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Complementarity of the SexesBirth Control in the Catholic Church

Junior Samples
October 28, 2002, 10:14 AM
Complementarity of the Sexes
JSM, when I wrote this (rather, quoted CDF) ---->Providing a basic plan for understanding this entire discussion of homosexuality is the theology of creation we find in Genesis. God, in his infinite wisdom and love, brings into existence all of reality as a reflection of his goodness. He fashions mankind, male and female, in his own image and likeness. Human beings, therefore, are nothing less than the work of God himself; and in the complementarity of the sexes, they are called to reflect the inner unity of the Creator.<----

I was wondering how you were going to interpret “the complementarity of the sexes”.

When you wrote: Mom gave five criteria for the requirements a sexual act must meet in order to be licit. Only one of them is really part of the intrinsic argument. --- you revealed a very narrow view of what is involved in that complementarity.

Are you suggesting that the Imago Dei and Trinitarian Relationships of the Persons in Our Triune God, after which we are fashioned for our utmost unitive existence, consist merely in terms of gametes and genitalia? If so, then the procreative is the sum and substance of all intrinsically disordered acts. If however, you ever had a relationship with a member of the opposite sex, you could give living testimony to the manifold and multiform Mars and Venus elements that contribute to a full complementarity of cognitive, affective, physical and spiritual aspects of our personhoods. You know, many guys report that, when viewing a beautiful nude woman, they don’t necessarily experience lust but rather an aesthetic awe. Many men and women in limerance, infatuation or what have you don’t report strong physical cravings but rather a whole array of other feelings, almost numinous in quality, a delighting in mere presence. Our love for other can include a jumble of eros, agape, philia and storge. That this love is normally oriented toward the opposite sex has to do with an array of differences and complementarity that transcend the narrow issue of procreation. The finality of the unitive aspect is far better depicted as two old-timer spouses, rocking on their front porch together for hours, never saying a word, but glorying in one another’s presence and a wealth of shared history that grew out of their reflection of God’s image and likeness. And you say that it cannot be, in principle, intrinsically disordered to deprive a relationship of this wide-ranging complementarity?

I can only smile at what the opposite sex has meant to me in my life and the largest portion of this experience of other wasn't driven by genitals or hormones. The Church won't allow women priests because Jesus never called a female apostle? Well Jesus never put his penis in a vagina, so why don't we just put an end to that, too? If you don't get a little more creative in your moral theologizing, that's the kind of absurdity we're going to encounter again and again, you know, like perforated condoms


Editor, I'd give up. Just post these series of responses in the archives so your visitors can see the flawed logic for themselves.

Good grief!
and peace,
Mom
--------------------------------------------------

Editor:

Well, I'm not confused about the difference between homosexual relations and heterosexual relations, that's for sure. And I don't need the "objective structure of the sex act" to help me formulate a moral position which distinguished the one from the other!

FWIW again, I do think there's already a Natural Law interpretation implied in the Church's rejection of homosexual unions. There is also a Biblical tradition that one can appeal to (yes, the Bible: remember that source of ethical guidance?)?

Hence, in CCC #2357 we read, ". . . Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."

Sounds to me like natural law was invoked not only in reference to the lack of a procreative possibility in the sex act, but also in homosexual relations not proceeding "from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity."

So, enough said about that one, as far as I'm concerned. The notion that ABC opens the door to allowing homosexual unions is not only a slippery slope fallacy, as we have both noted, but is just plain wrong. Those who wish to take a stand against homosexual unions have recourse to biblical and natural law arguments based on the recognition that the absence of sexual complementarity is a disorder prior to any consideration of the type of sexual acts used by homosexuals.

FWIW, we should acknowledge that there are fine biblical scholars and ethicists who are re-examining the morality of homosexual relations in the light of information learned during the past few decades from human genetic studies and behavioral sciences. None of that is relevant to the topics addressed on this forum, but I did want to let it be known.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---


re: FWIW, we should acknowledge that there are fine biblical scholars and ethicists who are re-examining the morality of homosexual relations in the light of information learned during the past few decades from human genetic studies and behavioral sciences. None of that is relevant to the topics addressed on this forum, but I did want to let it be known.
+++ +++ +++

Response:

I am very pleased that you mentioned this. I was eventully going to address it but did not want to muddy the waters further.

It would be refreshing to see the discipline of moral theology properly subsumed under the category of Spiritual Theology and to see the aspirational aspect of "how we should live" discussed more often than the mere proscriptive, to see values and fruits of the Spirit and formative spirituality emphasized more than intrinsically disordered physical acts and evils. The morality of homosexual relations is just as deserving of re-examination as is the morality of the death penalty insofar as natural law interpretations heavily depend on good science.
JSM
October 30, 2002, 02:36 PM
Complementarity
Editor,

You did not answer my question, but again are trying to switch criteria between this sexual act and that sexual act. I will address complementarity presently, but let's stay with procreativity for a moment.

I said that, looking at only this criteria of procreativity, the difference between an infertile married couple and a homosexual couple is that the lack of procreativity for the homosexual couple comes out of WHAT THEY DO. It is not THAT the act is unprocreative, it is not HOW OFTEN it is unprocreative, it is WHY it is unprocreative. Therefore, if a sexual act is to be condemned because the couple in question DO SOMETHING to make it infertile, then you must condemn the use of ABC as well as performing a homosexual act. Incidentally, it is possible for a heterosexual couple to perform a "homosexual" act, at least one way (male to female). Based on the fact that anal sex most often happens between homosexuals (or at least I'm willing to bet it does) is why I have been referring to it as such. I believe it is just as wrong for the heterosexual couple to do this act as a homosexual couple, based on the above criteria. So, what I am saying here, is if you do not see how the sexual act is done as having ANY bearing on the morality of it, then you cannot condemn homosexual activity based on how it is done.

Now, to the issue of complentarity. Why do you present ABC use as respectful of complementarity? It is not. It is not narrow to say that what genitalia you have and how it functions is certainly PART OF the complementarity picture. How a man or a woman contributes to a new life is an integral part of their sexual identity (and by sexual identity I mean their whole orientation around maleness or femaleness).

So, if you attack how you contribute to a new life, you are not ONLY attacking your procreativity, but through attacking it, you are attacking in part WHO YOU ARE sexually. You are saying 'It is not good that I function this way," if you use ABC. Abstaining, on the other hand, does nothing to destroy fertility, and thus shows acceptance of the whole sexual identity. There is a difference between choosing to not share part of yourself, and destroying part of yourself so that it won't be shared. I say that because whether or not you choose to share your fertility with your spouse, it stays intact. Nothing happens with your egg that wouldn't normally happen. You are not rejecting that part of your femaleness. Taking a pill destroys that part of your femaleness, so how can it complement?it. Using a condom during the sexual act destroys the delivery by impeding it.

To reject part in this way is, in "language of love" terms, to reject all, because the sexual act requires ALL that you naturally have.

Finally, I think the whole "focus" of this website is a sham. What you really have a beef about, Editor, is the fact that the Church teaches there is such a thing as intrinsic evil - something you don't believe in (or choose to rebel against, I'm not sure which). At least, you need to drop the part about the Church contradicting itself, because the Church's stance reflects an acknowledgement of intrinsic evil. It does contradict YOUR stance, but not it's own.

Regards,
JSM
Editor
Member
October 30, 2002, 03:46 PM
. . . the difference between an infertile married couple and a homosexual couple is that the lack of procreativity for the homosexual couple comes out of WHAT THEY DO. It is not THAT the act is unprocreative, it is not HOW OFTEN it is unprocreative, it is WHY it is unprocreative.

Umm, would that maybe be because they're of the same sex? D'oh!

Therefore, if a sexual act is to be condemned because the couple in question DO SOMETHING to make it infertile, then you must condemn the use of ABC as well as performing a homosexual act.

I'm confused, JSM. Just what exactly do you think a homosexual has to DO to make their sex acts infertile? You've totally lost me.

Now, to the issue of complentarity. Why do you present ABC use as respectful of complementarity?

Because if it's used by a man and a woman, there's sexual complementarity.

It is not. It is not narrow to say that what genitalia you have and how it functions is certainly PART OF the complementarity picture.

Who says it's not too narrow? Well, you, of course!

How a man or a woman contributes to a new life is an integral part of their sexual identity (and by sexual identity I mean their whole orientation around maleness or femaleness).

OK.

So, if you attack how you contribute to a new life, you are not ONLY attacking your procreativity, but through attacking it, you are attacking in part WHO YOU ARE sexually.

But I never attacked how anyone contributes to a new life, so you are using a straw man fallacy all along. If you stop using silly fallacies, maybe we can actually have a conversation.

You are saying 'It is not good that I function this way," if you use ABC.

No, that's what you say. I say, simply, "I do not wish to have a child at this time and am doing something to prevent that from happening." Same language NFP users are using.

Abstaining, on the other hand, does nothing to destroy fertility, and thus shows acceptance of the whole sexual identity.

Hold on again! A condom doesn't *destroy* fertility!! Neither does a diaphragm. It simply prevents the union os sperm and egg. To jump from this simple point to concluding that some kind of denial of one's sexual identity is happening is quite a reach! I just don't see it . . . nor experience it, for that matter.

There is a difference between choosing to not share part of yourself, and destroying part of yourself so that it won't be shared.

There's the loaded language again. I don't buy your terminology and the judgment implied.

I say that because whether or not you choose to share your fertility with your spouse, it stays intact. Nothing happens with your egg that wouldn't normally happen. You are not rejecting that part of your femaleness.

Same is true when you use a condom of diaphragm. But you're coming to that, I know.

Taking a pill destroys that part of your femaleness, so how can it complement?it.

Sooo . . . women taking the pill . . . aren't REALLY women? Not as much a woman as those who don't take a pill? Femininity = hormones?

You know, this is getting silly.

Using a condom during the sexual act destroys the delivery by impeding it.

Yes, but no one's masculinity or feminity are diminished, and fertility remains intact.

Getting sillier by the second!

To reject part in this way is, in "language of love" terms, to reject all, because the sexual act requires ALL that you naturally have.

A man doesn't lose his maleness/masculinity and isn't denying his gift of self to his wife if he uses a condom, and a woman isn't losing her femininity and denying her gift of self to her husband if she uses a diaphragm. To suggest otherwise in the name of some convoluted logical exercise about "language of love" shows how far Church teachers using your logic have drifted from the actual lived experiences of married couples. It doesn't fly, JSM! Sorry!

What you really have a beef about, Editor, is the fact that the Church teaches there is such a thing as intrinsic evil - something you don't believe in (or choose to rebel against, I'm not sure which).

OK, I'm game. This is what you've *really* been wanting to talk about all along, isn't it? You believe that some acts are always evil apart from circumstance and intent. But I'm wondering what, besides ABC, would such an act be? Not killing another person, not stealing, not lying, maybe not even eating junk food. I don't know what you've got on your list besides ABC. Care to give us your list?
JSM
October 31, 2002, 01:13 PM
Eddie,

***Umm, would that maybe be because they're of the same sex? D'oh! ***

Once again you are confusing a state with an action. A homosexual man is fertile. What makes him infertile is HOW HE ENGAGES IN THE SEX ACT. In other words, his choice to have sex with a man MAKES HIM INFERTILE. A woman who chooses to take a pill MAKES HER INFERTILE. Contrastingly, waiting doesn't MAKE YOU INFERTILE. Whether or not a woman waits, she will still be fertile at such a time and infertile at another such a time. She does nothing to change that. She leaves herself as she is and accepts how she is.

Taking a pill is destructive to the cycle as it is, and changes it to something it should not be.
I took great care (though you apparently didn't notice) to say that genitalia and how they function are only PART of one's whole sexuality, though an important part. To mess with it by taking a pill or putting on a condom certainly shows a non-acceptance, even antipathy for, this part of one's sexuality. One is being destructive to this part of one's sexuality (however temporarily) - therefore how can it be effectively shared?

What is really the difference between a man putting his penis into a vagina made hostile to his sperm by spermicides and a man putting his penis into her rectum? And, after all, in either case, isn't there still complementarity because it's happening between a married man and woman? Are all sexual acts done with free will on the part of both parties made licit because they happen between a married man and woman? Does the couple have the right to have sex in a public place because there is complementarity? Anal sex is ok because there is complementarity? That's not really what you want to say, is it, Eddie?

Granted, I don't believe complementarity is honored by such an act as anal sex, because that's not how a man and woman are physically supposed to share, sexually.

Yes, Ed, my BIG point (and yours) is indeed all about intrinsic evil. So, you don't think stealing is always wrong? It is. How much GUILT is assessed to that wrong, only God knows, but it is still wrong. Perhaps the only thing that is important to you is how much guilt is incurred by doing something wrong, but are YOU really qualified to be the arbiter of that? Do you always KNOW how guilty someone is? Are you trying to tell me you are GOD, Eddie? Because there is one thing you are overlooking. Circumstances aren't the only mitigating factor when it comes to guilt. What's in a man's heart is also important. And, I'm sorry, there's nobody, short of GOD, who can see into every man's heart. That is why you can't trash the idea of intrinsic evil on the grounds of circumstance.

Good day, sir,
JSM
Momz
Member
October 31, 2002, 03:10 PM
no one's discarded intrinsic evil
JSM, I cannot see where Eddie/Edie has altogether discarded the notion of intrinsic evil, although, clearly, not quite as many actions make it under the umbrella of his definition as make it under yours.

James wrote on another thread something that might could serve to bring your positions closer together or to, at least, better clarify their real differences. Further, I'd be interested in your reflections on that thread, in general.

From James:

quote:
Although God does not change, nor does absolute morality, the Church's understanding of it continuously grows and develops as we learn more about the infinite Christ. Therefore traditionally speaking NFP and ABC would be understood as pre-morally evil, but our understanding of the unitive and procreative necessities may change and therefore so our understanding of the objective morality of the unitive act over the procreative. Furthermore, there are certainly moral absolutes. Murder and theft are always wrong, until the principle of double-effect is applied in certain special cases, such as a poor man stealing bread to feed his ten children in a moment of desperation and clouded judgement.


Also, someone else made a point that the Church's ABC position was not based on physicalistic reasons, though they may be laregly in agreement with you on other fronts.

Finally, I do continue to observe that the crux of the argument derives from whether or not one uses a methodology that is solely essentialistic, biologistic, physicalistic, deontological, classicist and so forth or instead incorporates existentialistic, personalistic and teleological methodologies, too, using an historical consciousness and relational models.

Your view is thusly impoverished, it appears, and remains overwhelmingly irrelevant to modern men and women because of its very weak appeals to human reason.

You may blame this marginalization on people turning a deaf ear to the Holy Spirit, in the same manner some rationalize the dearth of vocations, but that would violate the injunction you just cited: "Do not judge".

So, I suppose you will blame it on the weakening of people's wills and the pollution of their minds by a prevailing secularism but that would fly in the face of the evidence that has been made on social fronts, consonant with the voices of our Bishops as regarding civil rights, women's rights, the raising of the bar in just war theory, the re-evaluation of the death penalty and scores of other issues where the Ordinary Magisterium does have credibility and a followership, both within and outside the Church.

Why?

Because Fides and Ratio have been combined and our Social Morality teachings have been enhanced by an historical consciousness.

Combine a little more Ratio in your overly fidesitic approach to Sexual Morality and you'll find a place at the table where serious dialogue can take place on human sexual and biomedical ethics.

momZ
Editor
Member
October 31, 2002, 03:15 PM
A homosexual man is fertile. What makes him infertile is HOW HE ENGAGES IN THE SEX ACT. In other words, his choice to have sex with a man MAKES HIM INFERTILE. . .

Nah, that doesn't make HIM infertile. It makes the ACT infertile. Big difference!

But, following your logic, one would be forced to say that a man having sex with his wife during an infertile time of the month is himself infertile--i.e., lacking viable sperm. Nonsense!

And whatever your point here is trying to be about the morality of homosexual sex acts, it's the weakest of condemnations for it. If such acts are condemned primarily because they are structurally and actually infertile, then one must condemn sex during the infertile period of the month for the same reasons. Either you see this or you don't. I'm tired of trying to reason with you about it.

Your entire exercise is based on a twisting of words and concepts to suit your desired goal of establishing the objective structure of the sex act as the criterion par excellence for determining the morality of sex acts. But if you are to do so, you will end up condemning NFP. You can't see this, as you want to make abstinence the defining characteristic of NFP when, really, it is the use of sex in the infertile period that makes it morally indistinguishable from ABC if the structure of the act alone is used to evaluate. Why you can't see this I don't know, but I'm sure from our exchanges on this and the previous forum that you've a blind spot about it. Maybe someone else can help you to see this better than I can. Have at it Mom, James . . . anyone! wink

. . . Circumstances aren't the only mitigating factor when it comes to guilt. What's in a man's heart is also important. And, I'm sorry, there's nobody, short of GOD, who can see into every man's heart. That is why you can't trash the idea of intrinsic evil on the grounds of circumstance.

Another straw man victory for you, as I've never denied that God is not the final judge of the guilt of an act!

What's your big deal about intrinsic evil anyway? You like saying that word, *evil*! Even if one concedes that there is such a thing, the person's true intent and their cirumstances can diminish the degree of guilt incurred--maybe down to nothing. That's true of killing other people, missing Mass on Sunday, stealing, etc. Why not also for ABC?

Good day, sir,

How do you know I'm a sir? Maybe I am, maybe I'm not. wink
JSM
November 01, 2002, 02:39 PM
Whoa, Ed,

Are you saying you don't think there is such a thing as evil, or just that a man can never do an evil thing?

I will grant you a very small point - yes I did mean that when a homosexual has sex with another man, the act becomes infertile. The WHOLE point here, though, is that something is positively done to achieve the infertility of the sexual act that would otherwise be fertile. That something may mean to do the sexual act in such a way as to make it infertile, or for the participants to make themselves infertile WHEN THEY WOULD OTHERWISE BE FERTILE. What you are blind to is that if you condemn NFP then you also have to condemn marriages of infertile couples, because in both cases the infertility is natural.

You postulate that the act of waiting takes the place of a fertile sexual act that would otherwise occur. You state that is no different from substituting a sexual act incorporating ABC for a fertile sexual act. How can you compare a sexual act, infertile or not, to an act that does not ever involve any component of the sexual experience? By intents and ends only, not the structure of the act. The structure of the sexual act involves the fertilitzing of eggs by sperm. Therefore one can talk of contraception, or acting against what happens during the sexual act. There is no question of talking about contraception when the act has nothing to do with the process of conceiveing.

There are different acts that have the same end. That does not mean they are the same sort of act. One may intend to get a lot of money. One may get a lot of money. But the structure of the act by which one gets a lot of money could either be stealing, or hard work. The structures of those acts are entirely different. One doesn't say that work is a form of stealing

The infertility of a homosexual act and the infertility of ABC both come about because of what the participants do to the act. The Church does not have a problem with sexual acts that are infertile. It may have a problem with HOW IT GETS THAT WAY - if how it gets that way is ABC use, or perversions. Waiting is not a perversion of the sex act, sir/ma'am lay person (I do know that about you - unless you're a Deacon). Otherwise you'd have to condemn anybody who waits so that sperm and egg don't meet (and I've given you that list before). And, since it is licit for a married couple to have sex at whatever time it is in the cycle, it is the waiting you have a problem with, not the having of sex during an infertile time.

Regards,
JSM
momZ
November 01, 2002, 05:08 PM
pointless arguments
JSM, If one buys into your purely essentialistic and physicalist natural law interpretations, then indeed they will draw your conclusions. In that regard, you are at least being as logical as your views are irrelevant. You and Ed/Edie disagree on foundational presuppositions. Your arguments derived from those presuppositions are ergo pointless.

Why don't you engage some of the presuppositions themselves as have been fleshed out in other threads?

This isn't the real nitty-gritty but rather the real nitty-picky.

momZ
Editor
Member
November 01, 2002, 06:38 PM

Waiting is not a perversion of the sex act, sir/ma'am lay person (I do know that about you - unless you're a Deacon).


True, but it's a contraceptive practice if chosen as an alternative to sex that is possibly fertile.

And, since it is licit for a married couple to have sex at whatever time it is in the cycle, it is the waiting you have a problem with, not the having of sex during an infertile time.

False. I have no problem with abstinence, only I see no difference between ABC and NFP when the latter makes use of sex in the infertile period *because* it is infertile.

Mom is correct, however, in stating that this isn't really going anywhere. So I'll bow out now stating once again that the Church always recognizes the role of circumstances and intent in determining the morality of an act. I don't see why that shouldn't include ABC, do you?
NF
November 01, 2002, 10:16 PM
a poll?
Editor and JSM, what are the possibilities?

1) NFP is intrinsically disordered and ABC is not.
2) ABC is intrinsically disordered and NFP is not.
3) Neither is intrinsically disordered.
4) Both are intrinsically disordered.
5) I don't know, but both are the same, whatever the case may be.

James appears to be saying 4) Both are intrinsically disordered. For some reason, it appears that he is invoking some type of natural law dispensation and/or not imputing culpability. How he does this, one can only wonder at the sophistry involved.

JSM appears to be saying 2) ABC is intrinsically disordered and NFP is not.

Editor, are you saying 3 or 4 or 5? It appears that you are saying 3. But doesn't that open the door, as JSM maintains and as James may be suggesting, implicitly, to making pre-marital and extra-marital sex licit, for unitive purposes, even if one buys into your notion that homosexuality has been ruled out by a complementarity of the genders criterion?

My position has been somewhere between 2 and 4, that both can be disordered but that NFP lived out in strict accordance with Church guidelines, as I set forth already, is not disordered because its present intent and the nature of its actions can be distinguished from ABC and selfish NFP.

N.F.H.
Momz
Member
November 02, 2002, 12:56 AM
dispensations and exculpability
re: James appears to be saying 4) Both are intrinsically disordered. For some reason, it appears that he is invoking some type of natural law dispensation and/or not imputing culpability. How he does this, one can only wonder at the sophistry involved.

God's intention from the creation of the world, for this or that aspect of our human nature, has in many ways been frustrated, unrealizable.

Sometimes we simply cannot live up to these "original ideals". The ideals remain normative and desirable but, if for various subjective reasons humankind can't achieve them, revelation teaches that God deals with us leniently, even gives us dispensation from following certain ideals even if they are part of the natural law.

For example, Moses issued divorce writs, but the Law of Moses, however binding, was too lenient on the subject of divorce and did not reflect God’s intention from the creation of the world according to Jesus (Matthew 19:4-8).

This is all to say that Tradition shows that our concrete situation is taken into account along with any objective criteria for good and evil when imputing guilt. There are many ways to be deemed exculpable, even in our human laws (insanity), but especially in God's mercy. This is true for individuals; could be that it is true for humankind, as a whole, in certain matters, as we journey from Creation past our Fall and Redemption on toward Eternal Beatitude. Such a position wouldn't require sophistry, just a little biblical exegesis big grin

Let's not forget that inextricably interwined with the unitive aspect of marriage there is a spiritually procreative aspect that gets realized even as a physically procreative aspect might get thwarted. This is a good which is properly ordered toward our journey toward the Beatific Vision and the unitive life, where the unitive and procreative ideals will come to fruition in an eternal fugue, which cannot be thwarted or frustrated.

A more common type of dispensation, by analogy, might be age-based or health-based dispensations for fast and abstinence or vacation-based dispensations from Mass obligations wink

Enough of all that. I'm with James and I'm betting Edie is too. Good question NF.

momZ
Momz
Member
November 02, 2002, 09:22 AM
continuing
Aside from the many ways we can find of imputing exculpability, it must occur to one that there is the distinct possibility that our understanding and application of the natural law can be in error and no dispensation would therefore be necessary.

A more complete understanding of the true relationship between the unitive and procreative aspects, properly nuanced, might be attained, the natural law remaining the same and only our understanding changing. This is what happened when the Church changed its view of the conjugal act during infertile periods, in the case of the sterile and in coming to grips with the unitive dimension in the first place.

Arguably, this is what happened when the Church applied its existentialistic understanding in the case of NFP. Perhaps the natural extension of this would be to apply the same existentialistic evaluation to nonabortive forms of ABC. Then, we aren't talking dispensation, as in the divorce analogy, but rather are talking about doing away with an impoverished natural law perspective, such as when all manner of slavery was abolished.

This could be the very reason that the teaching has not been received: It is NOT written on our hearts.

momZ
Editor
Member
November 02, 2002, 10:09 AM
NF asked:

Editor and JSM, what are the possibilities?

1) NFP is intrinsically disordered and ABC is not.
2) ABC is intrinsically disordered and NFP is not.
3) Neither is intrinsically disordered.
4) Both are intrinsically disordered.
5) I don't know, but both are the same, whatever the case may be.


First, NF, let me encourage you to register if you're going to be active on this forum. Then you can actually create and post polls, and this one would be a good one to allow visitors to vote on. Not like that's any real test of the "sensus fidelium," of course. wink

As JSM has rightly pointed out several times, I'm not entirely comfortable using language like "intrinsically evil act." "Intrinsically disordered" is better, but even here, I cannot envision any act ever taking place outside of a specific context and apart from intentionality.

So what does it mean, then, to say that an act is intrinsically disordered? Only that this identifies its nature on a somewhat objective level. Nevertheless, the Church teaches that this is only one of several factors which must be considered in determining the morality of an act, circumstances and intent being the other major factors.

The circumstances in which NFP and ABC are chosen are usually identical: the couple wishes to space their children and doesn't want their sexual activity to be fertile at this time in their lives. Their intent is also identical, namely, to avoid conceiving, and to enjoy non-procreative sex for purposes of building the unitive good. I would even contend that at the objective level, ABC and NFP are identical insofar as both are making use of the sex act when it is statistically unlikely to bring forth new life, and so fails to satisfy the objective criterion of "openness to new life." I know that the Church permits one but not the other, but the reasons for doing so are unconvincing, to say the least.

Infer what you will about my vote in your poll based on the pgh. above, if you'd like.

Touching on a couple of other points you made: I don't see the relevance of the issue of "intrinsically disordered acts" to premarital or extramarital sex. There are many good reasons for condemning pre-marital and extra-marital sex without considering whether the objective nature of the act is violated or not. In both cases, NFP could be used to safeguard against unwanted conception, but I doubt that anyone would say that this compliance with Church teaching concerning preserving the "structural integrity of the act" somehow relieves the couple of any degree of sinfulness. Can you imagine an adulterous husband confessing this sin and saying, "But we didn't use artificial contraception, Father, so it can't be that great a sin, can it?"

Which tells us . . . ? (Should be obvious!!) big grin

[This message was edited by Editor on November 02, 2002 at 08:18 AM.]
Momz
Member
November 02, 2002, 11:24 AM
irrelevant, just like re: homosexual acts
Touching on a couple of other points you made: I don't see the relevance of the issue of "intrinsically disordered acts" to premarital or extramarital sex. There are many good reasons for condemning pre-marital and extra-marital sex without considering whether the objective nature of the act is violated or not.

Good point, Ed. Seems like we were about to slip into another slippery slope argument such as with homosexual acts. Proto-morality and pre-morality might be exclusively concerned with merely objective essentialistic criteria, but Church teaching on morality is not ambiguous, whatsoever, regarding the subjective criteria.

Also, though we draw distinctions between the unitive and procreative, can they really be torn asunder, in principle? And isn't there a spiritually procreative aspect to generativity in its relation to the unitive dimension? Indeed, pre-marital and extramarital sex fail procreative criteria in the wider context of providing an environment for rearing children, this notwithstanding the objective nature of the act, biologically and physicalistically.

momZ
Once a Catholic
November 11, 2002, 09:57 PM
The Catholic Church Just Doesn't get it
The Catholic Church just doesn't get it. All you must do is Love God and your neighbor and you can do as you please. No rules against who you can love, no telling sins to priests, all the meat on friday you want, no saints, no traditions of men. No human is is perfect/infallible so no pope. I find this birth control thing so degrading. When the catholic church finally has married and women pastors maybe that will start some compassion and serious thought. As for me, I am free of this misguided organization.
lamer police
November 11, 2002, 10:17 PM
good example of a bad example
Whether that last post was done in earnest, in mockery or in jest, it was lame frown
James
Member
November 23, 2002, 10:11 PM
The inseperable unitive and procreative
Could it very well be that the unitive and procreative in sacramental marriage is inseperable and created thusly so by God? In other words symbolically NFP nor ABC can not separate the procreative and unitive by the very nature of the act?
Editor
Member
November 24, 2002, 08:53 PM
James, I think you have raised an excellent question. My initial response is that if the spiritual dimension of procreativity is considered and not merely its biological potention, then truly it is impossible to separate the unitive and procreative dimensions of sex. Perhaps what we need more of on this forum is exploration of what we mean by that spiritual dimension of procreation.