Religion and Birth Control

lunamoth

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I realize that top-down attempts to control human behaviors, especially sexual behaviors, are about as old as mankind and about as effective as a sieve to hold water. However, one thing that has long had me perplexed is how some religions, notably the Catholic Church, prohibit the use of most effective kinds of birth control.

In this age of overpopulation, this seems an unethical position to hold. Sure, we're managing now as planet, especially in the wealthy and less-populated countries like the US, but if you've visited China or India or some parts of Mexico, you can see that there are large numbers of people living in poverty and squalor. Some of the reasons are political, but it seems quite straightforward there is a correlation between overpopulation of a country and poverty for the majority of it's inhabitants.

Also, on a more individual basis, I've known women who are using the rythym method to prevent more children but in those very fertile years, lo and behold, suprise baby after surprise baby is born. These women are fortunate...they for the most part have the means to support these children comfortably. However, one friend had two difficult pregnancies, health-threatening for herself, and she did not want to risk a third pregnancy. However, her religion prevented her from using most forms of birth control, and a third child was conceived. She spent much of her pregnancy on bed-rest, but happily gave birth to a helathy baby and all is well. After much discussion with her husband, they finally decided to have a surgical procedure to prevent further preganancies. I was very pleased to learn that when they consulted their priest about doing this, he gave his consent. Apparently the application in the trenches is different from the official teachings on this.

This is an example of a religious law that I feel is in conflict with loving-kindness for each other, and in conflict with good stewardship of the planet.

What do you think? Can someone whose religion prohbits birth control explain the rationale for such a religious law?
 
I have a friend who is extremely Christian and she has many children. At one point she had 4 under five and all of them have terrible allergies and various illnesses. She would not use birth control as it is against her religion. They were extremely poor but she believed that she should have all the children god wants her too and that is that.

Her husband left her during her fifth pregnancy and she had major postpartum depression.

I don't believe that God would want that for her and that the rules need to be changed.
 
I realize that top-down attempts to control human behaviors, especially sexual behaviors, are about as old as mankind and about as effective as a sieve to hold water. However, one thing that has long had me perplexed is how some religions, notably the Catholic Church, prohibit the use of most effective kinds of birth control.

OK. well, you know me Lunamoth, and I personally choose to stay out of these kinds of debate, but perhaps I can shed some light ... so what follows is a 'flipside' response to the situation – I'm not saying its right or wrong, I'm saying it needs factoring in the discussion.

The principle here is do we have the right to take a life that might inconvenience us?

Let's not prevaricate. If sex wasn't fun, then we would treat it as a necessity. But it's pleasurable, and the more we fantasies and invest in it, the more we insist that our sexuality defines our nature ... the more pleasurable it is ... so now sex has a place in culture that's out of all proportion to the reality ... consider the dollars spent on cosmetics ... consider that the porn industry was the driving force behind the massive uptake of the domestic video player that surpassed the makers' wildest expectations ... no ther technology comes close to how fast and how widespread the video boom was, and it was all about porn ... so what we really want is all the fun, with none of the consequence ... I want to bew able to drive my car at 150mph, without getting arrested ... it's the same thing.

We want to be absolved of the responsibility ... and the Church ain't gonna do that ...

+++

The fact that we enjoy sex, and therefore insist that we should have the right to enjoy it whenever we wish, with whoever we wish, does not stand up to too close a scutiny ... the fact is we should enjoy it as adults as we impress upon our children ... sex is not something to engage in without a view of the possible consequences ... but birth control is precisely a means of avoiding a certain consequence ... and giving someone the means to avoid consequence does not instil a sense of responsibility.

What is far more tragic these days, is sexual identity determines the person out of all proportion ... we live in a culture obsessed with sex, image, power and masturbation to such a degree that continence or even celibacy seem 'unatural' ... 'choice' has now nothing to do with it, sex, as an act, is regarded as necessary for a full life ... you have to get the idea in perspective before you can fully debate the issue.

In this age of overpopulation, this seems an unethical position to hold.
But is it ethical to destroy a life that might interfere with our own comfortability?

Sure, we're managing now as planet, especially in the wealthy and less-populated countries like the US, but if you've visited China or India or some parts of Mexico, you can see that there are large numbers of people living in poverty and squalor.
Yes, and they are the first targets of birth control, pressed on them by the wealthy nations. As long, of course, that there's still enough left to make cheap trainers for us.

And again, 3rd world countries view birth control as emasculating, and everyone knows sex with a virgin cures HIV ... I don't see removing the burden of responsibility makes for more rfesponsible people.

Some of the reasons are political, but it seems quite straightforward there is a correlation between overpopulation of a country and poverty for the majority of it's inhabitants.
Yes, and the correlate is overpopulation is a result of poverty. People have big families because most of them die, and possessing nothing of any material worth, their offspring become precious. It has been statistically demonstrated that in those areas where there is a reasonable distribution of wealth and access to resources, the population naturally levels out.

Also, on a more individual basis, I've known women who are using the rythym method to prevent more children but in those very fertile years, lo and behold, suprise baby after surprise baby is born. These women are fortunate...they for the most part have the means to support these children comfortably.
'Comfortably' is a dangerous word.

Here in the UK we have the highest incidence of teenage pregnancy in Europe. Solution? Put all the kids on the pill.

Here in London, in fact in Camden (just down the road) we have the highest incidence of STD in Europe. Solution? Not so easy ...

Why is Britain so different to Europe? Perhaps because we're not so Catholic, perhaps because we have an unhealthy preoccupation with sex. Teenage magazine in Europe are about relationships, in UK it's about the correct techniques for oral sex.

This is an example of a religious law that I feel is in conflict with loving-kindness for each other, and in conflict with good stewardship of the planet.
I think rampant teenage pregnancy, queses outside abortion clinics and widespread STD are not good exemplars of 'loving kindness' so much as self-gratification...

+++

Let's not kid ourselves. 2,000 years ago, people had babies and threw away the ones they didn't want. Nothing's changed, now we've developed more discreet and hygenic means of throwing them away, that's all.

Thomas
 
I have a friend who is extremely Christian and she has many children. At one point she had 4 under five and all of them have terrible allergies and various illnesses. She would not use birth control as it is against her religion. They were extremely poor but she believed that she should have all the children god wants her too and that is that.

Her husband left her during her fifth pregnancy and she had major postpartum depression.

I don't believe that God would want that for her and that the rules need to be changed.

It does not seem to me that God would want for her to have children against her will. If she wanted to have this many children then that would be different, but the way you explained it almost sounds pathological...to keep having children to obey a religious law.

What I also find interesting is that if this thead were about abortion or homosexuality, there would be quite a lot more posts here by now. But, because this is an issue that is out of the public domain, where in private people can follow their individual consciences about this, not many seem to care as much about it even though it affects a much larger number of people than the other two issues do.

Seems we don't mind telling others what to do with their bodies, but when it comes down to our own choices we're not eager to draw too much attention to the subject.
 
How is preventing ovulation tantamount to destroying human life?
 
Thomas, I am very glad you have made this reply to my post as it is an issue that really bothers me, one that I feel is unjust, and I would much rather discuss it with a knowledgable and faithful representative of this view/belief than get into polemics and heated argument.

I will say right off the bat that I am going to be in large agreement with many of your points...except that they are not gremane to this discussion. Birth control applies just as much, more so, to the happily married couple as it does to the promiscuous.

OK. well, you know me Lunamoth, and I personally choose to stay out of these kinds of debate, but perhaps I can shed some light ... so what follows is a 'flipside' response to the situation – I'm not saying its right or wrong, I'm saying it needs factoring in the discussion.

The principle here is do we have the right to take a life that might inconvenience us?
A condom prevents the egg and sperm from coming into contact...if it works no fertilization has taken place. Some other types of birth control combine to kill sperm and block sperm before fertilization, but my understanding is that these are also prohibited. The pill and the IUD, probably some others, actually prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg, so I can understand a bit more of life-ethic issue in that case, but in all honesty, expulsion of a one-day-old fertilized egg does not anywhere near equate with abortion or taking away a life.

Also...the point about being an 'inconvenience' is a red herring. There are real issues related to having too many children beyond inconvenience, a burgeoning global population being among them.


Let's not prevaricate. If sex wasn't fun, then we would treat it as a necessity. But it's pleasurable, and the more we fantasies and invest in it, the more we insist that our sexuality defines our nature ... the more pleasurable it is ... so now sex has a place in culture that's out of all proportion to the reality ... consider the dollars spent on cosmetics ... consider that the porn industry was the driving force behind the massive uptake of the domestic video player that surpassed the makers' wildest expectations ... no ther technology comes close to how fast and how widespread the video boom was, and it was all about porn ... so what we really want is all the fun, with none of the consequence ... I want to bew able to drive my car at 150mph, without getting arrested ... it's the same thing.

I agree that in our culture sex is wildly out of balance with all other aspects of healthy human relationships. I can see a role for the Church/religion, in individually helping bring people/families back into balance in this repsect. But, this is not a birth control issue. It's a sex issue. Next.


We want to be absolved of the responsibility ... and the Church ain't gonna do that ...
No, it is not about being absolved of responsibility. It is about being responsible. It is about not having more kids than we can handle. It is about not risking women's health. It is about responsbile global stewardship.


The fact that we enjoy sex, and therefore insist that we should have the right to enjoy it whenever we wish, with whoever we wish, does not stand up to too close a scutiny ... the fact is we should enjoy it as adults as we impress upon our children ... sex is not something to engage in without a view of the possible consequences ... but birth control is precisely a means of avoiding a certain consequence ... and giving someone the means to avoid consequence does not instil a sense of responsibility.

I am talking about sex between married couples. Not whenever, with whoever...that's a red herring again. Teaching responsibility and consequences to our kids...agree completely.

In marriage, after you've had two, three, four children, there are very good reasons to choose not to have more. Health reasons, financial reasons (although I grant you that we can certainly do without many things that we think we 'need.'). Global responsibility reasons.

What is far more tragic these days, is sexual identity determines the person out of all proportion ... we live in a culture obsessed with sex, image, power and masturbation to such a degree that continence or even celibacy seem 'unatural' ... 'choice' has now nothing to do with it, sex, as an act, is regarded as necessary for a full life ... you have to get the idea in perspective before you can fully debate the issue.

I don't have any disagreement with you. Again, birth control applies to married couples, whether they do not want to have any children or whether they have some and do not want to have more. Should they stop having sex? Should they give all additional babies up for adoption?

Is a married couple using a condom really a sin?


But is it ethical to destroy a life that might interfere with our own comfortability?
Barrier methods like the condom, if they work, prevent fertilization.

More effective methods, like the pill, are not about 'comfort.' They are about responsibility as described above.

How can the choice, in this day and age be, stop having sex (even if you are married), or be prepared to give up your children or raise more than you physically, emotionally, or financially can handle?

Is that really the choice the Cathlic Church would ask us to make?


Yes, and they are the first targets of birth control, pressed on them by the wealthy nations. As long, of course, that there's still enough left to make cheap trainers for us.
Red herring, and strawman (and inflammatory!). I am not talking about forcing anyone to use birth control. I am talking about faithful married couples who do not wish to have more children, who are just as much subject to this 'absolute divine law' as anyone else.

And again, 3rd world countries view birth control as emasculating, and everyone knows sex with a virgin cures HIV ... I don't see removing the burden of responsibility makes for more rfesponsible people.
The availability of birth control, and the removal of any authoritative/religious obstacles to using it, can only help people take responsibility for their lives, especially women.


Yes, and the correlate is overpopulation is a result of poverty. People have big families because most of them die, and possessing nothing of any material worth, their offspring become precious. It has been statistically demonstrated that in those areas where there is a reasonable distribution of wealth and access to resources, the population naturally levels out.
And it has been also shown that where women have been educated and given access to medical help and control over their reproductive health, communities have grown stronger and healthier, with better quality of life for everyone.

'Comfortably' is a dangerous word.
I used comfortably intentionally because I know that in the US and UK, many women I would know could afford financially to have many more children than we do. I know one family who adopted eight children with a three bedroom house and one moderate income. More power to them! Boys in one room, girls in the other...and not much but enough to eat and a lot of love.

But there is more than comfort. There is physcial health. There is mental health. I don't know if you've ever known a woman who has dealt with post-partum depression, but it is a serious condition. It is a hell I would not wish on anyone, and to think of women prone to it going through it over and over seems not only unethical, but immoral. Not every woman is a born nurturer, and not every woman is healthy enough to take care of several children.

Here in the UK we have the highest incidence of teenage pregnancy in Europe. Solution? Put all the kids on the pill.
Not a good solution. But abstinance only sex ed does not work...not when those hormones are pumping in adolescents. A better social network and better self-esteem needed to help kids stay out of trouble like this...absolutely. Community is needed, not instant birth control We agree on this I think...but it's not the point of my objection.

Here in London, in fact in Camden (just down the road) we have the highest incidence of STD in Europe. Solution? Not so easy ...

Why is Britain so different to Europe? Perhaps because we're not so Catholic, perhaps because we have an unhealthy preoccupation with sex. Teenage magazine in Europe are about relationships, in UK it's about the correct techniques for oral sex.


I think rampant teenage pregnancy, queses outside abortion clinics and widespread STD are not good exemplars of 'loving kindness' so much as self-gratification...

Again...not what I am addressing. Availability of birth control does not cause these problems, nor does it solve them.

Let's not kid ourselves. 2,000 years ago, people had babies and threw away the ones they didn't want. Nothing's changed, now we've developed more discreet and hygenic means of throwing them away, that's all.

Thomas

Wrong wrong wrong. If you can't see any difference between a fertilized (or even unfertilized) egg and a birthed baby...shame on you!


So much for staying away from polemics. :(
 
Thomas,

Contraception is not about destroying life its about preventing conception. Only recently have we had effective DIY abortion medication. I think you tend to confuse the 2 and I saw no mention of abortion discussion in the OP.

There is a lot of hype about sexual promiscuity in society. In the UK methods for statistical recording have changed as has sexual education. Both help to inflate the figures from historical levels. People are much more likely to have a check up after a fling than they were and so more detections are recorded. Under-age pregnancy is now declining rapidly due to changes in education and housing laws. So it is not quite the picture you paint. Your picture is now out of date.

Sex is fun and it is good for you. It raises endorphin levels, strengthens relationships and even today the vast majority of sex takes place within a genuine relationship. So demonising it is unwarranted.

It is sad that the Catholic church still has not faced the facts yet. Seems to me they entrenched themselves some time ago and only remain so rather than 'lose face' in backing down.

TE
 
I wish I could say, "Go on, do it!" I'm sure half the Catholic Church would, if not more ... but we don't. And wee can't, 'cos' the Boss wouldn't stand for it.

"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
Matthew 5:28.

That's one seriously tough ruling, because what it says is the sin is there in the intention, not just in the act. Same with birth control - the intent is to prevent fertilisation of the egg.

That's the problem with Christianity ... there's no compromise in Jesus ... I mean, when diddd He ever back down?

So I don't see it as the Church living in the past, or being killjoys, or not knowing what it's like ... I do see a Church which holds to a paradigm, and I do see a culture which is founded on dangerously shifting sands ... remember that within the last 50 years both the US and Europe practiced enforced sterilisation and lobotomisationn of those they considered a 'social nuisance' ... and there are many outside the Church who nurture the firm conviction that if Catholicism approved of birth control, it would become law in some states, and be forced upon others by the First World (although this is no argument, really).

And because something's fun, is should be OK, is actually not an argument. And TE – that Camden is the STD hotspot in Europe is about 2 weeks old...

Here's a crazy notion ... continence ... I do not accept the 'people can't help themselves' argument ... if we do, then being human counts for nothing, in my book.

Sorry.

Thomas
 
Isn't there a practical aspect to the Church wanting to have as many members as possible? The more Catholics the more political clout for the Church. Conversions are one way to grow the membership, but growing your own is a far more stable approach, isn't it?
 
I wish I could say, "Go on, do it!" I'm sure half the Catholic Church would, if not more ... but we don't. And wee can't, 'cos' the Boss wouldn't stand for it.

"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
Matthew 5:28.

That's one seriously tough ruling, because what it says is the sin is there in the intention, not just in the act. Same with birth control - the intent is to prevent fertilisation of the egg.

That's the problem with Christianity ... there's no compromise in Jesus ... I mean, when diddd He ever back down?

So I don't see it as the Church living in the past, or being killjoys, or not knowing what it's like ... I do see a Church which holds to a paradigm, and I do see a culture which is founded on dangerously shifting sands ... remember that within the last 50 years both the US and Europe practiced enforced sterilisation and lobotomisationn of those they considered a 'social nuisance' ... and there are many outside the Church who nurture the firm conviction that if Catholicism approved of birth control, it would become law in some states, and be forced upon others by the First World (although this is no argument, really).

And because something's fun, is should be OK, is actually not an argument. And TE – that Camden is the STD hotspot in Europe is about 2 weeks old...

Here's a crazy notion ... continence ... I do not accept the 'people can't help themselves' argument ... if we do, then being human counts for nothing, in my book.

Sorry.

Thomas

But Thomas, all of these reasons only make sense out of the context of a marriage, where the idea is to 'control' promiscusous sex where there is no committment to marriage or children and thus a very real impact on the social sturcture of the community. In marriage where there may be other reasons to control the number of births, this prohibition does not make sense at all. It is not about lust, unless you are not allowed to be sexually turned on by your spouse?

Jesus made no new commandment to be celibate within marriage, except for the procreation of children.

And it's just plain silly to say that if the Catholic Church were to allow it's adherants to use condoms we'd soon be forcing people to use birth control. This is not about making anything mandatory, it's about removing an untenable restriction on birth control for married couples.

:)

luna
 
Thomas: And because something's fun, is should be OK, is actually not an argument.

Verily....i have to disagree ;) Infact I would go further in saying there is no better reason. Work, taxes, finding a parking space, more taxes, trouble with family, bills, politicians lying, thieves stealing, more taxes, car trouble, leaky roof, more taxes,etc etc etc... all can be blown away and you can be left feeling on top of the world just making love to the partner you love. But if it results in a baby every time then.....well its no fun either. Take the fun out of sex and what is left?
 
OK – another tack ...

The question is often discussed as sex v no sex. We like sex and the Church doesn't, cos the Church doesn't like, doesn't want us to enjoy, sex.

That's not what the Church is saying. The Church is saying that sex is not the be-all and end-all of human nature and of human relations, there are other modes of relation, and there are better modes ... and that one's sexual orientation and activity does not define one as a person.

Yet modern western culture cannot conceive of the idea of no sex, of self-chosen celibacy ... somehow celibacy is unnatural and wrong ... and people are blissfully unaware of how they've been sold a lie ... sex is the best product consumerism has in its arsenal, and it's got the vast majority of people thoroughly addicted ... that what consumer society depends on ... users.

Consider ...

The attitude of mind that states that if I enjoy something, I should be allowed to do it. We should have no conscience about sex, within the context of a socially-agreed arrangement (eg marriage - no one is proposing paedophilia, etc.), it is natural, pleasurable, etc., etc.

But our attitude to sex is similar to our attitude to global energy resources, for example. Why can't I drive my car? Why must I recycle? Why should I not eat meat? Why can I not have it all?

This is erotic love. It's love, but its at the physical/material level. As ET suggests, sex is good therapy to get over a stressful day ... but is that all it is? A more pleasurable alternative to dope, booze, jogging, a meal or the TV?

There is another way. Continence. This is the way of agape.

This supposes the human has a tendency to self-gratification (and where a loving couple is involved, the gratification is mutual). This also supposes the human can appreciate self-restraint, and in Catholic context, this self-chosen practice of continence is 'for the sake of the kingdom of heaven' (Matthew 19:11).

Supposing we practiced a bit more continence about our sexual apetites, we embraced abstinence and asceticism, even very generally and minimally, as being spiritually good for us ... what then?

I suggest that in the loss of the sense of union derived from the physical act, other senses and dimensions will become enhanced and clarified – dimensions that perhaps the vast majority are not even interested in exploring, so that precludes that argument.

But I further suggest that by so curtailing our natural apetites and inclinations, a whole raft of global problems, born of the same tendency to self gratification, will find themselves resolved without even noticing.

If one is seriously interested in mysticism, in cultivating the spirit, then sex is off the agenda, because it does what we all know it does, it is a process of sublimation.

Thomas
 
OK – another tack ...

The question is often discussed as sex v no sex. We like sex and the Church doesn't, cos the Church doesn't like, doesn't want us to enjoy, sex.

That's not what the Church is saying. The Church is saying that sex is not the be-all and end-all of human nature and of human relations, there are other modes of relation, and there are better modes ... and that one's sexual orientation and activity does not define one as a person.

Yet modern western culture cannot conceive of the idea of no sex, of self-chosen celibacy ... somehow celibacy is unnatural and wrong ... and people are blissfully unaware of how they've been sold a lie ... sex is the best product consumerism has in its arsenal, and it's got the vast majority of people thoroughly addicted ... that what consumer society depends on ... users.

Consider ...

The attitude of mind that states that if I enjoy something, I should be allowed to do it. We should have no conscience about sex, within the context of a socially-agreed arrangement (eg marriage - no one is proposing paedophilia, etc.), it is natural, pleasurable, etc., etc.

But our attitude to sex is similar to our attitude to global energy resources, for example. Why can't I drive my car? Why must I recycle? Why should I not eat meat? Why can I not have it all?

This is erotic love. It's love, but its at the physical/material level. As ET suggests, sex is good therapy to get over a stressful day ... but is that all it is? A more pleasurable alternative to dope, booze, jogging, a meal or the TV?

There is another way. Continence. This is the way of agape.

This supposes the human has a tendency to self-gratification (and where a loving couple is involved, the gratification is mutual). This also supposes the human can appreciate self-restraint, and in Catholic context, this self-chosen practice of continence is 'for the sake of the kingdom of heaven' (Matthew 19:11).

Supposing we practiced a bit more continence about our sexual apetites, we embraced abstinence and asceticism, even very generally and minimally, as being spiritually good for us ... what then?

I suggest that in the loss of the sense of union derived from the physical act, other senses and dimensions will become enhanced and clarified – dimensions that perhaps the vast majority are not even interested in exploring, so that precludes that argument.

But I further suggest that by so curtailing our natural apetites and inclinations, a whole raft of global problems, born of the same tendency to self gratification, will find themselves resolved without even noticing.

If one is seriously interested in mysticism, in cultivating the spirit, then sex is off the agenda, because it does what we all know it does, it is a process of sublimation.

Thomas

Hi Thomas,

Thank you for your replies, and again I will say that I am very appreciative that you chose to reply, knowing the unpopular position you'd be defending.

The above appeals to me in a sense, and I agree with the idea of not needing to give in to every urge. But the path of aceticism is not for everyone and I would say that within the bounds of marriage, it just defies all reasonability that the only time a married couple should have sexual intercourse is when they are prepared to conceive, or while the wife is already preganant. For fertile couples, this could boil down to only having sexual intercourse less than a dozen times thorughout the course of a life-long marriage. Yes, this is the extreme example, but because this law is absolute, the faithful are not part of the Body if they disobey, the extreme situation needs to be considered. Frankly, this kind of absolute decree defies logic and, I think, also defies Love.

I think that, on the ground so to speak, the Catholic Church is in fact lenient about this law for married couples, as the example in the OP about my friend shows.

luna
 
As one of many products of a Catholic marriage in a Catholic controlled state, I am trying not to blow my top in relation to religion and birth control.

The hypocrisy of the Catholic church to tell people how to live their lives, while within the church there were numerous scandals and abuses going on.

Religion as social control, no thanks :mad:

cheers,

Ardenz
 
Hi Lunamoth –

Yes, this is the extreme example, but because this law is absolute...

There's the rub – Jesus' words are taken as absolute by the RC/EO denominations ... one can't negotiate with God, as it were ... (in fact one can, as the OT shows, and prayer helps!)

the faithful are not part of the Body if they disobey, the extreme situation needs to be considered.
Luckily, mercy forms the greater part of God's plan. Off the top of my head I would say that Christ, and thus God, does not condemn man for weakness, but wilfulness, if you see the distinction.

Frankly, this kind of absolute decree defies logic and, I think, also defies Love.
If I got you in front of a Doctor of Canon Law (and I've seen 2 in action), then you'd see that it is absolutely and clinically logical ... it's our sentiments that confuse the issue ...

Love, meanwhile, is in the very fact that God does not hold our faults against us ... for Jesus to say 'forgive them' as they're pounding a nail through His wrists defies human logic, and defines love ...

I think that, on the ground so to speak, the Catholic Church is in fact lenient about this law for married couples, as the example in the OP about my friend shows.
I think the distance between what people think the Church says, and what the Church actually says, and what the Church does about what it says ... is astronomical. I've had discussions with Dominican Monks about such issues as this, and worse (receiving the Eucharist whilst knowingly not in a 'state of grace') and the answer was always the same:
"Do you feel the call to come?"
"Yes."
"Then come ... if Christ calls, who am I to turn you away?"

What people forget, is that the Church cannot rule according to the exception – She must do and stand by what She knows to be right, even though she knows that no-one can live up to the paradigm She presents ... so what to do, dumb down? Lower one's expectations? Become reasonable? Bend with the times, go with the flow...

... Personally, I hope not.

But I do know my own faults, and I have come to know that, even in my fault, I can sense the Church in my blood, as life, warmth, health, vitality ...

... that robber on the cross that I am, She loves me.

How can I not love Her in return?

+++

Anyway ... it's Trinity Essay weekend, the missus is away up to Yorkshire to see her brother, the girls are out playing in the street with cars, boys, dirty needles, whatever, so long as they're out from under my feet, and my feet are tucked under my desk, with books, coffee and biscuits aplenty!

Thomas
 
Here's a curio ...

One of the two Canon Lawyers I spoke about has a reputation that goes before him, on matters of Law and Doctrine, Fr G 'takes no prisoners... ' Our course tutor told us that if he doesn't really upset one person on the course, then we haven't been asking the right questions. Suffice to say, he'd be as popular round here as ... I dread to think ...

This is a man who taught himself French to do a Doctorate (so not conversational French), and then taught himself Italian cos the Vatican wants him in Rome to teach what he has learnt. Anyway ...

When in the UK he works in a parish in one of the depressed cities of the English Midlands, once an organ of that mighty industrial machine, now slipping slowly into poverty and decline. His parish is what is euphemistically called 'depressed', with rampant crime, drug abuse, poor housing, unemployment, low expectation ... etc.

So when people visit, Fr G says, 'come and have a walk round the parish with me.' Now this is a man who is an absolute martinet on matters of ecclesial legislation, and as said, 'brooks no crapulence' and 'takes no prisoners.' If you have a pop at the Church, he pops right back, and with no reserve and no niceties ... he's the kind of guy makes bishops break out in a sweat.

So, as two people have told me, as they walk round, gangs of frightening-looking kids on street corners smile and shout, "Yo Fr G!", the hookers cross the road to speak to him cos they know his eyesight's terrible (a Divine joke, surely, the man's mind is so sharp it makes a laser look wooly, and he's as blind his glasses are about an inch thick), in fact everyone wants to say hello ...

It's a funny old world, isn't it?

Thomas
 
Here's a curio ...

One of the two Canon Lawyers I spoke about has a reputation that goes before him, on matters of Law and Doctrine, Fr G 'takes no prisoners... ' Our course tutor told us that if he doesn't really upset one person on the course, then we haven't been asking the right questions. Suffice to say, he'd be as popular round here as ... I dread to think ...

This is a man who taught himself French to do a Doctorate (so not conversational French), and then taught himself Italian cos the Vatican wants him in Rome to teach what he has learnt. Anyway ...

When in the UK he works in a parish in one of the depressed cities of the English Midlands, once an organ of that mighty industrial machine, now slipping slowly into poverty and decline. His parish is what is euphemistically called 'depressed', with rampant crime, drug abuse, poor housing, unemployment, low expectation ... etc.

So when people visit, Fr G says, 'come and have a walk round the parish with me.' Now this is a man who is an absolute martinet on matters of ecclesial legislation, and as said, 'brooks no crapulence' and 'takes no prisoners.' If you have a pop at the Church, he pops right back, and with no reserve and no niceties ... he's the kind of guy makes bishops break out in a sweat.

So, as two people have told me, as they walk round, gangs of frightening-looking kids on street corners smile and shout, "Yo Fr G!", the hookers cross the road to speak to him cos they know his eyesight's terrible (a Divine joke, surely, the man's mind is so sharp it makes a laser look wooly, and he's as blind his glasses are about an inch thick), in fact everyone wants to say hello ...

It's a funny old world, isn't it?

Thomas

Even the churches have Saints!!! :D

The Church is saying that sex is not the be-all and end-all of human nature and of human relations,
Unless you are a porn star this much is obvious to everyone. But when at last, ( which is when at last we have time and space to be together with our partner for some intamacy), we do have it then it should be fun!! Not just to fill the aisles with the next generation of donation givers.
 
Great post Thomas, but about this part:

There's the rub – Jesus' words are taken as absolute by the RC/EO denominations ... one can't negotiate with God, as it were ... (in fact one can, as the OT shows, and prayer helps!)

I don't see where "Thou shalt not use a condom" comes from Jesus' words.


And, for that matter, if avoiding conception by using a condom is not allowed, why is avoiding conception by using the rythym method allowed? One uses a physical barrier, the other uses a time barrier...why is one acceptable and the other not?


Anyway ... it's Trinity Essay weekend, the missus is away up to Yorkshire to see her brother, the girls are out playing in the street with cars, boys, dirty needles, whatever, so long as they're out from under my feet, and my feet are tucked under my desk, with books, coffee and biscuits aplenty!

Thomas

Have a good weekend. :)

luna
 
And, for that matter, if avoiding conception by using a condom is not allowed, why is avoiding conception by using the rythym method allowed? One uses a physical barrier, the other uses a time barrier...why is one acceptable and the other not?

Because one is natural, and the other isn't? It's a good question, as the intention in using the natural method is the same, the avoidance of conception ...

Thomas
 
"go forth and multiply" (a quote from the Bible)

Every Sperm Is Sacred Lyrics, Artist: Monty Python
Album: The Meaning Of Life

DAD:
There are Jews in the world.
There are Buddhists.
There are Hindus and Mormons, and then
There are those that follow Mohammed, but
I've never been one of them.

I'm a Roman Catholic,
And have been since before I was born,
And the one thing they say about Catholics is:
They'll take you as soon as you're warm.

You don't have to be a six-footer.
You don't have to have a great brain.
You don't have to have any clothes on. You're
A Catholic the moment Dad came,

Because

Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.

CHILDREN:
Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.

GIRL:
Let the heathen spill theirs
On the dusty ground.
God shall make them pay for
Each sperm that can't be found.

CHILDREN:
Every sperm is wanted.
Every sperm is good.
Every sperm is needed
In your neighbourhood.

MUM:
Hindu, Taoist, Mormon,
Spill theirs just anywhere,
But God loves those who treat their
Semen with more care.

MEN:
Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
WOMEN:
If a sperm is wasted,...
CHILDREN:
...God get quite irate.

PRIEST:
Every sperm is sacred.
BRIDE and GROOM:
Every sperm is good.
NANNIES:
Every sperm is needed...
CARDINALS:
...In your neighbourhood!

CHILDREN:
Every sperm is useful.
Every sperm is fine.
FUNERAL CORTEGE:
God needs everybody's.
MOURNER #1:
Mine!
MOURNER #2:
And mine!
CORPSE:
And mine!

NUN:
Let the Pagan spill theirs
O'er mountain, hill, and plain.
HOLY STATUES:
God shall strike them down for
Each sperm that's spilt in vain.

EVERYONE:
Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is good.
Every sperm is needed
In your neighbourhood.

Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite iraaaaaate!
 
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