Doctrine or Discipline?


#1

Is the Churches teaching on human sexuality a doctrine or a discipline? For example

  1. NFP is this a doctrine or a discipline?
  2. Contraception…
  3. Premarital sex…

And by definition of doctrine, does this mean that there was an infallible statement made?


#2

[quote=John Paul III]Is the Churches teaching on human sexuality a doctrine or a discipline? For example

  1. NFP is this a doctrine or a discipline?
  2. Contraception…
  3. Premarital sex…

And by definition of doctrine, does this mean that there was an infallible statement made?
[/quote]

1: Discipline (if even that)
2 & 3 I believe they are Doctrine (especially 2) but I am not 100% sure.

PF


#3

[quote=John Paul III]1) NFP is this a doctrine or a discipline?
[/quote]

It is neither. NFP is a method of acheiving or postponing conception which is not incompatible with Church doctrine.

  1. Contraception…
  2. Premarital sex…

The Church’s teaching on both of these points is doctrine.

And by definition of doctrine, does this mean that there was an infallible statement made?

No. Most Church doctrine does not have an infallible statement associated with it (some theologians use the term “dogma” to describe doctrine which has been infallably proclaimed). But anything which is taught by the Ordinary and Universal Magesterium is doctrine (and must be accepted by the Faithful), regardless of whether there’s a piece of paper somewhere with it written down and signed by a bunch of Bishops.


#4

I’ve been sponsoring for the first time in RCIA locally and was never so aware of cafeteria catholicism as I am now. But these folks, many of them anyway, truly don’t know what the church teaches or what is doctrine and what must be followed. And now I’m confused.

The deacon who is leading the RCIA and my small group leader as well as all the other sponsors (baby boomers all) insist that contraception is a matter of personal conscience. Am I right in insisting in return that it is an act of disobedience? They use Evangelium Vitae and the fact that it does not use the infallible formula to then say it can be changed and therefore does not have to be adhered to. When we asked our priest for clarification he gave a 15 minute answer that left me thinking he agreed with me and everyone else believing he agreed with them. :confused:

Is there an official source somewhere that I can refer everyone to? Besides the fact that I grew up without the proper chatechesis and still believed we must obey this teaching, that is.

(No wonder thier kids aren’t catholic. If the parents teach that you can toss doctrines and ignore magisterial authority at will… Isn’t that what protestantism is about?)

Our catechumins are confused. They come to us for answers and all they’ve recieved are excuses, after every discussion they just sit quietly looking puzzled, and I feel lonely. Should I keep pressing this issue with them or disagree in silence since even the slightest and most passive mention of obedience to any moral doctrine earns some pretty nasty stares? Am I, infact, correct about obedience being necessary?

I am so confused.


#5

Reedtome, read this. Also, from the Catechism, read this:
2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.158 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil:159

Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.160 

and also this:
2399 The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).
And here is a link to where I got those from, online. It’s a great resource to have. The catechism is your best official resource available, and I would hope that you would already have one at your RCIA class (sorry if you already do!). If not, you really should go out and buy one from a bookstore somewhere and bring it along.

As for whether or not contraception is an infallible teaching or not, well the first article that I’ve linked to (which is from the Catholic Answers library) states that:
There is no way to deny the fact that the Church has always and everywhere condemned artificial contraception. The matter has already been infallibly decided. The so-called “individual conscience” argument amounts to "individual disobedience."
While the Catechism itself is not an infallible document, it is probably the closest thing to it, and you can take anything and everything in there as being 99% infallible (if not more). Contraception is an infallibly defined teaching.

Now if your students have a hard time with this (and at first, it is a hard teaching), I would remind them that as a doctrine, this teaching comes from God and not from man. As such, God knows better than we do what is good for us and what will make us happy, as he made us! Contraception is an example (along with fornication and adultery) of doctrine that will actually make us happier by following it! Well, most likely, anyway. As the Vademecum for Confessors 2:4, Feb. 12, 1997 states (and I have stolen this reference from the CA library page that I linked to above): it [contraception] harms true love. It harms true love. For me, the second most important thing in my life is true love, as I would guess it is for many of your students too.

I hope you understand what I’m saying here! I don’t think I’ve done the best job in explaining…


#6

[quote=reedtome]I’ve been sponsoring for the first time in RCIA locally and was never so aware of cafeteria catholicism as I am now. But these folks, many of them anyway, truly don’t know what the church teaches or what is doctrine and what must be followed. And now I’m confused.

The deacon who is leading the RCIA and my small group leader as well as all the other sponsors (baby boomers all) insist that contraception is a matter of personal conscience. Am I right in insisting in return that it is an act of disobedience? They use Evangelium Vitae and the fact that it does not use the infallible formula to then say it can be changed and therefore does not have to be adhered to. When we asked our priest for clarification he gave a 15 minute answer that left me thinking he agreed with me and everyone else believing he agreed with them. :confused:

Is there an official source somewhere that I can refer everyone to? Besides the fact that I grew up without the proper chatechesis and still believed we must obey this teaching, that is.

(No wonder thier kids aren’t catholic. If the parents teach that you can toss doctrines and ignore magisterial authority at will… Isn’t that what protestantism is about?)

Our catechumins are confused. They come to us for answers and all they’ve recieved are excuses, after every discussion they just sit quietly looking puzzled, and I feel lonely. Should I keep pressing this issue with them or disagree in silence since even the slightest and most passive mention of obedience to any moral doctrine earns some pretty nasty stares? Am I, infact, correct about obedience being necessary?

I am so confused.
[/quote]

Humanae Vitae is the Church teaching you’d want to use.

Also, CA has tracts on this issue catholic.com/library/morality_ethics.asp


#7

Thanks, but unfortunately these people have read the catechism, they just don’t agree with it, I guess. And are so vehemently opposed to it that they won’t give anyone a chance to teach the “why” of it to our catechumens.

But if this issue is so clear-cut how can so many people believe that it’s negotiable?

(I have no problems with it myself, I’ve listened to Christopher West’s take on JPII’s Theology of the Body" and I loved it, but I’ve always been against ABC even before I knew it was church teaching…after all I am the fifth of six siblings: if my mom hadn’t been so obedient I wouldn’t exist. :eek: )


#8

God bless you, keep you and protect you!
Stay firm and strong in your defense of the faith. You are most needed. I’m sure you’ll find good resources from the posters here to help you, and I’ll certainly keep you and the catechumens in my prayers.


#9

Reed I think maybe you should try to get in touch with your bishop, and explain what is happening to him. It is unacceptable that a teacher at an RCIA class would not agree with the Catechism!! And even more especially so if they won’t let you teach the “why” of the matter. I think you need a new teacher…

Now, you said:

But if this issue is so clear-cut how can so many people believe that it’s negotiable?

This is addressed in that article I linked to at the CA library, at the end under the sub-title “Wishful Thinking”:
Ignoring the mountain of evidence, some maintain that the Church considers the use of contraception a matter for each married couple to decide according to their “individual conscience.” Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. The Church has always maintained the historic Christian teaching that deliberate acts of contraception are always gravely sinful, which means that it is mortally sinful if done with full knowledge and deliberate consent (CCC 1857). This teaching cannot be changed and has been taught by the Church infallibly.

There is no way to deny the fact that the Church has always and everywhere condemned artificial contraception. The matter has already been infallibly decided. The so-called “individual conscience” argument amounts to “individual disobedience.”


#10

[quote=reedtome]Thanks, but unfortunately these people have read the catechism, they just don’t agree with it, I guess. And are so vehemently opposed to it that they won’t give anyone a chance to teach the “why” of it to our catechumens.

But if this issue is so clear-cut how can so many people believe that it’s negotiable?
[/quote]

The problem isn’t so much that they disagree with it, as much as they do not accept the concept behind infallibility with regard to the magesterium. That’s the greater argument which needs to be addressed. Once one gets that, the rest falls into place.

Somewhere, somehow (and I say this from personal experience because I clearly remember it being the teaching which guided me for years yet can’t recall for my life where I got the teaching) these people were taught ‘officially’ (I went through 13 years of Catholic school - 1-9 and university, with the 1-9 taught mostly by nuns) that Catholics are obliged to make their life decisions from properly formed consciences.

Well, that’s true,** but** these teachers forgot to tell us about the part about how one goes about forming that conscience (or we weren’t paying attention to that part when it was taught at a specific point but not reinforced in later years) so they grow up believing they have the right to rely on all the information floating about and then make a choice - without even looking into what the Church writes or says on the subject!

Please resist any temptation to be harsh on them or their teachers. No point to that. Just be glad God brought them to you so that they can learn the Truth and you can grow in your faith through the exercise of having to deal with their misconceptions. Keep praying for their minds to be opened to God’s Truth and for patience and charity for you as you try to help them.

I’m only now beginning to understand why I’m the last practicing magesterium loyal Catholic in my family after hearing my mother say the other night about my now-baptist brother, “He has a wonderful relationship with Jesus and is raising his children to love and honor God. It doesn’t matter that he isn’t teaching them about the sacraments. Every religion claims to be the right way to honor God, we don’t have the right to impose ours on everyone else. You sound just like the evangelicals.” :eek: I could only laugh to myself in utter disbelief!! Up until that moment I had credited her devotion to Catholicism for my own steadfastness and now…geez. :whacky:


#11

ATREYU, God help me I hope it won’t come to that! :eek: But I will keep it in mind as a last resort.

[quote=YinYangMom]The problem isn’t so much that they disagree with it, as much as they do not accept the concept behind infallibility with regard to the magesterium. That’s the greater argument which needs to be addressed. Once one gets that, the rest falls into place.

Somewhere, somehow (and I say this from personal experience because I clearly remember it being the teaching which guided me for years yet can’t recall for my life where I got the teaching) these people were taught ‘officially’ (I went through 13 years of Catholic school - 1-9 and university, with the 1-9 taught mostly by nuns) that Catholics are obliged to make their life decisions from properly formed consciences.

Well, that’s true,** but** these teachers forgot to tell us about the part about how one goes about forming that conscience (or we weren’t paying attention to that part when it was taught at a specific point but not reinforced in later years) so they grow up believing they have the right to rely on all the information floating about and then make a choice - without even looking into what the Church writes or says on the subject!

Please resist any temptation to be harsh on them or their teachers. No point to that. Just be glad God brought them to you so that they can learn the Truth and you can grow in your faith through the exercise of having to deal with their misconceptions. Keep praying for their minds to be opened to God’s Truth and for patience and charity for you as you try to help them.

I’m only now beginning to understand why I’m the last practicing magesterium loyal Catholic in my family after hearing my mother say the other night about my now-baptist brother, “He has a wonderful relationship with Jesus and is raising his children to love and honor God. It doesn’t matter that he isn’t teaching them about the sacraments. Every religion claims to be the right way to honor God, we don’t have the right to impose ours on everyone else. You sound just like the evangelicals.” :eek: I could only laugh to myself in utter disbelief!! Up until that moment I had credited her devotion to Catholicism for my own steadfastness and now…geez. :whacky:
[/quote]

YinYang, that’s EXACTLY it. They don’t understand infallibity and they don’t want to because then they would have to change their lives. Don’t misunderstand, these are really terrific people, and they are all involved in a great deal of charity work. Plus, they are my elders and I feel wierd correcting them, especially with the stricter point of view. But a few are genuinely interesting in learning, though, and this is very encouraging.

Your mom, deep down, is just trying to make herself feel better. And I the same as far as crediting my mom’s faithful obedience for my return. But as I discuss my situations with her, I’m learning that her obedience was subject to a great deal of resentment for having to do so. I think the older generations had it much easier because they knew WHAT they were supposed to do, we (gen X’ers) have to figure it out for ourselves, but we’re rewarded with the joy of OBEDIENCE THROUGH LOVE. That’s what I’d like to empart to them.

Thank you for such gentle support and prayers.


#12

[quote=reedtome]YinYang, that’s EXACTLY it. They don’t understand infallibity and they don’t want to because then they would have to change their lives. **Don’t misunderstand, these are really terrific people, and they are all involved in a great deal of charity work. **Plus, they are my elders and I feel wierd correcting them, especially with the stricter point of view. But a few are genuinely interesting in learning, though, and this is very encouraging.
[/quote]

Yeah, I was one of them. Thank the Lord and JPII for this forum which woke me up from my sleepwalking!

Your mom, deep down, is just trying to make herself feel better.

I think she’s just tired and not willing to ruffle feathers. She really wants the four of us (her children) to maintain ties and open communication for when she and my dad are no longer with us. But on one hand she’ll lament about how little she sees of my brother and his family because they are fundamentalists and they want to minimize contact with us Catholics, yet when I speak about my approaching him about his obligation as a Catholic she tells me not to say a word.

Well, the Holy Spirit overruled this year because I received a clear message to reach out to him and I did, through his Christmas present. I sent a copy of my letter to my mom for her comments and she was very uncomfortable with what I was asking of him. I told her it was not me speaking, but the Holy Spirit and I did what He asked of me (it was very charitably and lovingly worded). That’s when she said I sounded just like the evangelicals. We changed the subject after that, but I sure do feel stronger for being able to serve in the capacity asked of me. Of course, I now add my mother’s spiritual growth and courage in my devotional prayers because I could really use her help if my brother opts to speak with her about my letter instead of me.

I think the older generations had it much easier because they knew WHAT they were supposed to do, we (gen X’ers) have to figure it out for ourselves, but we’re rewarded with the joy of OBEDIENCE THROUGH LOVE. That’s what I’d like to empart to them.

I think you’re right about that. They were Baltimore catechised and they did what they were supposed to do without questioning the why, including sending us to Catholic schools and making sure we had the sacraments, but I clearly recall once we were confirmed, they no longer fostered continuing devotion/education. We were on our own and I believe they believed that was the end of their obligation.

It’s been a harder journey for us having to figure out the why behind the what, but I agree the rewards are so much sweeter. It just feels better to offer myself out of love than obedience only.

I thank the Lord every day for JPII, he woke all of us up during his papacy and managed to re-energize us enough to go out and spread the Good News again. It’s an exciting time and the evidence of that is all the anti-Catholic media stuff being generated.


#13

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