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Slavery,Marriage,Usury,and Religious FreedomBirth Control in the Catholic Church

Webby
November 07, 2002, 11:53 AM
Slavery,Marriage,Usury,and Religious Freedom
To all,

A website for your discussion:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY?FRNOONAN.HTM

W.
Webby
November 07, 2002, 11:55 AM
Correction
Sorry dudes,

I'll correct the typo:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/FRNOONAN.HTM

W.
Editor
Member
November 07, 2002, 01:04 PM
From the article by Patrick O' Neil: It is important to note that the Catholic Church in past centuries did not intend to endorse authoritatively any specific instances of slavery, but only the principle that slavery could be justified as the lesser of evils in certain circumstances.

Umm . . . I read that article and must have missed the part about the Church not changing its teaching on those topics. If your point was that circumstances changed as did the Church's understanding of how this moral issue might not be so evil (usury) or always be evil (slavery), then know that this is the point many of us are making about artificial contraception as well. It really wouldn't call for too big a helping of "crow" to change the existing teaching--at least to acknowledge that it's as permissible now as a "lessor of evils in certain circumstances" as slavery was thought to be centuries ago.

Thanks for the reference, however. This is an important and relevant topic to the discussion on this forum.
Webby
November 11, 2002, 05:10 PM
So,

What's to keep someone from saying the same about homosexual unions or abortion? It seems to me that the argument 'the Church has changed before' could be used to justify anything we want, but then also some things we don't if we're not careful. That's why I dug up the website - to show that though the Church may have tolerated something out of necessity, it never said it was a good, right thing.

Looking at the website I posted, and then your post, the MOST (not the Least) you could say about ABC use is that it is something to be tolerated as a lesser evil. But, seeing as it is not a necessity in order to avoid conception, and since it causes a great deal of harm generally in society, there is no reason for ABC use to be tolerated whatsoever.

Anyway, one of my main points here is that the challenge to Church authority pretty much rests on the perception that it has changed its moral teachings before. We have seen that perception is false.

W.
Editor
Member
November 11, 2002, 05:15 PM
Webby, you certainly have not proven that Church teachings haven't changed. The Church once allowed slavery, for whatever reasons someone might use to justify it, but now the Church doesn't allow for slavery under any circumstances. Same goes with usury and quite a few others.

I'd encourage you to read a few articles on the web site and some of the exchanges on the forum before concluding that allowing ABC would open the door to homosexual unions, or even that it's been an evil in society. At any rate, those are not the reasons given by H.V. and other encyclicals for condemning the practice in the first place.
Webby
November 12, 2002, 12:51 PM
You're misreading me, Editor,

I was not saying that ABC use opens the door to homosexual unions, etc. I am saying that to challenge Church teaching authority is to open up the door for more than what particular thing we are challenging it for. If you can legitimately base a challenge to Church authority simply because it 'changed' before, then others may also legitimately make that challenge.

When did the Church ever say that slavery was right and good? That is what I mean by not changing. The Church may have different ways of dealing with an evil, such as either directly combatting it, or tolerating it. But it never says an evil is not an evil anymore. You shpuld AT LEAST accept that the Church can never call ABC right and good. It never has and it never will (until the Great Apostasy, I suppose).

W.
Editor
Member
November 12, 2002, 01:11 PM
If you can legitimately base a challenge to Church authority simply because it 'changed' before, then others may also legitimately make that challenge.

I agree that this would be the silliest of reasons for questioning any teaching. In fact, my position relies very little on whether other teachings have changed; this is only pointed out, at times, to indicate that changing the prohibition against ABC wouldn't be the first time.

But see, now, how far out you have gone in defending the former teaching about slavery. Even though the Church allowed it and even condemned those who opposed this position (yes, that's correct!), your point is now that the Church never said it was a good thing; that's beside the point. The pointis that the teaching did change. Slavery was once allowed, and now it's not. That's an undeniable fact, and trying to defend it using arguments about different circumstances, etc. still doesn't change that. And so this idea that some have about Magisterial teaching being always totally consistent and unchanging from the beginning is just plain wrong! Let it go. That's not necessarily a bad thing and doesn't lead to the conclusion that all teachings are changeable and up for grabs.
Webby
November 15, 2002, 01:56 PM
Editor,

Consider:

'I don't agree with Church teaching on A, B or C...therefore, I've decided to follow my own conscience. What makes my conscience right, and the Church wrong? Well, the Church has not been totally correct in other DOCTRINAL teachings, and has changed before. That is why I don't have to listen to the Church on A, B, or C.'

Are you sure you've never heard this pivotal argument for primacy of conscience before? It's pivotal, Editor, not merely just "mentioned" as some side point.

I would appreciate a referrence to where the Church says slavery is a good to be pursued, like having children in a marriage is a good to be pursued. The Church has never said such a thing. The only thing that has changed, and I conceded this in my last post- is how the evil is dealt with. Instead of being tolerated, it is now fully combatted.

W.
James
Member
November 15, 2002, 06:12 PM
"I would appreciate a referrence to where the Church says slavery is a good to be pursued, like having children in a marriage is a good to be pursued. The Church has never said such a thing. "

Webby,
Unless I misunderstood the webpage you referred us to, slavery was taught to be acceptable, not simply tolerated. That notwithstanding, it appears you think that a teaching is only a valid teaching if it specifically upholds a "good". That is quite an unusual definition to say the least and not at all what the Church defines as doctrine or dogma. Capital punishment was taught as right and just for centuries in the Church. However its goodness was always somewhat suspect. Something can be considered just, like war and not be a good to be pursued. Regardless official Church positions have changed over time and you have not successfully proven otherwise. Regards-
Webby
November 17, 2002, 02:08 PM
James,

O'Neil says several times that slavery represented a lesser evil to the Church. Often, when it is asserted that the Church 'changed' its view of slavery, people who don't know any better think that the Church at one time thought it was good, but now it doesn't. And the people who make the assertion know this, and purposely don't take pains to clarify this, do they James?

Let's keep in mind that this website seeks to call ABC use "good." Not a lesser evil, but out and out a good thing for married couples to do. Those who state that the Church changed before are waiting with baited breath for the Church to change again the way they want it to. And if the Church doesn't change the way they want it to, they use the 'justification' that it 'changed' before to now become disobedient.

W.
Editor
Member
November 17, 2002, 02:26 PM
quote:
. . .Let's keep in mind that this website seeks to call ABC use "good." Not a lesser evil, but out and out a good thing for married couples to do. . .


That's actually not what we say. How about pointing to one specific example.

The website takes issue with the current teaching and succeeds in showing that there's no real significant difference between NFP and ABC when it comes to the issue of "each and every sex act begin open to new life." We also do tell couples what their rights are concerning the formation of conscience, and in doing so we take a thoroughly Catholic approach. I'm wondering why that should bother you and so many others so much.
Webby
November 18, 2002, 03:19 PM
Haven't you said more than once that using ABC is good for marriages in that it helps upkeep the unitive between couples - and further that the unitive is all-important, while we can take or leave the pro-creative?

Or was I imagining things?

Primacy of conscience, as in" I know more than the Magesterium" kind of primacy, is unfortunately touted as Catholic nowadays by the heirarchy as well as many theologians. They are creating untold scandal by doing so.

W.
Editor
Member
November 18, 2002, 04:18 PM
Webby, you're just spinning things now. If you don't understand what the Church's teachings on conscience are, please read up on it some more. It really is more than just conforming with Magisteriual teaching regardless of circumstance. If that were the case, we could never miss Mass if we were ill.

Try to stick to the topic you started. You were trying to tell us that the teaching on slavery, etc. hasn't changed, but you were wrong about that. then you back-pedaled to say that the Church never said it was good, and James answered that one as well. Now you're trying to go in a new dierection and that's not working very well either.
Webby
November 18, 2002, 10:48 PM
Excuse me,

But no one has yet responded to the charge that they justify their disobedience to the Magisterium by saying that the Church has changed before. In other words, no one has denied that they (James, Editor, et al) do that. Fr. Hardon said that a well-formed conscience is one that is in agreement with the teachings of the Magisterium. Period. End of story. He obviously didn't get his understanding of the Catholic faith from the book "Christ Among Us." Did you?

I never back-pedalled on the issue of Church change, Editor. I said the only thing that has changed is how the Church deals with an evil, even something it considers a lesser evil. It does not deal with an evil by no longer calling it an evil. The Church never said it was good to be a heretic. But it did change how it dealt with heretics - it now no longer puts them to death (and good thing for you!). Slavery was never considered a good thing to engage in, although there was a time in history when it was tolerated (tolerated, not advocated, as some claim) to avoid even worse evils.

You have not answered me, Editor, by the way...did you or did you not say in previous posts that ABC use can be GOOD for marriage as it could help develop the unitive aspect? Have you or have you not said that it is indeed superior to NFP because it can develop the unitive in a way that NFP neglects? Please do not try to mislead your readers into thinking that elevation of ABC use as GOOD is not an aim of this website.

I have stated before that the MOST that could be said about ABC use is that it is a necessary evil, and certainly could never approach being a GOOD. The Church, as long as it stays faithful to Christ's teaching, can never say, has never said, and will never say, that it is GOOD to use ABC. Considering there is a better alternative, namely NFP, the Church will never see ABC use as a necessary evil either.

W.
Editor
Member
November 19, 2002, 10:51 AM
But no one has yet responded to the charge that they justify their disobedience to the Magisterium by saying that the Church has changed before. In other words, no one has denied that they (James, Editor, et al) do that.

Webby, there are two levels of discussion happening here: theological and pastoral. Don't get them confused. Discussions about the merits of the teaching and whether there is historical precedent for changing such a teaching is on the level of theology. That doesn't necessarily translate to anything at all on the pastoral level. The position of the contributors to this web site concerning the duties of Catholics toward the teaching is clearly spelled out on the web page about this topic. You'll see that nowhere is there the slightest hint that ABC can be justified because the teaching on slavery once changed. Don't confuse the contexts of the discussion.

. . .Slavery was never considered a good thing to engage in, although there was a time in history when it was tolerated (tolerated, not advocated, as some claim) to avoid even worse evils.

We all know that, so what do you think you're trying to tell us. James has pointed out that a teaching which permits something doesn't necessarily advocate that that something is good. Your point seemed to be that the teaching on slavery and usury didn't really change, however. You're obviously wrong about that.

You have not answered me, Editor, by the way...did you or did you not say in previous posts that ABC use can be GOOD for marriage as it could help develop the unitive aspect? Have you or have you not said that it is indeed superior to NFP because it can develop the unitive in a way that NFP neglects? Please do not try to mislead your readers into thinking that elevation of ABC use as GOOD is not an aim of this website.

Please note again a distinction between a theological discussion and a pastoral one. I have shared my experience as have others that we find ABC an overall more positive form of birth control than NFP. I speak from experience here as one who's actually used NFP. I don't think any of that translates into ABC-promotion, however.

. . .The Church, as long as it stays faithful to Christ's teaching, can never say, has never said, and will never say, that it is GOOD to use ABC. Considering there is a better alternative, namely NFP, the Church will never see ABC use as a necessary evil either.

I'd settle right now for a teaching which states that couples have as much a right to determine if ABC can be allowed as a "lessor evil" along with killing, fighting wars, stealing, and (as in days past) owning slaves. Don't you find it odd that ABC seems to be about the only behavior that is excepted from being a possible "lessor evil"?

As for NFP being a "better alternative," you have absolutely no right to speak for me about that, nor for others who have in conscience decided to use ABC. That kind of arrogance contributes nothing to the discussion.
Webby
November 19, 2002, 05:36 PM
Editor,

Please don't speak about arrogance....you're flouting Church authority after all. I did not say that ABC use was being justified because slavery was once justified. I am saying that people such as James and yourself justify DEFYING THE MAGISTERIUM on the basis that the Church changed it's teaching.

To use your own terms, it is pretty clear to me that those on this board in favor of ABC use do indeed want a change to happen at the theological level, not just at the pastoral level. Keep in mind that when the subject of slavery first came up, the words used were that the Church changed its teaching. It took a bit more encouragement on my part to get us to be a bit more specific, so that no one is confused that we are talking indeed about a pastoral change, and NOT a theological change. (You say pastoral change, I said how the Church deals with the evil - same difference, Editor).

So you're willing to see the Church call ABC use a necessary evil. Does that mean that you indeed agree there is evil involved in the use of artificial contraceptives? You would logically have to, if you are willing to countenance such a label.

W.
James
Member
November 19, 2002, 07:09 PM
Necessary Evils
Webby just to comment on some of your overreactions...
I would say that both NFP and ABC fall into the order of necessary evils. Ideally out of love a married couple should truly want to have as many children as possible and there would be no need for ABC or NFP. That would be an ideal expression of married love in the paradise Adam and Eve were created into. However, because of our fallen state other things come into play that make in necessary to use NFP or ABC, failing health, economic strife, overpopulation, etc. Our situation from the beginning is not one that God truly intended. He never intended for our health to fail us, or for any of us to ever be on wellfare, but original sin and the sin of the first Man and Woman changed that forever. Resulting in a situation where we are often, unfortunately, faced with necessary evils in order to be able to struggle through life. The important question is not whether it is or is not a necessary evil, but whether or not it effects our salvation. War can sometimes be considered a necessary evil, but it is not sinful to be a soldier even in an unjust war. There are societal evils, but the culpability of the individual is minimal or nonexistent in these evils.

Finally, noone here is trying to speak for the Magesterium. All we have said is that Church teachings have changed and so this one could also. That is a far cry from speaking authoritively in place of the Magesterium. By the way, the Father Hardon you speak of is not a member of the Magesterium or the Pope speaking ex-cathedra, so his opinions are interesting but no more authoritative than anything on this website.
Regards-
Webby
November 21, 2002, 08:03 AM
James,

This website says that the Church contradicts itself. This website uses a nameless theologian to so-calledly authoritatively make its points. This website advocates the primacy of conscience over Church authority. This website claims it is OK TO ACTUALLY GO RIGHT AHEAD AND DEFY THE CHURCH. That is what is called scandal, James.

And what is the only thing that makes primacy of conscience even remotely plausible as a source of authority on which to act? To undermine the trustworthiness of Magisterial teaching - and how best to do that then to continually bring up the notion that the Church has 'changed' it's teaching before?

As the Editor so kindly gave us the terms to use, I'll use them once again. The Church has not changed THEOLOGICALLY, James, only pastorally.

It is not a committed evil, James, not to have children. It is not a committed evil, James, for a married couple not to have children. The evil we are talking about here (and this point was put very eloquently by another poster fairly recently) is to separate artificially the unitive and procreative DURING AN ACT WHICH DEMANDS IT. That would be the SEXUAL act - not an act of abstaining.

I said that the pro-ABC use posters on this site want to see not just a pastoral change but a theological change. That change they want to see is in what the Church teaches about evil acts. The Catechsim STILL says that the first consideration in whether an act is wrong or not is WHAT YOU DO, before you consider WHY or the OUTCOME. If the act doesn't pass muster with the first criteria, you can forget consideration of the second and third.

Morality isn't just in your head, James. There are concrete rules about how to live. If you've ever read 'Grendel', you know that the monster tried to convince himself that Beowulf wasn't real, that in his mind he was safe from Beowulf. Grendel was undone in the end by the reality of Beowulf tearing his arm off and bashing him around. If you don't wake up to the reality of the concreteness of just behavior, I fear your soul may end up like Grendel.

W.
Editor
Member
November 21, 2002, 08:23 AM
quote:
This website says that the Church contradicts itself. This website uses a nameless theologian to so-calledly authoritatively make its points. This website advocates the primacy of conscience over Church authority. This website claims it is OK TO ACTUALLY GO RIGHT AHEAD AND DEFY THE CHURCH. That is what is called scandal, James.


There's a little bit of truth in some of this, but the way you spin it is quite amazing! For example, taking the point about parts of the teaching having inherent contradictions and stating that as "the Church contradicts itself" gives an entirely different meaning to the point being made. And your spin about "primacy of conscience" and "go right ahead and defy the Church" strikes me as deliberately misleading. Using your logic, you would consider anyone missing Mass on Sunday because they're sick to be defying a Church teaching.

It seems to me that you're not really here to dialogue, but to spin distortions about what the contributors to the web site have presented. I'll not be continuing to discuss things with you; perhaps James and others will.
James
Member
November 21, 2002, 06:11 PM
Hysterics
No, actually James will not be dialoguing any further with this individual. It is not possible to reason with someone who cannot seem to take statements within their given context. I don't think I will waste any more time along this line of discussion. Except to say that the lack of consensus among the members of the Magesterium precludes any possible disobedience on the part of any ABC users. It is not an infallible teaching except in the opinion of some fallible individuals. wink