Birth control in wartime conditions/extreme deprivation


#1

This is coming up on a thread that was intended for discussion of NFP (and later, ABC) in marriage. A few people including me have wondered why ABC is not considered OK in wartime or genocidal conditions or conditions of extreme deprivation, and if that has any bearing on people living in peace.

I'm not talking about the developed world or even most people in poverty but in places like the Sudan where there is widespread war, famine, violence, and anarchy. Is there ever a time when people's experience becomes atrocious enough to justify disregarding or changing the principle?

In these conditions the discussion might not even make much sense b/c if you can't get food and water to people you probably can't get ABC to them either. I am enormously privileged compared to women in places like the Sudan; this is very unfair, it is like I am living in another world. Because my conditions are so different, I wonder how the teaching can apply to people living in extreme deprivation.


#2

My main problem with he current teaching on ABC is that it is “intrinsically evil”, in other words, that there is never, under any circumstances, an excuse to use a condom. When there are 12-year-old girls getting raped by men with AIDS who think that sex with a virgin cures the virus, I HAVE to think that the use of a condom would be licit, but it seems that the Church does not. If it were my daughter, you BET I would want the rapist to wear a condom.

The rigidity of this aspect of the teaching on ABC unfortunately makes me question the whole thing :frowning:


#3

[quote="LaSainte, post:2, topic:244226"]
My main problem with he current teaching on ABC is that it is "intrinsically evil", in other words, that there is never, under any circumstances, an excuse to use a condom. When there are 12-year-old girls getting raped by men with AIDS who think that sex with a virgin cures the virus, I HAVE to think that the use of a condom would be licit, but it seems that the Church does not. If it were my daughter, you BET I would want the rapist to wear a condom.

The rigidity of this aspect of the teaching on ABC unfortunately makes me question the whole thing :(

[/quote]

Do you really think that if the Church changed it's stance on ABC and allowed condoms to be used, rapists would wear them? I don't. I think rapists are sick people who don't care about the person they are raping. Why on earth would they take that step to protect them? They wouldn't.


#4

[quote="silentstar, post:1, topic:244226"]
This is coming up on a thread that was intended for discussion of NFP (and later, ABC) in marriage. A few people including me have wondered why ABC is not considered OK in wartime or genocidal conditions or conditions of extreme deprivation, and if that has any bearing on people living in peace.

I'm not talking about the developed world or even most people in poverty but in places like the Sudan where there is widespread war, famine, violence, and anarchy. Is there ever a time when people's experience becomes atrocious enough to justify disregarding or changing the principle?

In these conditions the discussion might not even make much sense b/c if you can't get food and water to people you probably can't get ABC to them either. I am enormously privileged compared to women in places like the Sudan; this is very unfair, it is like I am living in another world. Because my conditions are so different, I wonder how the teaching can apply to people living in extreme deprivation.

[/quote]

Why would someone living in extreme conditions, not be entitled to the fullness of marriage? Isn't the complete love of a spouse one of the things that is not dependent on economics? To say it's "ok" to share only part of themselves because of outside conditions doesn't make sense.


#5

[quote="silentstar, post:1, topic:244226"]
This is coming up on a thread that was intended for discussion of NFP (and later, ABC) in marriage. A few people including me have wondered why ABC is not considered OK in wartime or genocidal conditions or conditions of extreme deprivation, and if that has any bearing on people living in peace.

I'm not talking about the developed world or even most people in poverty but in places like the Sudan where there is widespread war, famine, violence, and anarchy. Is there ever a time when people's experience becomes atrocious enough to justify disregarding or changing the principle?

[/quote]

Wouldn't it be better to end needless wars and excessive poverty around the world?

That's what the church teaches. Not enough people are taking it seriously though.


#6

[quote="silentstar, post:1, topic:244226"]
This is coming up on a thread that was intended for discussion of NFP (and later, ABC) in marriage. A few people including me have wondered why ABC is not considered OK in wartime or genocidal conditions or conditions of extreme deprivation, and if that has any bearing on people living in peace.

I'm not talking about the developed world or even most people in poverty but in places like the Sudan where there is widespread war, famine, violence, and anarchy. Is there ever a time when people's experience becomes atrocious enough to justify disregarding or changing the principle?

In these conditions the discussion might not even make much sense b/c if you can't get food and water to people you probably can't get ABC to them either. I am enormously privileged compared to women in places like the Sudan; this is very unfair, it is like I am living in another world. Because my conditions are so different, I wonder how the teaching can apply to people living in extreme deprivation.

[/quote]

ABC is by its nature dependent upon a ready supply of something (be it drugs, latex or whatever) so your question is a non sequitur.

NFP only requires knowledge. Nobody can take it from you. Nobody can cause you to run out of it. Nobody can break it. NFP is ideal for situations of war and extreme privation. Indeed, one key study that found >99% effectiveness in NFP was conducted among impoverished people in India. Cost to provide NFP instruction to thousands of people? a few volunteers' time (the students paid nothing - the government pays nothing - there's no chance the students will ever be without - er - "protection").


#7

Sometimes the answer is hidden in the question.

The question here seems to imply that the asker believes that the moral teaching against contraception is arbitrary in nature, akin to not being allowed to eat meat on Friday. But it isn't. Inherently sinful things are things that are inherently harmful to the human soul and its ability to give an receive love. War and hard circumstances don't change those things. The extremely poor and war torn don't benefit by having their sexual intimacy damaged by ABC. They most likely, however, DO have reason to use periodic abstinance (i.e. NFP) to prevent pregnancy. Unlike contraception, NFP doesn't inherently change the meaning and message of sexual intimacy.

Similarly, it does nobody any favors to send the message to a would-be rapist that his crime would be "not so bad, really" if he just wears a condom. :eek:


#8

[quote="SonCatcher, post:6, topic:244226"]
ABC is by its nature dependent upon a ready supply of something (be it drugs, latex or whatever) so your question is a non sequitur.

NFP only requires knowledge. Nobody can take it from you. Nobody can cause you to run out of it. Nobody can break it. NFP is ideal for situations of war and extreme privation. Indeed, one key study that found >99% effectiveness in NFP was conducted among impoverished people in India. Cost to provide NFP instruction to thousands of people? a few volunteers' time (the students paid nothing - the government pays nothing - there's no chance the students will ever be without - er - "protection").

[/quote]

I agree with you. I know it's a non-sequitur, I said as much at the beginning of the third paragraph, if you can't get food and water to people and they are dying of starvation you likely can't get ABC either. But several posters were discussing Africa on the marriage thread and it was rightly requested to start another thread.

Basically the question, and this applies to what manualman said as well is: is there any human condition so bad or unusual that it justifies disregarding the principle? Or is the principle always correct?


#9

[quote="manualman, post:7, topic:244226"]
Sometimes the answer is hidden in the question.

The question here seems to imply that the asker believes that the moral teaching against contraception is arbitrary in nature, akin to not being allowed to eat meat on Friday. But it isn't. Inherently sinful things are things that are inherently harmful to the human soul and its ability to give an receive love. War and hard circumstances don't change those things. The extremely poor and war torn don't benefit by having their sexual intimacy damaged by ABC. They most likely, however, DO have reason to use periodic abstinance (i.e. NFP) to prevent pregnancy. Unlike contraception, NFP doesn't inherently change the meaning and message of sexual intimacy.

Similarly, it does nobody any favors to send the message to a would-be rapist that his crime would be "not so bad, really" if he just wears a condom. :eek:

[/quote]

I'm not sure I'd say "arbitrary;" I think I'd say "binding" in the sense of always applicable. And I think it's a lot more important than the issue of meat on Friday.


#10

These are certainly some of the most devastating and, unfortunately, real circumstances occuring on planet earth as we speak (or write). I believe you are an honest and intellegent person. I also believe that if we look at humans individually and as a group, as God looks at us, we would come to the realization that there are no illicit children. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the parents. Most often, the women (and young girls) are the prey of men acting as demons (not animals) instead of being the protectors they were designed to be. Wearing a condom does virtually nothing to encourage the perpetrator to "man up."


#11

[quote="silentstar, post:9, topic:244226"]
I'm not sure I'd say "arbitrary;" I think I'd say "binding" in the sense of always applicable. And I think it's a lot more important than the issue of meat on Friday.

[/quote]

In some circles, I suppose the word arbitrary has a negative connotation. But it needn't. Catholics have historically been instructed to abstain from meat on Fridays, not because the nature of meat changes on those days, but as a required form of fasting and self-discipline. If a catholic willfully ate meat on Friday, his sin is not the eating of meat, but the sin of disobedience.

Contraception isn't like this. When someone practices contraception, contraception itself is the sin, not only disobedience. That's what I meant by arbitrary.

Friday abstinance was both binding and arbitrary. Refraining from contraception is a matter of basic moral law, it is not arbitrary. There are never any external circumstances that are so bad that damaging your marriage is an overall improvement.


#12

[quote="MaryAnne77, post:954, topic:238696"]
So if it were your daughter, your virgin teenage daughter, accosted in a parking lot by a mentally-ill rapist - would you or would you not prefer him to use a condom before he raped her? Let's say that he has HIV. You don't get to choose if your daughter is raped, but you do get to choose if the rapist uses a condom.

[/quote]

If I had a virgin teenage daughter who was at risk of both being raped and infected with AIDS, I would definitely NOT just give her a condom and tell her to try get the rapist to wear it. Do you want to know what I WOULD do? I would give her a can of mace or red pepper spray which happens to be less expensive than a box or condoms. I learned that trick from a girlfriend of mine when we were living in downtown Philadelphia. She would walk around town with her hands in her pocket and her finger poised on the trigger of the can of mace. Fortunately, she never had to use it. A potential rapist would be unable to act after being sprayed in the eyes with red pepper.


#13

When there are 12-year-old girls getting raped by men with AIDS who think that sex with a virgin cures the virus, I HAVE to think that the use of a condom would be licit, but it seems that the Church does not. If it were my daughter, you BET I would want the rapist to wear a condom.

So if it were your daughter, your virgin teenage daughter, accosted in a parking lot by a mentally-ill rapist - would you or would you not prefer him to use a condom before he raped her? Let's say that he has HIV. You don't get to choose if your daughter is raped, but you do get to choose if the rapist uses a condom.

i'm entirely certain i would NOT get to choose whether my hypothetical rapist, or my daughter's hypothetical rapist would wear a condom.

but, for the benefit of this outlandish premise, i will say, "YES." i would like said rapist to wear a condom. does that make condoms ok? NO. it only means i would like to contain the devastation of the crime already being committed. i would not care ONE iota that said rapist added to his faults by condom use. he's already misusing his own sexual faculties in criminally and sinful ways. why would i care that he exacerbated his guilt?

but would he be exacerbating his guilt?

Pope Benedict XVI has stated that condom use may be a "first step in the direction of a moralisation” of profoundly disordered sexual acts. rape is a profoundly disordered sexual and violent act.

so, to put condom use back into the realm of ordered sexuality, manualman's treatment of the thing is good enough to repeat with this encouragement: read carefully:

The question here seems to imply that the asker believes that the moral teaching against contraception is arbitrary in nature, akin to not being allowed to eat meat on Friday. But it isn't. Inherently sinful things are things that are inherently harmful to the human soul and its ability to give an receive love. War and hard circumstances don't change those things. The extremely poor and war torn don't benefit by having their sexual intimacy damaged by ABC. They most likely, however, DO have reason to use periodic abstinance (i.e. NFP) to prevent pregnancy. Unlike contraception, NFP doesn't inherently change the meaning and message of sexual intimacy.


#14

[quote="manualman, post:11, topic:244226"]
In some circles, I suppose the word arbitrary has a negative connotation. But it needn't. Catholics have historically been instructed to abstain from meat on Fridays, not because the nature of meat changes on those days, but as a required form of fasting and self-discipline. If a catholic willfully ate meat on Friday, his sin is not the eating of meat, but the sin of disobedience.

Contraception isn't like this. When someone practices contraception, contraception itself is the sin, not only disobedience. That's what I meant by arbitrary.

Friday abstinance was both binding and arbitrary. Refraining from contraception is a matter of basic moral law, it is not arbitrary. There are never any external circumstances that are so bad that damaging your marriage is an overall improvement.

[/quote]

That helps, thanks. by the way I do want to state this is more than endless debating for me. it is a sensitive area based on a story I have probably told too many times on CAF and won't repeat, but it's a really sensitive area however I've been using my experience with CAF to get the courage to visit the two churches closest to me. One of them said that I should go to the one that was closer unless I had an objection (which I didn't) - I had mainly just wanted to see what they both were like. I didn't talk to the priest at the one church b/c based on a brief conversation with someone, she referred me to the closer parish.

so this does intend to lead somewhere constructive, although I don't know if it seems like it ;)


#15

[quote="happymommy, post:3, topic:244226"]
Do you really think that if the Church changed it's stance on ABC and allowed condoms to be used, rapists would wear them? I don't. I think rapists are sick people who don't care about the person they are raping. Why on earth would they take that step to protect them? They wouldn't.

[/quote]

The question really has nothing to do with whether or not a rapist would actually wear a condom if asked, and everything to do with whether said condom use is still a sin. According to the CC (regardless of what the Pope has said as his own personal belief) condom usage is "intrinsically evil", as in, it can never, ever be justified. Not even if an AIDS-infected man is raping a 5-year-old girl. I find this to be unbelievable, and it makes the entire teaching questionable in my opinion.

The Church is supposed to speak for Jesus Christ Himself. So what this teaching is essentially saying is that Jesus Christ would stand here and tell the little girl, "I'm sorry you're going to get AIDS and die because of this man's actions, but condom use can simply not be justified. I hope you understand."


#16

[quote="LaSainte, post:15, topic:244226"]
The question really has nothing to do with whether or not a rapist would actually wear a condom if asked, and everything to do with whether said condom use is still a sin. According to the CC (regardless of what the Pope has said as his own personal belief) condom usage is "intrinsically evil", as in, it can never, ever be justified. Not even if an AIDS-infected man is raping a 5-year-old girl. I find this to be unbelievable, and it makes the entire teaching questionable in my opinion.

[/quote]

Exactly. It's not that anyone thinks you could actually GET a rapist to use a condom in real life - but does it exacerbate his guilt if he does? Is it really not better for rapists to use condoms than to rape unprotected? Not that it makes the act of the rape itself any less heinous and appalling or sinful (which of course, we all can agree, it is) - but is the usage of a condom an additional sin in this horrid scenario?


#17

[quote="MaryAnne77, post:16, topic:244226"]
Exactly. It's not that anyone thinks you could actually GET a rapist to use a condom in real life - but does it exacerbate his guilt if he does? Is it really not better for rapists to use condoms than to rape unprotected? Not that it makes the act of the rape itself any less heinous and appalling or sinful (which of course, we all can agree, it is) - but is the usage of a condom an additional sin in this horrid scenario?

[/quote]

Yes. And I would add to that the question of whether or not the victim is sinning if she were actually able to convince him to wear a condom? I know of course that her guilt would be mitigated by the horrible circumstance, but that does not change whether or not it is objectively grave matter on her part to have convinced this man to wear a condom. It would still be a sin according to the Church, correct?


#18

[quote="LaSainte, post:17, topic:244226"]
Yes. And I would add to that the question of whether or not the victim is sinning if she were actually able to convince him to wear a condom? I know of course that her guilt would be mitigated by the horrible circumstance, but that does not change whether or not it is objectively grave matter on her part to have convinced this man to wear a condom. It would still be a sin according to the Church, correct?

[/quote]

Right. What about the woman who is forced to have intercourse with her abusive husband - when he won't take "no" for an answer? Is it wrong of her to request a condom? Rape can happen between spouses, too.


#19

[quote="LaSainte, post:17, topic:244226"]
Yes. And I would add to that the question of whether or not the victim is sinning if she were actually able to convince him to wear a condom? I know of course that her guilt would be mitigated by the horrible circumstance, but that does not change whether or not it is objectively grave matter on her part to have convinced this man to wear a condom. It would still be a sin according to the Church, correct?

[/quote]

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:
If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful.... Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's.[65]

2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another's life. Preserving the common good requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm. To this end, those holding legitimate authority have the right to repel by armed force aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their charge.[66]

You don't even have to kill a potential rapist. A good shot of pepper spray in the eyes will ward off any aggressor.

The extremely hypothetical question of trying to get a rapist to use a condom is being used here as a means of wriggling out of accepting the fact that the Church guides us into all truth and goodness.

There are better solutions to AIDS, poverty, rape and all other evils than to add to the problem by legitimizing the use of ABC.


#20

If I was to be honest with myself, I think that if I lived in a war-torn country I would try to avoid intercourse with my spouse as often as possible. I just wouldn't want to take the chance of getting pregnant and putting my baby and myself in grave danger should I not be able to find proper medical care or just not be able to run away fast enough.

That's not to say, though, that if we did get pregnant I'd not be happy to have my child and feel blessed. My mother was born during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. Her two-year-old brother died of pneumonia because they were hiding out in the mountains and were not able to get him to a doctor. She never met him because he died before she was born. (She's one of 10 children) There were problems as well for my mother during the birth and afterwards due to no medical care available, but fortunately other women helped to breast feed her as well as give her coconut milk to survive. So, I'm very thankful that my grandparents didn't practice complete abstinence during the war.

In regards to a hypothetical rapist, I think most rapists would be too evil and self-absorbed to think about using a condom, although I remember a news story where a woman who was raped was able to get her rapist to wear a condom. I think this was back in the 90s.


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