Tag Archive | "papal infallibility"

Church and Contraceptives: Stripping off the Rationalizations

Pope Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae "On the Regulation of Birth" in 1968

A few days ago the CBCP issued a statement exhorting the proposed bills on sex education and reproductive health, saying that “the foundation of the moral society is a central religious truth” and that “to disregard moral and religious truths…is to be defenseless to the onslaught of corruption.”

At first I thought about refuting those claims by challenging the following:

  1. the credibility of the CBCP as guardian of morality considering the scandals within the clergy’s own ranks
  2. the unspoken assumption that the pope from whom the church gets its dogma is a true recipient and infallible interpreter of divine revelation
  3. the unspoken assumption that their particular brand of deity/Lawgiver exists

But then I realized that others have already done that so I moved on to another part of the CBCP statement and found the following assertions:

a. The failures (sic) rates of contraceptives against sexually transmitted diseases are high.

b. Oral contraceptive pills are classified as Group I carcinogenic, i.e., “there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity.”

c. With its very liberal sex education programs and its aggressive attitude in pushing contraceptives and condoms for safe sex, the United States still has the highest teen birth rate, 93.0 per 1000, and one of the highest rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) among teens in the industrialized world.

Again I considered countering these assertions or at least putting them into proper perspective but I figured that my fellow freethinkers could do a better job and so I started a thread in the FF forum and I am very greatful for their insights.

The debate on contraception has become convoluted with all these talks of morality, STDs, and poverty that we’ve digressed from the real issue: More than 40 years ago a pope wrote in an encyclical deemed infallible that ‎”an act of mutual love which impairs the capacity to transmit life which God the Creator, through specific laws, has built into it, frustrates His design which constitutes the norm of marriage, and contradicts the will of the Author of life. Hence to use this divine gift while depriving it, even if only partially, of its meaning and purpose, is equally repugnant to the nature of man and of woman, and is consequently in opposition to the plan of God and His holy will.”

Now unless someone comes up with a sophisticated interpretation, I guess the bottom line here is that sex must be kept open for procreation. Lest we muddle the issue with arguments on contraceptive pills that have an abortifacient effect no matter how improbable, let us narrow it down by using condoms as a concrete example, particularly the use of condoms between married couples versus natural family planning. Since the CBCP condemns the former but approves the latter, one is compelled to ask if it isn’t against Humanae Vitae to have sex during the wife’s infertile period considering they are using this “divine gift while depriving it…of its meaning and purpose”. I couldn’t have said it better than fellow freethinker Igme:

What is the difference between ejaculating sperm in latex and ejaculating it in a uterus in its monthly off switch? The intent is the same!

In both cases, the intent is to enjoy the divine gift of sex while depriving it of its procreational purpose. Again, it would be interesting to hear those elaborate arguments that would tell me I’m interpreting Humanae Vitae literally (and incorrectly), because it seems that those statements about condoms being ineffective in preventing the spread of STDs and contraceptives promoting immorality are all just rationalizations to protect the claim that a pope is infallible once he speaks ex-cathedra, which was the case when he wrote the encyclical.

Once we strip off these rationalizations, the real issue becomes clear. Condoms vs. rhythm. Both make sex possible while denying God’s procreational design. So why ban the former but not the latter? I think the answer on condoms is simple: it’s forbidden in Humanae Vitae. However, I’m not so sure why the Church allows rhythm, but I hope my assumption is wrong that they’re simply concerned they might start losing followers once they took away too much of a married couple’s carnal pleasures.

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