It seems like openness to life and unitive goals for a relationship are good values. There are lots of good values. What makes meeting this or that value discovered in natural law very serious or not so serious. Even if one shares these values, what reasons are given by the Church to make attaining some values more important than others? For example, it seems like the natural law would reveal that eating is for nourishment and drinking is to stay hydrated. Why isn't it evil to eat when one is not really hungry or in need of food? Why isn't it perverted and sinful to drink when one isn't thirsty? Why are murder and masturbation both grave matters? Why is birth control a mortal sin and not a venial sin? Seriously.
Actually eating and drinking when one is not hungry or thirsty is a sin. They both fall under the sin of glutony. One of the seven deadly sins.
So, do you suspect that with 61% of adult Americans overweight that there will soon be a papal commission on obesity, followed by an encyclical on this grave intrinsic evil? And let's not forget smoking. We don't see other animals cultivating tobacco and inhaling smoke. That's unnatural and inhibits the body's absorption of oxygen. So just how many people are commiting mortal sins everyday in the view of YOUR church?
I'm still waiting for an example of a medication that a healthy person takes to break something that isn't broken, with the exception of contraceptives, of course.
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It may be unnatural to interfere with the normal sleep-wake cycle when we use anesthesia during surgery, sleeping pills to induce sleep or amphetamines to stay awake for finals, but it is not intrinsically evil. It may be unnatural to interfere with the body's circadian rhythms by working graveyard shifts and sleeping during the day and to regulate this changed regimen pharmaceutically, but it's not intrinsically evil. It may be unnatural for weight trainers and atheletes to take synthetic steroids to strengthen muscles, and even illegal for olympians to do so, but it is not intrinsically evil. It may be unnatural to inhibit the body's hunger with appetitie suppressors, but it is not intrinsically evil. There are dozens upon dozens of examples where pharamaceutical regimens do NOT enhance bodily functions in a normal way but rather inhibit biological clocks, circadian rhythms, sleep-wake cycles and hormone metabolic cycles (such as regulate steroid levels to keep them at natural levels and not abnormally high levels or low), but they aren't intrinsically evil. But, for heuristic purposes, let's say some of the above examples are going against nature in a manner that is evil, still there is nothing that would give rise to a silly notion that they are so seriously evil that God would be so offended by our machinations as to want to be apart from us for Eternity. Regulation of fertility cyclicity, as a bilogical function, is not different just because it involves our generative faculties.
Bad reactions to prescription
drugs kill more Americans annually than die on the nation's highways.
It is a well known fact that almost every drug we take to fix something in our bodies also breaks something else. Listen to the litany of side effects in television ads or read the many contraindications that come with your next prescription. Further, many, many drugs are not natural biochemicals but are synthetic and thus unnatural. Thus, the taking of most pharmaceuticals has intrinsically evil components, both being unnatural/synthetic and inhibiting MANY normal biological functions.
This is overcome, morally, by Aquinas' doctrine of double-effect, which is OT in this consideration, which was merely to provide an example of medications that break what isn't broken.
But let's pursue double effect anyway. If the Church allows a woman to take birth control to overcome her complexion problems, even though it has contraceptive efficacy at the same time, because the reason for the action (clearing up one's complexion) is proportional to the seriousness of the indirect bad effect (contraception), then what does this have to say about the parvity of matter issue and the concept of proportionality in determining ABC to be gravely evil?
At any rate, breaking what ain't broken through medication may be an indirect effect but, once contraindications and side effects are known, it can hardly be claimed that it is unforeseen although obviously it can be claimed to be unintended, except in the cases of interfering with normal biological and circadian rhythms associated with the sleep -wake cycle, or appetite suppressors, or steroid catabolism.
See http://www.steroidlaw.com/article_full.asp?id=8 where the following was excerpted:
The concept of "natural" is quite complex, and becomes even more perplexing when abutted against the concept of "bodybuilding." The many health supplements sold by health food stores raise other interesting issues, further complicating the evaluation of what is "natural." Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is sold as a natural food supplement. But is it "natural" to ingest Vitamin C not by the ingestion of various fruits and foods, but by swallowing it whole in processed tablet form? Further, how can anyone argue that it's "natural" to take two, four or even more grams of Vitamin C daily - so-called "megadoses" - when nobody could possibly consume such quantities by eating food? Another example is creatine monohydrate, a substance that has recently been widely marketed as a supplement for building muscle. Red meat contains small quantities of creatine. But is it "natural" to consume five, ten or (during so-called "loading phases") up to a whopping thirty grams of creatine daily, when such amounts could only be consumed through artificially manufactured products? And yet, these wildly "un-natural" quantities are routinely consumed by many so-called "natural" athletes. These "natural" athletes have convinced themselves that such extreme dietary supplement practices are perfectly natural, but for years have drawn a bright line to distinguish the difference between natural and non-natural athletes: the use of supplemental androgens. All supplemental androgens, including anabolic steroids, are derivatives of testosterone, a naturally-occurring hormone in both men and women. But unlike the athlete taking Vitamin C capsules or creatine powder to enhance his performance, one taking supplemental testosterone tablets is no longer considered "natural" and one taking supplemental testosterone injections is even less natural. (Ironically, the more hazardous anabolic steroids are orally ingested.)
Questions were asked below about these topics, and, presumably, why the Church condemns them.
In the case of homosexual sex, it's obvious that this cannot ever meet the criteria for openness to life, not in any act, nor in the relationship as a whole. Same goes for masturbation, which doesn't even satisfy any unitive aspect, but is entirely self-focused.
Note that the Catechism of the Catholic Church recognizes that masturbation needs to be considered in the context of one's development, and psychological state.
Other questions? Comments?