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  #1  
Old Feb 17, '12, 2:12 pm
Deus_lo_vult Deus_lo_vult is offline
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Post Catholics vs Protestants: The Theology of Artificial Contraception (Please read all before posting)

Quote:
If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also. (John 15: 18-20)
Why are Catholics afraid of persecution? I opened with the above verse because I want to remind us all of Christ’s warning that to be his disciples we WILL necessarily endure persecution from those of the world who WILL hate us. We will be persecuted, whether that persecution is a soft persecution, that is, a dehumanizing, patronizing, and socially exclusionary persecution (as now, amid the debate over the government’s contraceptive mandate) or a hard persecution of the kind that threatens our persons with physical violence.

I claim this fear also as my own. My hope in opening this discussion is that your contributions may elicit for me and for other Catholics) struggling to identify the origin of this fear, and the solution to it the needed answers. I think any uplifting stories may allow us to take heart in our mission and not despair of it.

I think that if we could force an ecumenical discussion among Christians, all forms of artificial contraception would be found theologically indefensible, in light of the teaching of the Church Fathers AND the Bible (the ‘sin of Onan’ anyone?)? This conversation should occur magnanimously, and beneficently, without regard to what we Catholics might expect as the appropriate social policy toward artificial contraception; that conversation may eventually follow our efforts in this regard, but this conversation must necessarily precede those efforts.

Unsurprisingly, we might not get what we want out of it, like a return to pre-1930 criminalization. Indeed, many lapsed Catholics will storm out of our Churches. Many fair-weather allies among our Protestant brethren would desert us for the foreseeable future of the discussion (to stand with the Progressive secularists whom have traditionally been our mutual persecutors), and finally it may sow division within our families as users of contraceptives living under our roofs or in our neighborhoods refuse to associate with any of us. Furthermore, as if the above calamities were not heartbreaking enough, we may temporarily endure a regressive, reactionary policy from advocates of contraception, as our confession of our disdain of contraceptives galvanizes their ranks in favor of imposing even stricter legislation protecting, promoting, and ENFORCING free access.

However, I think it would force a public, intellectual defeat of the Protestant mindset that within Christian marriage, artificial contraception is legitimate and responsible. Moreover, it would starkly demonstrate that Protestant advocates of free use among married couples have, when faced with a question of whether to choose between the religion of God, and the religion of social convenience, have chosen the latter.

How does the fierce defense of contraception (even within marriages), by Protestant defenders stand up to Christ’s words in the Garden of Gethsemane:

Quote:
“Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done...” (Luke 22:42)?
More specifically, how does the artificial separation of the unitive aspects of procreation emulate the surrender of Christ to the will of God? I would argue quite strongly that such behavior is merely a petulant, selfish deference to that which is lesser than God:

Quote:
“Thus, the true blessedness of the good angels is found to be this, that they cleave to Him who supremely is. And if we ask the cause of the misery of the bad, it occurs to us, and not unreasonably, that they are miserable because they have forsaken Him who supremely is, and have turned to themselves who have no such essence.... For when the will abandons what is above itself, and turns to what is lower, it becomes evil—not because that is evil to which it turns, but because the turning itself is wicked. Therefore it is not an inferior thing which has made the will evil, but it is itself which has become so by wickedly and inordinately desiring an inferior thing.”

-St. Augustine, City of God, Bk. 12 Ch. 6
How does the demand of a right to use contraceptives honor Christ’s command to
Quote:
“be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment?” (Matthew 6:25)
especially since contraceptives are merely a convenience, they are NOT sustenance, our subsistence does NOT depend upon contraception.

Last edited by Deus_lo_vult; Feb 17, '12 at 2:27 pm.
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  #2  
Old Feb 17, '12, 2:13 pm
Deus_lo_vult Deus_lo_vult is offline
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Post Re: Catholics vs Protestants: The Theology of Artificial Contraception (Please read all before posting)

Ever since the mandate that Catholic institutions, and now their insurance companies (which often makes no difference, according to the particular diocese) must provide contraception, a few points of contention have dominated the discussion:

1. The conversation has been focused, primarily by advocates of increased access (in 2012? That's a laugh!) lauding the 'benefits' to 'reproductive health' or 'reproductive rights', or conversely by concerned, indignant Catholics, and a few token Protestants, on the abortion inducing Pill, to the exclusion of other methods.

2. "It's not about contraception, it's about liberty! Liberty!"

3. In a rare point of agreement between all parties concerned (despite the feelings of Christians over deploying the coercive power of the state to bully Catholic Charities, hospitals, universities etc) many practicing Catholics have joined their Protestant cousins in the traditionally liberal chorus of our mutual secular oppressors, saying "I support a woman's right to have access to contraception!"

4. How did we ever accede to the above point?

My answers:

1. As long as we're talking about the Pill, I think it's important to remind our secular detractors that the Pill has failed to accomplish its stated goal of minimizing abortions, whether by its fundamental design that destroys fertilized embryos either before or after implantation, or the numbers of women using the Pill, who wind up in the abortionists' chair anyway.

But this focus on the Pill gets away from the heart of the discussion...barrier methods like prophyllactics (which means condoms, and is a suitable alternative to the socially indecent latter term that carries explicit sexual connotations) diaphragms (don’t know a word for them yet) or IUDs are still intrinsically evil, and, I would argue, re-criminalizing their use is not an affront to liberty.

None of the Founding Fathers viewed licentiousness as genuine freedom, it is actually slavery. Who has ever experienced starvation or craving and thought to themselves, “this is nice! On top of my insatiable hunger for food, can I also compound my suffering by craving other things, to which I may tie my hope of survival?” Ask a recovered addict how wonderful it was to crave his fixation. On the contrary, the wise and virtuous man prays that God will deliver him from his longings. Indeed, in their Christian, and Roman Stoic philosophical tradition, only virtuous, principled freedom is truly free, and in our Tradition, the Catechism and the Church Fathers affirm that.

Our own Scriptures prove that a Judeo-Christian Paradise is, in essence, a freedom from want. Adam and Eve lived in a Garden where they needed nothing, save the protection and provision of God. Only Satan introduces human beings to the desire of that which they do not need and the covetousness of that which is not theirs. Consider Genesis’ account of the Garden of Eden before the fall of mankind.

2. It is ALSO about contraception. We hear this claim from Christians whom have chosen to value political expediency above that which God has directed them to do; politically savvy Christian intriguers and maneuverers who publically repudiate this ‘losing issue’ out of worldly, Machiavellian concerns with holding control of public offices. These Christians are forgetting their history; they are forgetting the cautionary account of Peter’s denial of Christ:

Quote:
“Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, that in this night before the cock crow, thou wilt deny me thrice.” (Matthew 26:34).
They are proving that even a prophecy, an advanced warning as that which Peter received from Christ, will not stop us from pridefully and obstinately fulfilling this prophecy.

3. There was not a strong demand for contraceptives before they were legalized. It seems people got along just fine without them. The problem is, when you give a child a toy, let him enjoy that toy, it’s hard to take it away from him when the regressive effects of that toy appear to take hold.

4. How have we deferred to liberals in naming the terms of the battle, including the naming of the intellectual battlefield? They have a homefield advantage here. They have steered us, like lost sheep away from our Good Shepherd. We have been backed into a wall and the only way out is our assent to a foregone liberal conclusion that access to all forms of contraception is as fundamental to human existence as food; this is ironically, the reverse of the truth. Nourishment sustains and restores life, contraception prevents life or snuffs it out altogether.

Thoughts? How can we have this dicussion with Protestants?

Last edited by Deus_lo_vult; Feb 17, '12 at 2:32 pm.
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  #3  
Old Feb 20, '12, 8:35 am
Calgar Calgar is offline
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Default Re: Catholics vs Protestants: The Theology of Artificial Contraception (Please read all before posting)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deus_lo_vult View Post
Thoughts? How can we have this dicussion with Protestants?
I don't know about other protestants, but Biblical evidence works well with southern baptists.

My wife and I do not use contraception and the roman catholic argument makes sense to us. I also think that there is a lack of dialog. The two churches tend to stay on their respective side of the street and don't interact.
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  #4  
Old Feb 20, '12, 8:55 am
JimG JimG is offline
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Default Re: Catholics vs Protestants: The Theology of Artificial Contraception (Please read all before posting)

While I think that the widespread use of contraception has been disastrous for society, and that Paul VI was prophetic in his warnings in Humanae Vitae, the current debate is really not about that. No one is advocating criminalizing contraceptives. No one.

No, the only thing that religious people, particularly Catholics, find objectionable in the HHS mandate, is that it forces Catholic institutions and Catholic employers to provide a product which they find morally objectionable on religious grounds. It interferes with their freedom to practice their religion.

Contraceptives are widely available, there is no shortage of contraceptives, and no shortage of insurance plans which cover them. The mandate is entirely unnecessary, and an infringement on religious liberty, regardless of one's theological views on contraception, sterilization, or abortion inducing morning-after pills.
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  #5  
Old Feb 20, '12, 12:09 pm
Deus_lo_vult Deus_lo_vult is offline
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Post Re: Catholics vs Protestants: The Theology of Artificial Contraception (Please read all before posting)

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Originally Posted by JimG View Post
While I think that the widespread use of contraception has been disastrous for society, and that Paul VI was prophetic in his warnings in Humanae Vitae, the current debate is really not about that. No one is advocating criminalizing contraceptives. No one.

No, the only thing that religious people, particularly Catholics, find objectionable in the HHS mandate, is that it forces Catholic institutions and Catholic employers to provide a product which they find morally objectionable on religious grounds. It interferes with their freedom to practice their religion.

Contraceptives are widely available, there is no shortage of contraceptives, and no shortage of insurance plans which cover them. The mandate is entirely unnecessary, and an infringement on religious liberty, regardless of one's theological views on contraception, sterilization, or abortion inducing morning-after pills.
With all due respect, sir, Paul VI was a strong advocate of DISCOURAGING access to contraceptives, and to my knowledge (and you'll correct me if I'm wrong, I hope), in his view, legislation is a legitimate avenue to that end.

I detest that the government upholds contraceptive access as a birthright. I'M CATHOLIC too, and I don't believe I'm alone in this regard. You might view the issue entirely in political dimensions, but I would remind you that your Church morally condemns the use of contraception in strong moral terms.

If you ignore the fact that contraception could be considered morally illicit, you cannot possibly begin to understand why the Church has responded so strongly against this mandate. Liberals go on TV every day saying they don't understand what the big deal is. "What could possibly be so wrong with covering contraceptives?", they ask, "lots of other employers already do!"

For instance, (and not to trivialize a Church teaching which I revere) let's say that the government, which believes strongly in the free access to socks, creates a fictional mandate that church ministries who employ people irrespective of their religious affiliation must provide, through their insurance providers, access to socks. Let's also say that a fictional church has a teaching against socks and it condemns its members for wearing socks

To the rest of the world that teaching seems silly and arbitrary. To liberals, putting on a prophylactic before sexual intercourse is as benign and shameless an act as putting on socks before putting on one's shoes. Indeed, liberals defending the government's mandate on contraception view the Church's mandate as quite a trivial matter. "What's the big deal?" they say. It IS about contraception...if you want to persuade the opposition to leave our churches alone, it helps to explain to them why it is contraception is objectionable to Catholic teaching in the first place. We should explain to outsiders, and not shy away from theological language, as to why artificial contraception is wrong

As a Catholic, I might not uphold the Kosher laws regarding ham, or the Halal laws of the Qur'an, but my understanding of those teachings helps me to understand why going to a Jewish Deli and asking for a ham sandwich might be highly oppressive the owner/operator of the establishment, even though I myself wouldn't think twice about the moral license of eating a ham sandwich.

Last edited by Deus_lo_vult; Feb 20, '12 at 12:24 pm.
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  #6  
Old Feb 20, '12, 12:51 pm
JimG JimG is offline
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Default Re: Catholics vs Protestants: The Theology of Artificial Contraception (Please read all before posting)

Well yes, I agree: we should explain to outsiders why contraception is wrong. (And when it comes to the HHS mandate, why sterilization and the morning-after pill are also wrong.) But the HHS will not consider theological grounds as reason for recission of the mandate. Neither will the Courts nor the Congress. But they will and should take into account the violation of religious liberty that the mandate entails.

I have no idea of Paul VI’s views on legislative matters; if he had any, those would be matters of prudential judgment. His encyclical, in any case, was directed to matters of faith and morals, specifically the morality of artificial contraception.

The entire history of the sexual revolution following the widespread acceptance of contraception certainly demonstrates the validity of that pope’s warnings about its use. Promiscuity, abortion, fatherless families, mistreatment of women, the feminization of poverty, all these things got much worse with the acceptance and use of contraception.

I have no quarrel with explaining the theological or the practical reasons for the Church’s teaching on contraception. It needs to be done.

Explaining the reasons for the Church’s teaching is fine, but it won’t affect the HHS mandate. The HHS mandate is about suppressing the free exercise of religion.
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Old Feb 20, '12, 1:30 pm
Deus_lo_vult Deus_lo_vult is offline
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Post Re: Catholics vs Protestants: The Theology of Artificial Contraception (Please read all before posting)

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Originally Posted by JimG View Post
Well yes, I agree: we should explain to outsiders why contraception is wrong. (And when it comes to the HHS mandate, why sterilization and the morning-after pill are also wrong.) But the HHS will not consider theological grounds as reason for recission of the mandate. Neither will the Courts nor the Congress. But they will and should take into account the violation of religious liberty that the mandate entails.

I have no idea of Paul VI’s views on legislative matters; if he had any, those would be matters of prudential judgment. His encyclical, in any case, was directed to matters of faith and morals, specifically the morality of artificial contraception.

The entire history of the sexual revolution following the widespread acceptance of contraception certainly demonstrates the validity of that pope’s warnings about its use. Promiscuity, abortion, fatherless families, mistreatment of women, the feminization of poverty, all these things got much worse with the acceptance and use of contraception.

I have no quarrel with explaining the theological or the practical reasons for the Church’s teaching on contraception. It needs to be done.

Explaining the reasons for the Church’s teaching is fine, but it won’t affect the HHS mandate. The HHS mandate is about suppressing the free exercise of religion.
I agree that discussing the moral dimensions of contraception will not change how HHS feels about the role of contraception supposedly contributing to a healthier society, however, like any administration:

If you can gather enough liberals to rally behind us, it DOES matter, I respectfully disagree. With enough political pressure, the administration may rescind the mandate, irrespective of its supposed legality, which they would continue to assert. That hangs on drawing more public support of our position.

Last edited by Deus_lo_vult; Feb 20, '12 at 1:42 pm.
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