The Birth Control Issue -- An OverviewBirth Control in the Catholic Church
February 06, 2003, 05:44 PM
The Birth Control Issue -- An Overview
Based on the posts I've read here, the birth control issue seems to divide people into two
'camps.' There are people who see external authority figues as the sole, rightful, and true authorities in this issue and there are others who see the Inner Christ or formed conscience as the the true authority.

It seems that the best of the two camps might be wedded and form a third 'camp' that consults with external authority figures on both sides of the question, but, then, reserves the final decision to inner guidance. This method of decision respects the external figures, yet, allows room for an adult decision.

It seems that placing the decision solely on external figures takes the responsibility away from the adult making the decision. It can show a lack of respect for the Christ within each and every one of us and a real disrepect for the workings of the Holy Spirit.

This externally sourced method seems to incorrectly focus on the 'keys to the kingdom' Scripture passage that has been used in an apparently arrogant manner to promote clerical imperialism and undercut the prophetic voice of the Holy Spirit in the lay members of the Church. It totally disregards other equally important Scripture passages giving power to the people--all people, not just the clergy. It seems to promote a false dependence on the hierarchy and a 'Father Knows Best' mindset. It can prevent maturation in individuals by this false dependency and can instill fear instead of trust in God.

So, then, rather than the Church fuctioning as a resource to help people realize the mercy, love, and graciousness of God, it becomes a
warehouse for excommunications, abuse, and violence. Rather than a love which casts aside fear, we have an atmosphere of fear which casts aside love.

This issue needs to be explored in an atmosphere free of fear and condemnation.
It needs to be danced, poeticized, and joked be loved around and to be used to demonstrate that the individuals involved are more important than the issue.

We need leaders who love rather than condemn, who walk their talk, who include rather than exclude, who truly live the love of Christ they so vocally proclaim.

Thank you.

February 06, 2003, 07:30 PM
Authority has shifted from a theistic location to within the self.

Some say that the Christian religion is patriarchal and authoritarian, that political institutions are unable to improve the world, and that formal (allopathic) medicine simply fails to heal people effectively. The fact that what were once central elements in society are now perceived as untrustworthy or lacking in genuine authority has created a climate where people look inwards, into themselves, for meaning and strength. There is also a search for alternative institutions, which people hope will respond to their deepest needs.

The Renaissance and the Reformation have shaped the modern western individual, who is not weighed down by external burdens like merely extrinsic authority and tradition; people feel the need to “belong” to institutions less and less (and yet loneliness is very much a scourge of modern life), and are not inclined to rank “official” judgements above their own. With this cult of humanity, religion is internalised in a way which prepares the ground for a celebration of the sacredness of the self.

If the Church is not to be accused of being deaf to people's longings, her members need to do two things: to root themselves ever more firmly in the fundamentals of their faith, and to understand the often-silent cry in people's hearts, which leads them elsewhere if they are not satisfied by the Church. There is also a call in all of this to come closer to Jesus Christ and to be ready to follow Him, since He is the real way to happiness, the truth about God and the fulness of life for every man and woman who is prepared to respond to his love.

Many have rejected organised religion, because in their judgement it has failed to answer their needs, and for precisely this reason they have looked elsewhere to find “spirituality”.

The rejection of tradition in the form of patriarchal, hierarchical social or ecclesial organisation implies the search for an alternative form of society, one that is clearly inspired by the modern notion of the self.

According to Christian belief, Jesus Christ is not a pattern, but a divine person whose human-divine figure reveals the mystery of the Father's love for every person throughout history (Jn 3:16); he lives in us because he shares his life with us, but it is neither imposed nor automatic. All men and women are invited to share his life, to live “in Christ”.

The techniques and methods offered in this immanentist religious system, which has no concept of God as person, proceed 'from below'. Although they involve a descent into the depths of one's own heart or soul, they constitute an essentially human enterprise on the part of a person who seeks to rise towards divinity by his or her own efforts. It is often an “ascent” on the level of consciousness to what is understood to be a liberating awareness of “the god within”.

For Christians, conversion is turning back to the Father, through the Son, in docility to the power of the Holy Spirit. The more people progress in their relationship with God – which is always and in every way a free gift – the more acute is the need to be converted from sin, spiritual myopia and self-infatuation, all of which obstruct a trusting self-abandonment to God and openness to other men and women.

The Christian understanding of divinisation, comes about not through our own efforts alone, but with the assistance of God's grace working in and through us. It inevitably involves an initial awareness of incompleteness and even sinfulness, in no way an exaltation of the self. Furthermore, it unfolds as an introduction into the life of the Trinity, a perfect case of distinction at the heart of unity; it is synergy rather than fusion. This all comes about as the result of a personal encounter, an offer of a new kind of life. Life in Christ is not something so personal and private that it is restricted to the realm of consciousness. Nor is it merely a new level of awareness. It involves being transformed in our soul and in our body by participation in the sacramental life of the Church.
February 07, 2003, 01:15 PM
... consults with external authority figures on both sides of the question, but, then, reserves the final decision to inner guidance. This method of decision respects the external figures, yet, allows room for an adult decision ...

Welcome, to Catholicism. Above is a statement regarding conscience formation and primacy of conscience that comports with existing teaching. If this has only recently dawned on one's awareness, then that is a shame.

The other points in that post come across as the rather common reactionary stance, not to official teaching but, to authoritarian abuses, which surely must cease. The answer to authoritarianism and patriarchy run amok should not be to reject authentic Church teaching. So many do this and then substitute some new agey notions that are too individualistic.

Maybe not.

new agey being sometimes too feministic, pantheistic, immanentistic and such in all sorts of combos
February 08, 2003, 10:29 AM
nice post, niydhe, but better suited, perhaps, to a forum on spirituality or mysticism.

were you trying to make some point here about conscience or the birth control teaching? perhaps you could address those points more directly.
February 08, 2003, 01:09 PM
My guess is that that "nice post" was an indictment of any simplistic equating of the Inner Christ with a formed conscience. However, if I were you, I would delete it because it is nothing but a plagiaristic verbatim excerpt from the Vatican's latest document on the New Age, which took me awhile to figure out because the excerpt didn't have the term New Age in it. Maybe the Vatican doesn't care though.
February 09, 2003, 12:09 PM
kinda just goes to show how much i'm thinking in sync with the vatican, right anon? Big Grin
February 09, 2003, 09:10 PM
You mean to tell me that an independent Aussie like you is PROUD of THAT?
February 10, 2003, 10:03 AM
aye mate. Smile

a few good catholics down under!