Primacy Of the Catholic ConscienceBirth Control in the Catholic Church

kevin
Member
December 06, 2002, 01:43 AM
Primacy Of the Catholic Conscience
Father Hardon S.J. after spending a number of pages affirming the church^s position on contraception & the tradition on it in a 1975 catechism ended his writings on the topic with this statement affirming another tradition for those who would have problems of consciene in the area of ABC "There is some value,however, in recalling a parallel tradition in which the church respects the voice of conscience in each person & bids him to respond to it in christian fidelity.This means that to have one^s conscience as guide is not only a good thing, IT IS OUR DUTY. Anyone who acts contrary to one^s conscience is no longer on the right path " The teaching of the primacy of the adequately informed conscience has been at the centre of the church^s teaching on morality for centuries.There is no doubt that the council^s teaching on conscience reaffirms this & the Aquinas position on the primacy of conscience.Aquinas one of the greatest catholic theologians of all time placed a dictate of conscience above any directive given by a human authority even a ecclesiastical one.He taught man recieve^s thru the medium of conscience God^s directive. In this context of the informed upright conscience another great catholic figure of the 1800s, perhaps the greatest of that century could be quoted----Cardinal Neuman to the Duke of Norfolf "I drink to the Pope-But to Conscience first". What about the remarks this may open up a padora^s box.Not so with the upright adequately informed conscience,Remember that if you have a impoverished view of God,morality can become too legalistic, such a view of morality in turn can cause a impoverished image of GOd. Your view of God must be one of a positive nature.Holy Mother church tries to be the over protecting parent when it comes to moral decision making.She tries to say "look before you decide on this moral choice,be sure on what your decision is,take one last & hard look at what were trying to say for your own good " But the church does in the end respect the dignity & autonomy of the learner. To conclude Pope John Paul ii in his message for world peace on Jan 1 1999 said "People are obliged to follow their conscience in all circumstances & cannot be forced to act against it "
Susan
Member
December 06, 2002, 06:39 AM
quote:

"People are obliged to follow their conscience in all circumstances & cannot be forced to act against it
quote:



Hi kevin,

Good points! However, there are many who would say that this leads to a sort of moral relativism.

The areas that seem to be most problematic are those dealing with the issues of sex, in one way or another. It seems to be okay to disagree about capital punishment but not about abortion...okay to disagree about the need for pacifism but not okay to disagree about birth control...and so on. So, it seems to indicate that it's okay to selectively use your conscience.

The second chakra issues of sexuality seem to be a very sore spot with the Church. They seem to need a great deal of reworking in the light
of present day knowledge. Sperm are no longer seen as little people. More facts about conception are known. There is a great need for integration of this knowledge with Church teachings....and that takes time. Listening to our consciences is a lot faster. That's why so many people on the cutting edges are initially spurned by their respective establishments.

Susan
kevin
December 06, 2002, 09:46 AM
- post moved by Editor from another thread -
The Obligation to seek truth is indispensable in the formation of conscience.It is a serious task.Respect for legitimate authority,experiences,prayer,the advice & help of competent people,the Gospels all contribute to formation of conscience.We try to apply the commandments. Unfortunately everyone stands to attention when it comes to what the vatican says about sexual issues but when it comes to other issues like the social doctrines of the church or the church^s teaching on social justice it seems that nobody cares much.Some shreik back & say "that smells of socialism" What can I do to better the life of my brother or sister in simple word deed or prayer in my daily living is a challenge to us all.Sexual issues however important aren^t as important than this. Regards
Paul VI
Member
December 06, 2002, 12:20 PM
The question is not the supremecy of conscience but what conscience should be conformted TO. A piece of celery? confused No, one's conscience should be conformed to the teachings of the Church. When this is the case everything falls into place. Simple, simple, simple (but not easy!)

P
Editor
Member
December 06, 2002, 01:33 PM
Conformed-to, or informed-by?
Paul VI
Member
December 06, 2002, 02:10 PM
Don't guess it really matters, conformed to a piece of celery or informed by a piece of celery. Good Point!!!

P
momof3
Member
December 06, 2002, 03:07 PM
conscience
Dear Kevin,
Well said. I have been very guilty at times of having NFP be the center of my life instead of God. Even now trying to sort out this issue for me and find my place in the Church at times has been the center of my life instead of Jesus Christ. I'm hoping that I can rise above all of the hostility in my heart that has grown from encounters with NFP only individuals whom I have tried to have dialogue with and (unwisely) tried to help them understand my experience.

Interesting though is the fact that many individuals who advocate for "NFP only" judge whether you are Catholic or not on this one issue. It is the defining issue. Many of them have the same MO. Like you mentioned there are a zillion other things that are important in our spirituality and living out the gospel.

It reminds me of something a Catholic woman said once. She was sharing how a priest in her area was arrested for possessing child pornography. she stated, "It's too bad, he's the only one that preached about the Church's teaching on birth control at the pulpit." What? Your 1st reaction should be downright outrage. Well, he got her vote for defending NFP never mind the children's lives he exploited.

A well formed conscience is not one that is robotic and doesn't think, consider circumstances, intent, consequence etc when applying a Church teaching. Is your conscience really formed at all when you just read the Catechism and swallow it whole?

The notion of having an impoverished view of God is right on the money. Are you a Contemplative?
I mean to you regularly participate in contemplative prayer? Just curious.

momof3

momof3
Editor
Member
December 06, 2002, 04:37 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Paul VI:
Don't guess it really matters, conformed to a piece of celery or informed by a piece of celery. Good Point!!!

P


You think the Church's teaching is as worthless as a piece of celery? (ha, back atcha! big grin)

Seriously now, are you saying that the duties of Catholics in conscience toward the Church's moral teaching is agreement/conformity with it? Why even bother with conscience? Why not simply say just DO what the Church teaches and skip the whole conscience thing?
James
Member
December 07, 2002, 04:38 PM
Conformity
What it appears P6 ignores, is the fact that one's conscience can be completely conformed to the teaching body of the Church, and in special circumstances still use ABC. That is the catch 22 that the extremist conservatives fail to recognize, almost purposefully it seems. There are many situations one might find themselves in that would be allowed through the principle of double-effect. Female medical treatments are often administered through the contraceptive pill or other hormonal contraceptives, if there is a medical reason that a couple must use a condom (avoidance of spreading an infection perhaps), just to name a few. These are all legitimate reasons couples may find they need to use ABC. Furthermore they are neither committing a venial nor mortal sin in either case and are completely in line with Church tradition. The time has come that we start recognizing as a Church that a couple may need to limit family size, but in good conscience may not be able to use NFP. Priests that advise couples to then abstain indefinitely will have God to answer to in the end. This is not a moral practice in Christian marriage as Paul tells us. Regards-
Paul VI
Member
December 08, 2002, 12:02 PM
James a couple of points, one of your examples of double effect is quite accurate, but, it is better explained as, some women have to take medications that ALSO act as contractptives (Contraception NOT being the DESIRED effect.)

Also, a correction. You should address those who follow the teachings of the Church as Catholics.

P
James
Member
December 10, 2002, 09:45 PM
P6,
So are you implying I should not call you a Catholic? Ok, great, making a note of it. Extremist Conservative it is! Sorry if I insulted you by implying you might be Catholic. wink
Paul VI
Member
December 11, 2002, 09:56 AM
Sticks and stones........

P
awfltdoc
Member
December 15, 2002, 05:03 PM
quote:
Originally posted by momof3:
Dear Kevin,
Well said. I have been very guilty at times of having NFP be the center of my life instead of God. Even now trying to sort out this issue for me and find my place in the Church at times has been the center of my life instead of Jesus Christ. I'm hoping that I can rise above all of the hostility in my heart that has grown from encounters with NFP only individuals whom I have tried to have dialogue with and (unwisely) tried to help them understand my experience.

Interesting though is the fact that many individuals who advocate for "NFP only" judge whether you are Catholic or not on this one issue. It is the defining issue. Many of them have the same MO. Like you mentioned there are a zillion other things that are important in our spirituality and living out the gospel.

It reminds me of something a Catholic woman said once. She was sharing how a priest in her area was arrested for possessing child pornography. she stated, "It's too bad, he's the only one that preached about the Church's teaching on birth control at the pulpit." What? Your 1st reaction should be downright outrage. Well, he got her vote for defending NFP never mind the children's lives he exploited.

A well formed conscience is not one that is robotic and doesn't think, consider circumstances, intent, consequence etc when applying a Church teaching. Is your conscience really formed at all when you just read the Catechism and swallow it whole?

The notion of having an impoverished view of God is right on the money. Are you a Contemplative?
I mean to you regularly participate in contemplative prayer? Just curious.

momof3

momof3


It sounds to me momof3 that you have had a great amount of suffering from this important issue. For the record please don't misconstrue my post in other threads as not being compassionate to your situation. My wife and I have five kids now, and we too deal with this. But how much do you know about redemptive suffering. Many on this board, I believe, focus in on the issue of ABC instead of looking at the big picture. That is to say should we never suffer? Or should we suffer on the Cross with Christ in our daily lives? Yes, it is tough to be Catholic. But the saints acheived paradise through heroic virtue, and yes I belive we all can practive heroic virtue by being faithful to the Churches teachings. The road to heaven is narrow and not well traveled.

Anthony Waldroup, MD
Editor
Member
December 16, 2002, 09:22 AM
Many on this board, I believe, focus in on the issue of ABC instead of looking at the big picture. That is to say should we never suffer? Or should we suffer on the Cross with Christ in our daily lives? Yes, it is tough to be Catholic. But the saints acheived paradise through heroic virtue, and yes I belive we all can practive heroic virtue by being faithful to the Churches teachings. The road to heaven is narrow and not well traveled.

So we should use NFP so we can have more children, suffer more, and thus obtain heaven?

Marvelous! cool

Doc, I haven't heard one person on this board say that they didn't want children. We don't want to have one every 12 months, however, so we recognize the necessity for some birth control method. The only difference between us and active NFP users in this regard is that we're using a different contraceptive method. When we're ready to have another child, we drop the method and, hopefully, conceive. Same as NFP couples.

Quit judging those who use ABC as selfish, prideful, and unwilling to make the sacrifices called for by Christ! It's most unseemly!