Another thread on the Church's teachings on contraception, specifically with respect to rape


#1

I found this quote in another forum:

Pope Saint John Paul II: “Contraception is to be judged objectively so profoundly illicit that it can never, for any reason, be justified. To think, or to say, anything to the contrary is tantamount to saying that in human life there can be situations where it is legitimate not to recognize God as God. Users of contraception attribute to themselves a power that belongs only to God, the power to decide in the final instance the coming into existence of a human being.” (Address on Responsible Procreation)

If this is true, does this mean that it is sinful for a spermicide to be used as part of medical treatment after rape?

I want to leave aside for a moment the question of emergency oral contraceptive medication, because some of them may act as an abortifacient, and that adds an extra layer of complexity to this question.

It has always been my belief that spermicide was permissible following the act of rape. It doesn’t negate the horror of the initial attack, but it does allow the victim to take some action against the intruding sperm. Am I wrong in my assumption?

How are we to understand the pope’s condemnation of contraception as “so profoundly illicit that it can never be justified” while also justifying it post-assault? What am I missing?


#2

8 threads on the first page! Yikes!

The Church is obsessed with sex because people are obsessed with sex.

You’ll find your question answered in some of the other threads. The answer is yes, it is certainly permissible. The object is defensive rather than self-reordering.


#3

Hey I blame Pope Francis! He is the one who proposed this topic for the world to discuss. :smiley:

So we are all just obediently discussing this topic and forming our consciences. :thumbsup:

What does “self-reordering” mean?


#4

The moral act the pope states as always wrong is “contraception”. You must understand what that means as a moral act. The act to rid a rape victim’s body of remnants of the rapist after he withdraws is a justifiable act to terminate progress of the rape.


#5

Yeah fair enough…

A normal contraceptive act means someone is reordering their sexual faculty to something other than the natural order.


#6

:thumbsup:


#7

So I wasn’t wrong in thinking that spermicide is acceptable in this scenario? That is a relief. I have seen so many threads all over Catholic forums about this topic this week. There are seriously a lot of Catholics who believe that it would qualify as the “moral act of contraception”, to put it the way you express it, and is therefore condemned.

I still don’t understand why the Church uses these words differently. It doesn’t make sense to me why a contraceptive substance used in the situation of rape is said not to be the moral act of contraception. Why don’t they just say that the only time contraception is allowed is for the situation of self-defense against insemination from rape?

Do you have any resources I could go to to understand why they distinguish here when the medical language does not?


#8

Here’s a helpful way to get at the sense of the difference.

Suppose a couple uses coitus interruptus. This is a clear case of contraception.

Now suppose a woman pushes away her rapist during climax.

Do you see the difference? The act looks very similar, but it is wildly different.


#9

Of course I see the difference!:frowning:

A woman may defend herself at any point. And it is my belief that she may at the very least use a spermicide after, if she is able.

My question is about why the Church says on the one hand that contraception may never be approved, but on the other hand allows for a contraceptive substance to be used in this scenario and then says that it is okay because it doesn’t count as contraception? It doesn’t make sense that they would say you can’t call the use of a contraceptive, when it is used as a contraceptive to prevent conception after rape, the act of contraception. Why not just say that contraception is justified in only this one case?


#10

I think the point is rather that rape is not sex.

The woman can’t be contracepting because morally speaking what’s happening to her is not sex. It’s assault.


#11

I’ve not noticed more than 1 or 2 posters take that view. But I have noticed that multiple posters seem to believe that if the Congo nuns took contraceptive drugs as a defence against rape - that would be contraception.

…It doesn’t make sense to me why a contraceptive substance used in the situation of rape is said not to be the moral act of contraception. Why don’t they just say that the only time contraception is allowed is for the situation of self-defense against insemination from rape?

Drugs are not themselves evil. Condoms are not in themselves evil- they actually make pretty good water bombs. :smiley:

One cannot destroy a noble human act when that act is not occurring. Rape is not the relevant act whose essential elements are to be preserved.


#12

I understand that.

Here is my question. Contraception means “against conception”.

Why does the Church not use the term contraception to apply to the act of preventing conception after rape?


#13

I am on several Catholic forums and I have read a lot of articles on this topic this week. I am not basing my questions upon the assertions of CAF posters.

I am not making any assertions either.

I am asking a question that focuses upon the Church’s language so that I can understand this better. It appears that the Church uses a totally different definition of contraception than the rest of the world. I first noticed it with respect to NFP. And now it becomes even more apparent. When did this start and why?


#14

:confused: There is no contraception in NFP - there is not even any sex act to be abused/tampered with. Contraception (the moral wrong) is an act to destroy (separate the elements of) a freely chosen, act of sexual mutual giving. This is clear when you read Church teaching on the subject. So that can’t have application in a rape, can it?

Linguistic issues are what they are. If you have a better word that the Church should use - what would it be? Keep in mind - it has to be a word that describes a moral act, not a purely physical act, and one which is always wrong. I don’t think there is one. So the point is made using the language that we have. It requires more than one word.


#15

I think the OP is saying that in everyday use, any act that significantly reduces the chances of conception would be called contraception, while the Church (or at least the people in this thread) seem to reserve that word for the sin rather than for non-sinful actions that also have the same effect.

It’s like the way we have “killing” (sometimes sinful, sometimes not) and “murder” (a subset of killing that is always sinful). The OP sees “contraception” as a general term akin to “killing” (covering all acts that reduce the likelihood of conception, whether sinful or not) while other folks in the thread – and possibly the Magisterium – use “contraception” more like “murder,” to denote only the sinful subset of acts that reduce the likelihood of conception.


#16

Yes.

People within the Catholic Church, and outside of it, most commonly use the term “contraception” to apply to ANY action taken to prevent a baby from being conceived.

Obviously, Rau doesn’t do so. But what I am trying to figure out, hopefully with the help of this thread, is how I can explain why the Church uses the term differently. Most people are going to say that it sounds hypocritical, not nuanced. I don’t know how to correct the misunderstanding if I can’t find out why the Church uses the words differently in the first place.


#17

Do you realize that the ENTIRE world outside the Church, and even a good Deacon here on CAF refer to NFP methods as contraception? (I am not saying that I do so, I am just pointing out that others do.)

Do you realize that the entire world refers to the use of contraceptives to prevent conception after rape as contraception?

These are important issues on which the Church and the world not only do not agree, but cannot even agree on the vocabulary. That is a real problem.


#18

If by action, you mean something done to change the course of a sexual act, they would be right about 99.99999% of the time. Post-rape treatment being the only case that readily comes to mind where the meaning differs. In that 0.00001% of instances, the act is of contraceptive effect, but not of the moral character of the sin of contraception.

I note the action you described does not include use of hormones to treat various female conditions that have suppression of ovulation as a side-effect. That treatment is directed at an immediate end different than the one you nominate.

Obviously, Rau doesn’t do so.

Actually, Rau is able to discern the distinction in the few cases where it is necessary to do so.

But what I am trying to figure out, hopefully with the help of this thread, is how I can explain why the Church uses the term differently. Most people are going to say that it sounds hypocritical, not nuanced. I don’t know how to correct the misunderstanding if I can’t find out why the Church uses the words differently in the first place.

There’s not much to figure out. There isn’t another word available. HV is about 12 closely typed pages long.


#19

That is an infuriating statement, Rau. :slight_smile:

You DO know that this statement would be absolutely incomprehensible to the great majority of the world, don’t you?

You said that the act is of contraceptive effect, but not of the moral character of the sin of contraception.

The fact that this might be an acceptable way to describe the truth of the situation matters little if this explanation is incomprehensible to or sounds like hypocrisy to the world outside the Church, or to those inside the Church who do not understand “nuance”.

Does this matter to you? You make this sound as if it is all self-evident. Plus, you claim that your explanation is In line with Church teaching, but have yet to produce any documents that say what you suggest: that the use of the contraceptive for the prevention of pregnancy post-rape isn’t the same thing as “the sin of contraception”. The only thing that you have produced is a document in use in America that says that the use of contraceptives in this circumstance do not violate Church prohibition of contraception, but no where did it make the claim that it cannot properly be called “contraception”.

With regards to the use of the Pill for non-contraceptive purposes, well, I specifically excluded hormonal medication from my question for multiple reasons. I don’t even want to go there with this conversation.

Edited to add: sorry that link to the ethical directive document I mentioned was in one of your posts in the other thread.


#20

I see no hypocrisy at all. The explanation is no more incomprehensible than the one that says killing a person in self-defence is not murder.

… you claim that your explanation is In line with Church teaching, but have yet to produce any documents that say what you suggest: that the use of the contraceptive for the prevention of pregnancy post-rape isn’t the same thing as “the sin of contraception”.

The Church does not tend to make lists of things which are not sinful.

The only thing that you have produced is a document in use in America that says that the use of contraceptives in this circumstance do not violate Church prohibition of contraception,

A detailed, thought out paper by a group of national bishops is typically pretty persuasive, don’t you think? If the Church (in the USA) allows it, then it is highly likely that it is not what the Church teaches as the sin of contraception, given the latter is intrinsically evil. That is a reasonable conclusion of logic and supports the theological reasoning I’ve provided.

…but no where did it make the claim that it cannot properly be called “contraception”.

If that is a linguistic observation, I won’t bother responding. If it’s a comment on the nature of the act, I’ve answered that already.

In conclusion - It is not a difficult issue to explain the matter to a person who has a genuine enquiry. They are likely to respond: “Oh, so the Church uses the word contraception with a *slightly *more specific meaning than might be common practice?” It is close to impossible however with a person with an axe to grind or a mischievous purpose. There are many of those. I’m not suggesting you are one.


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