners are up in arms, so without having read the document, I know already that it is right on the money.
Not to worry, boys. When Islam takes over, sharia is imposed and the Catholic Church is forced underground, Vatican statements like this will be nothing more than a fond and distant memory.
Didn't the article just state that is was considered wrong to use a condom? Am I missing something?
Frankly, I hope that you are right.
What should be objectionable is out of wedlock sex.
Yeah, like the rapid rise in illegitimacy in every place where gay marriage is encouraged. The traditional family is being dissolved. That's Ok to the socialists, who want nothing to compete with the individual's loyalty to the government.
Unusual = Queer.
Depends on who is using either method. The condom works only if it is uses according to instructions, and for most people the instruction put a responsibility on the user that is too much for them to bear. It was, after all, a devise developed for prostitutes, and prostitues generall don't think of sex as a religious act, as did so many flower children. The number of abortions attests to the "efficency" of condoms used by amateurs.
But they can use the rhythm method to help prevent unwanted pregnancy?
The cycle of fertility is a natural occurrence (read: not imposed by man, but ordained by God who is the author of life).
A condom is a synthetic obstruction (read: man tells God when He can and can't create life).
In a nutshell that's the difference. God doesn't need man to create new life. He made Adam out of dust. Our participation in the creative process is a GIFT and a distinct privelege that not even the angels are provided. By interposing our will against the ordained process of nature, we are basically giving God the finger and telling Him to mind His own business. Using the rhythm method is totally acceptable because it does nothing to circumvent a natural process that already exists. And even during the rhythm method, couples need to remain open to the generation of life.
Then the Pope on the one hand declares that life is so precious that even a drop of semen shouldn't be wasted... and on the other, a happily married Christian couple can't seek medical help to compensate for their fertility problems that prevent them from participating in the creation of life?
By giving man the right to produce life by artificial intervention, he has also inevitably been given the power to create-and-freeze living embryos (read: human beings) and based the dignity of a human being within a mechanical process instead of the natural process. The progression of artificial insemination has led to the commoditization of human life. As Thomas Aquinas might say, it's just plain "disordered", and anything that is used in a way it's not naturally ordered to act is an evil (read: homosexual relations, interruptis coitis, test tube fertilization, vasectomies, etc.) If the Pope wanted to be consistent he would declare that no Christian should seek medical attention from a doctor for anything, they should just pray to God for whatever ails them, since to do anything else would be like playing God.
Assuming the sole responsibility of producing life without regard for God's ordination of the natural process is playing God; taking Tylenol for a headache is proper self-respect. There's never anything morally wrong with seeking medical attention to cure a failing biological process (Jesus cured countless people), but in such cases, the medicine is being introduced to the body. In vitro fertilization removes the elements from the body, manipulates them, then reintroduces them after the process of reproduction has already taken place. The fertilization is a mechanical process, not a natural one, and that's an evil.
I hope this helps. As someone who is childless due to infertility, I come to the table as someone who benefit greatly from IVF, however, the Church is correct in its condemnation of artificial insemination.
Should read: "As someone who COULD benefit greatly from IVF..."
Yes, it's wrong to use a condom. Where did I say anything different?
But you just said "The Catholic Church does not teach that it is morally wrong to prevent pregnancy"
Now your saying it's wrong to use a condom...
Am I missing something?
Frankly, the spinning, rationalizations and justifications here would do Clinton proud.
Not really. The natural process has periods of infertility, but it's still possible to become pregnant since user mileage may vary when it comes to actual fertility. If intercourse takes place and the egg is present, there is nothing to stop fertilization from occurring if the sperm makes it to its final destination. A condom is designed to interrupt any possibility of fertilization. Whether or not a couple is aiming to avoid fertilization, there is still an implicit openness to conception since they are allowing nature to take its course, one way or another. Contraception is "against conception" by definition, so there is implicity NO openness to the creation of life on the part of the participants.
Then I guess it is "evil" to have a transplant or worse yet a pacemaker or artificial heart, or to use a artificial lung to keep someone breathing, not to mention prosthetic arms and legs, new titanium kneecaps and shoulders, ect, ect....
The procedures you mention are done for the purpose of preserving/improving/healing someone who is already alive. They don't have anything to do with the synthetic creation of life.
But you're not circumventing anything with the rhythm method. The natural process IS a period of infertility. And as anyone whose tried it can tell you, I wouldn't place any large bets against conception occuring anyhow. The process isn't fool proof by any stretch, so couples are well aware that conception is still a reasonable possibility. Also, if the rhythm method was as reliable as you seem to think it is, no one would bother with condoms, end of story.
Frankly, the spinning, rationalizations and justifications here would do Clinton proud.
Touched a nerve? Sheesh. There's no law saying you have to be a Catholic. If you can come up with an argument that trumps 2000 years of Catholic theology, then go for it.
The Church is pretty consistent on everything across the board. What is the purpose of sex? For pleasure only? Or to procreate? Which is the responsibility of a man and a woman, who create a family structure through marriage.
Condoms and other birth control devices remove the procreation aspect from sex, which goes against the reason why God created it. It becomes only pleasure, which is also what same-sex partnerships are, as well as male-female sex outside of marriage.
Maybe its tough to be on board with all this if you aren't Catholic. But the good Catholics understand where all this comes from.
Yes. You've not considered the distinction between means and ends. Even if you have a perfectly legitimate end (avoiding pregnancy because of a serious problem) you still have to use good means.
Remember that, unlike animals, humans are created "in the image and likeness of God." That's not just a bit of cheap self-flattery ("Woohoo, lookit me, I'm so godlike") but a mandate to respect the "human form divine" (as the poet Blake put it.) Briefly, you can aim to correct and perfect us human beings, but you shouldn't aim to re-engineer or redesign us. "Deconstruction" of humans is morally objectionable.
With this in mind, you can see why using a deconstructive means (like, for instance, castration) would be morally wrong, even if your aim is to avoid pregnancy. The main problem with contraception is that it treats fertility as if it were a disease or at least a design flaw. Contraception aims not to perfect the human sexual design but to extirpate parts of it. Contraception deconstructs natural sex.
Interestingly, part of the human sexual design is that we females are only intermittently fertile. That's why using a little forethought about the timing of intercourse can put you in a good position to either achieve or avoid pregnancy.
The whole aspect of the sacredness of the created human design is so seldom spoken about, or even thought about, that it seems almost culturally inaccessible to us. We're more likely to think of our sexual design --- or even human life itself --- as being literally insignificant and inconsequential. Perhaps it seems that way to you.
If that's the case, it would be easy to blow off the whole discussion at this point. However, the Catholic view --- if you sincerely want to understand it --- is very much based on the idea that our sexual nature has a sacred aspect.
I think this article is worth looking into:
Thanks for reading this far. Thanks for your patience.
It sounds as if ideal Catholic sex is short, infrequent, and utterly devoid of any pleasure -- and if you accidently feel some, it's a sin.
not at all. within the bounds of marriage, and so long as you are open to procreation it can be long, nonstop and extremely enjoyable. it's why God MADE sex.
I guess my take wasn't quite clear. Catholics do not believe sex is only for pleasure. This is the main gripe of the whole deal, which brings about the opposition to contraception, abortion, and homosexuality.
This does not mean that they don't consider it pleasurable. They just know that it comes with the added responsibility of procreation. You cannot separate these two things. You simply cannot. It is a sin against God, who never intended for them to be separate.
Can we still bring the orange marmalade, the rubber chicken suit, and the monkeys?
You explained it well. Thanks for taking the time. Now put on those stilettos for me.
I remember you. You didn't like Coldplay. Or rather, you had never heard their music, and didn't plan on doing it anytime soon.
I still am very proud that I have never listened to Coldplay.
So, it's OK to try to avoid pregnancy by avoiding periods of fertility? (Even though, presumably, God wants you to take advantage of that fertility.):
Withholding sperm from a fertile egg: OK
Blocking sperm from getting to a fertile egg: BAD
And as anyone whose tried it can tell you, I wouldn't place any large bets against conception occuring anyhow.
So unreliable contraceptive techniques are OK, reliable ones are bad.
Ok, I almost think I understand....
Even if the extra embryos which are created and not implanted are then destroyed? This is why the Church objects to invitro fertilization
No, that would be abortion. Any extra embryos would have to be eventually used by the husband and wife for it not to be considered a sin in my opinion.
what I want to know, and have never gotten a good answer, is why we're still promoting condom use among the military instead of abstinence until marriage. They don't work, and thus are dangerous. Our troops deserve better than this.
Yes. The catch is, the couple can't just say, "we're going to spend our entire marriage just having intercourse when we're least fertile". But the Church has always respected the fact that economic and practical concerns can influence individual situations, so, it is acceptable to keep track of fertility cycles since this is part of nature which was created by God. But to introduce a synthetic contraception, whose ordered design is only to interrupt any possibility of conception is considered an evil.
I understand that this seems contradictory. It took me many years to really come to an understanding of the Church's position, but it's correct.
So unreliable contraceptive techniques are OK, reliable ones are bad. Ok, I almost think I understand....
No. The rhythm method is not contraception. The natural process is still being allowed to run its course (intercourse, then fertilization or NOT fertilization). Contraception stymies the course of nature, one way or another. It's the equivalent of holding a paper bag over someone's head so they can't breathe.
Just the opposite. The Church teaches that marital intercourse makes a person, in fact, holier. The act is "meritorious" when it's a self-giving and not an act of just taking.
The pleasure of sex is certainly physical, but limiting the scope of pleasure to whatever nerve ends you can stimulate is like going to a four-star restaurant and limiting your meal to whatever shows up in the bread basket. The Church believes that the soul AND the body are good, and to limit the scope of the pursuit of pleasure JUST to the body is plainly foolish when there is much more in addition that gives man pleasure and fulfillment.
So to boil it down, the Church says, "have as much sex as you and your spouse want, but don't forget that the end purpose of sex is procreation. And disabling this purpose through contraception or selfish disposition is a sin."
The notion that the ideal Catholic sex is short, infrequent, and devoid of pleasure is an utter fallacy. In fact, there was a survey taken last year (I don't recall what outfit sponsored it - but it was NOT a Catholic group) which found that Catholic couples have the most self-described satisfying sex lives out of any other group, religiously-affiliated or otherwise. I'll have to Google it and see if I can find the report, but it pretty much echoed what the Church has been saying all along...
LOL! The monkeys might be problematic. And the rubber chicken suit might indicate that the Church position on contraception is the least of your worries at this point.
Ah. The error in this reasoning is the incorrect use of the word "nature" -- see my sigline.
By this reasoning, even though the troops that took out al-Zarqawi had a perfectly legitimate end (ridding the world of a dangerous terrorist leader), they were in the wrong because they failed to use good means (carefully executing him in a painless manner rather than blowing him away willy-nilly).
Let's look on the bright side. Even though we disagree, it's safe to say that your current views are still better than most so-called Catholics. The mere fact that you're willing to at least listen is light-years ahead of a lot of "Cafeteria Catholics" who think they've figured out the universe based on what's playing at the theatre.
Have a great day.
Hm. My curiosity is piqued. Could you elaborate?
This is a meaningless distinction that simply lends itself to ad hoc acceptance or rejection based on some authority's arbitrary preferences. For example, to insert an artificial knee is clearly to "re-engineer or redesign" the recipient -- not one creature on Earth has natural metal parts -- and yet I don't seem to hear any similar objections.
The wording is a condensation of a Robert Heinlein comment which notes that this error arises out of profound self-hatred, broadened to hatred of the human race generally.
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