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Thursday, October 23, 2014

The apocalypse - not

Given the recent synod with its attending NFP married couples and any lack of progress on the subject of contraception, plus given Pope Francis' move to make Paul VI a saint, there's been increased discussion online about Humanae Vitae. Today I saw an article by Peter Knott SJ on Paul VI and human sexuality. Here's a bit of it ...

[...] Humanae Vitae offered a vision of human sexuality as responsive to the will of God and faithful to the insight that the profound intimacy of sexual intercourse required a covenant of persons and an openness to the life that is made possible by the intercourse of man and woman. It warned of the risks of ignoring this vision: sex and women becoming a commodity, fragmentation of the spousal relationship and the distancing of parents from offspring.

Could it be that, unmoored from the will of God, spousal love and the reality and symbolism of reproduction, sex is reduced to a matter of unfettered liberty in fulfilling desire or the traffic of entertainment and commerce?

Those who think that God and ethics have nothing to do with the bedroom or reproduction have some hard questions to face. Are there no moral constraints at all on sexual or reproductive freedom? Is nothing morally required of us in matters of this significant part of human experience? Is one's ‘heart's desire’ the final answer for all our decisions?

One wonders what might be the source of the repression of compunction in priests who abused children, of parents or relatives who violated their own, of teachers who seduced their students. Such horrors have taken place for ages. But have they been done with such absence of guilt?

And what of sex itself? Do the large profits in pornography, the mounting rates of sexually transmitted diseases, the images of pop music videos or the edgy offerings of the television and fashion industries offer any vision of sex that is even remotely connected to love, commitment, or children? ......

The article raises some questions for me ...

1) Is it assumed that people who don't believe in God cannot have ethical and responsible sex lives?

2) What's the basis for the belief that it's God's will that married couples must procreate without restriction?

3) What's the basis for the belief that a lack of "an openness to the life" is in any way connected to "women becoming a commodity ... fragmentation of the spousal relationship ... the distancing of parents from offspring ... abused children ... pornography ... the mounting rates of sexually transmitted diseases"?

Hey, it's contraception use, not the apocalypse! It's this kind of reaction that makes it seem pointless to even discuss this subject, much less to try to explain why contraception use is actually considered by most people (including almost everyone at Vatican II) to be ethical, responsible, and just. Still, I'll try anyway with these two short videos by Melinda Gates (a Catholic, btw, and discusses Catholicism and birth control in the first video) ....


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