A few additional points from what the Church teaches about hypnosis along with analgesia during childbirth
From Pope Pius XII’s 1957 Allocution to Doctors on the Moral Problems of Analgesia:
Question 1: ON THE GENERAL MORAL OBLIGATION TO SUPPORT PHYSICAL PAINS
Thus youasked initially, if there is a general moral obligation to support physical pain. To answer with more exactitude to your question, We will distinguish several aspects there. Firstly, it is obvious that in certain cases, the acceptance of the physical pains is a serious obligation. Thus, every time that one is put before the inescapable alternative to bear suffering or to transgress a moral duty by action or omission, he is bound in conscience to accept suffering. The “martyrs” could not avoid tortures or death, without disavowing their faith or escaping the serious obligation to confess it in a given time. But it is not necessary to come to the “martyrs”; We find presently splendid examples of Christians who support pains and physical violence, during weeks, months and years, in order to remain faithful to God and to their conscience.
1. FREE ACCEPTANCE AND THE RESEARCH OF PAIN**
*Your question however does not refer to this situation; it rather refers to the free acceptance and the search for pain because of its meaning and own finality. To immediately quote a concrete example, let us remember the allocution, which We pronounced on January 8, 1956 in connection with the new methods of painless childbirth. It was asked then if, under the terms of the text of the Scriptures: “You shall give birth in pain” (Gen. III, 16), the mother was obliged to accept all the sufferings and to refuse analgesia by artificial or natural means. We have answered that there was no obligation of this kind. Man keeps, even after the fall, his right to dominate the forces of nature, to use them in his service, and thus to make profitable all the resources that it offers him to avoid or remove the physical pain. But We have added that, for a Christian, this does not constitute a purely negative fact, that it is associated on the contrary with religious values and high morals, and can thus be wanted and sought, even if there exists for that no moral obligation in such or such particular case. And We continued: "The life and the sufferings of the Lord, the pains that so many great men supported and even sought, thanks to which they matured and grew up to the heights of Christian heroism, the daily examples of resigned acceptance of the cross, which We have under Our eyes, all that reveals the significance of suffering, the patient acceptance of pain in the actual economy of salvation, during the time of this terrestrial life. *
****3. HYPNOSIS **** *But consciousness can also be affected by artificial means. That one may obtain this result by the application of narcotics or by hypnosis (which one can call a psychic analgesic) that does not make any essential difference in the moral point of view. Hypnosis however, even considered only in itself, is subject to certain rules. may We be allowed on this matter to recall Our short allusion to the medical use of hypnosis which We made at the beginning of the allocution of January 8, 1956 on painless natural childbirth. *
Now I’m still looking for a direct quote from the allocution from January 8 that the late pope refers to… I can find many paraphrases but haven’t yet found an exact copy of his remarks.
Peace in Christ,