My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

This content uses referral links. That means if you make a purchase or click a link, I may make a small commission - just enough to support my diet coke habit. And there is no extra charge to you. It's
 a win/win! Read our disclosure policy

The church's teaching on Artificial birth control

This is from a dialogue I got into with a "Progressive" member of St. Blog's over on his blog. I'm bringing it here. Again my responses in purple.

J: You know what the hardest part for me is in understanding the Church's teaching on contraception?

Not surprising. It is a difficult teaching for people to accept in this societ. Part of that is widespread poor catechesis and part of it is the hedonistic culture in which we live.

J: It's not the idea that sexuality is intended for procreation.

This may surprise most people, but it makes no sense why natural family planning is permitted. The proponents of natural family planning claim it's just effective or more so as the pill. So how does it express an openness to procreation?

It expresses an obedience and a willingness to follow God’s plan and how that is spelled out in our very human bodies.

J:It seems to me that drugs are made from the stuff of nature. The first law of thermodynamics is that matter can neither be created nor destroyed (by humanity, anyway). Birth control pills do not appear through magic. They are manufactured from natural materials found in creation.

Well that's certainly a different approach than the one below. Using that logic, then the use of the “morning after pill and RU487” also manufactured from natural materials found in creation are natural– that doesn’t make them morally licit!!

J: So, if it's morally permissible to desire to have sex without wanting to have children, we might as well use the natural means that suit us best.

It is morally licit to limit family size or postpone pregnancy for serious or grave reasons and we have to make sure that our motives fall into those categories. But in looking at the obvious problem with your statement, there is nothing "natural" about causing an artificial sterility. IN nature if a woman of childbearing age isn’t ovulating that’s considered a pathology! There is nothing “natural” about intentionally causing a normally functioning system to work in a pathological manner.

J: Isn't that why we go to doctors when we're sick? How is taking "the pill" to prevent pregnancy different than taking an aspirin daily to prevent heart attacks or cure headaches (assuming we're not talking about abortificients)?

This in my opinion, is one of the most offensive arguments of the contraceptive mentality- Fertility is NOT A PATHOLOGY that needs to be “fixed” by the doctor.

J: On the other hand, maybe children aren't supposed to be perceived as a disease to be prevented by pills or removed by surgery?

Exactly! Although you just did.

J:But if this is the case, natural family planning is a sin by its intent, because it still sees children as a problem to be avoided.

That is not the teaching of the Catholic Church however. Children can be licitly spaced for grave and serious reasons.

J:The real issue is this: are there legitimate reasons to express the unitive dimension of married sexuality without the intent of children?

Yes, the church teaches that there are, but it also teaches that you may not deliberately separate the two i.e. enjoying one while thwarting the other. This is why NFP is licit because when the intention is to avoid pregnancy, the act does not occur.

If there are legitimate reasons for this, it doesn't matter what natural means you use, though I suppose natural family planning may be medically safer than using "the pill" or "the patch".

Well duh… no woman has ever died of a massive blood clot or stroke caused by NFP!! Those are considerations with hormonal contraceptives.

Even Humanae Vitae seems to indicate there are legitimate reasons to have sexual relations within the context of marriage without desiring children in the manner of my wife and I. I have trouble understanding the Church's teaching because if it's legitimate to have such relations while simultaneously not wanting children, it should be legitimate to use the means God gave us to prevent conception! God gave us the means of preventing conception through patches and pills!

using this logic again, God gave us the means of ending pregnancy too, but that doesn't make it licit to do so.

J:Some conservatives appeal to Scripture to demonstrate that "artificial contraception" is not permitted. This is done by appeal to the "sin of Onan" found in Genesis 38:8-10. The passage states that Judah's son Er had married Tamar. But Er offended the Lord and died. So, Judah told his next son Onan to "fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law".

This has been soundly refuted on Dave Armstrong’s blog.

Please feel free to leave a comment under the posting, or sign my Spiritbook (guestbook) and chat on the tag board at the bottom of the page.