The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


On condoms, a lesson from Humanae Vitae

posted by jmcgee

“The Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from–provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever.”

Humanae Vitae, issued in 1968.

Read the whole thing here.



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Gerard Nadal

posted November 21, 2010 at 3:39 pm


All people want to hear is that they have permission to fornicate without consequence.
Then married people will resent being made to refrain from contraception while the singles and the gays get to use contraceptives to aid in their fornicating without consequences.
Humanae Vitae turned inside out.



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Nicholas E. Wentworth

posted November 21, 2010 at 6:08 pm


Dear Mr. Nadal,
I’m not sure I totally understand you. I see how there might be resentment from some married couples as gays and singles will be able to use protection, but the married couples don’t need protection. Why prescribe a medicine to people who aren’t sick? On the other hand, the homosexual community has a high risk infection of HIV. Of course it would be best if they did not engage in fornication at all, but we cannot expect a shift in culture as dramatic as that so quickly. The Church should work to that point, but in the meantime, isn’t it important that the homosexuals are allowed to protect themselves from the scourge of AIDS? The issue is slightly different for single heterosexuals but shouldn’t they also be able to protect themselves from this disease?
If fairness is an issue, that its not fair that single heterosexuals and homosexuals get to use condoms and married couples do not, well, since when has life been fair? Couldn’t the homosexual community say that its not fair that they cannot marry. Please help me understand your position.



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Aquinas

posted November 21, 2010 at 9:03 pm


Dr. Nadal,
I believe you are making a pastoral point.
But I think it is wrong.
If married people resent this, then it is the resentment that ought to be addressed. Those fornicating are already engaging in sin and are obviously not to be envied for this! It is indeed those who are chaste, including married couples who give to each other openly as the Church teaches who are to be envied (in a good way).
If a married couple does not understand this, then it is simply yet another symptom of poor catechesis, same as Nicholas pointed out, the poor cathechesis that leads some to think that ‘fairness’, especially the irrational fairness that you point to, is part of Catholic doctrine. This uninformed understanding of Church teaching is precisely why we have all the problems we do now.
I think what Pope Benedict has done – by perhaps inadvertently occupying the airwaves – is a good thing. For too long, the ‘others’ have been setting the agenda and putting church teaching on the defensive. It is time to occupy the space and set the agenda, and this means that not everything the Pope and others say will be carefully crafted and nuanced. But that’s okay. He shouldn’t run scared. He’s smart enough (and orthodox enough) that he can handle it.



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Howard

posted November 21, 2010 at 11:57 pm


What bodily disease does a condom CURE?



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Gerard Nadal

posted November 22, 2010 at 12:31 am


“Of course it would be best if they did not engage in fornication at all, but we cannot expect a shift in culture as dramatic as that so quickly.”
Cultures are made of individuals exercising free will choices. Unless you are willing to concede that gays do not act freely, but rather by compulsion, then you must hold that theirs is behavior freely engaged in, and can be changed at will.
As for my point, it’s simple. Humanae Vitae addresses the right use of human sexuality. There is no room for condom sage in that. Period.
To help facilitate fornication without consequence (via condom usage) would be disheartening/ provocative toward marries couples who may seek condom usage for contraceptive purposes.



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Eka

posted November 22, 2010 at 12:58 am


“the singles and the gays get to use contraceptives to aid in their fornicating without consequences.”
But Gerard, do you really think that’s what the pope was saying?



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Puzzled

posted November 22, 2010 at 2:53 am


Why is abstinance acceptable and condoms (not 100% infallible) are not where the intent in both cases is to avoid unwanted pregnancies? Are couples who have been married many years doomed to risk high risk pregnancies? Humans are not animals that engage in sex solely to procreate, humans love their mates, i.e., spouses, why is sex, a major component of love between momogamous couples treated as a sin? Thank you for your time and God bless you.



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oldestof9

posted November 22, 2010 at 8:22 am


Puzzled…
You have obviously have not watched many animals for any length of time(my chickens come to mind)
There is no way that any animal who copulates that many times in an hour has the sole intention of procreation. They may not love their mate(s) but they surely love the act.



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Christina

posted November 22, 2010 at 10:33 am


Puzzled, the catholic church sees contraception as wrong not because it sees sex as bad, but because it sees sex as an icon of the love of the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit love each other completely, holding nothing back. This love spilled over to create the universe. Catholics believe that sex in an encounter with God and a foretaste of our eternal destiny (union with God and humanity in ecstasy in Heaven). Through sex we also share in the creative power of God; we are ministers of it. God gave us our sexuality to point us toward Heaven and the truth of the love of the Trinity. When people contracept, they tell a lie with their bodies (“I love you, but I don’t want all of you or I don’t want to give all of me to you”). Since sex is an icon of the Trinitarian love, they also tell a lie about God (God always loves fully, holding nothing back.). Last, they shut God out of the act, which He has given as a supreme gift, and potentially thwart His desire to bring into the world an individual that He has has loved from all eternity. In short, the Church has so many rules about sex because it views sex as one of the most sacred things, and an icon of God. Evil would like to trivialize sex, distorting our view of God, prevent our union with God, and thwart God’s plan of creation.



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Howard

posted November 22, 2010 at 11:02 am


Let me be more specific.
“The Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from–provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever.”
That would pertain, for example, to chemotherapy that might render a person sterile. The purpose of the chemotherapy is to cure cancer; it has nothing directly to do with either sex or contraception except in a disagreeable side effect.
Condoms do not cure HIV infection. They don’t even treat it to prevent the development of full-fledged AIDS. What they may do is make possible some form of sexual intercourse with a reduced risk of transmitting the disease. This is not the situation discussed in Humanae Vitae.



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JosephW

posted November 22, 2010 at 11:42 am


Sex is not a sin and that is not the Church’s teaching. It should not be used for self pleasure, but where both husband and wife give to each other their total love. The ultimate love comes in the form of a life and we are called to be open to.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted November 22, 2010 at 4:29 pm


Abstinence is far more fallible than condoms since far far many more people use condoms instead of forgoing sex.
Abstinence didn’t work for either of the Palin women – because neither of them were abstinent.
Get it yet?
P.W.
Greg, please stop deleting posts just because you happen not to agree with them.
[GOP…if I delete something, it’s because it’s offensive, hateful or anti-Catholic, not because I disagree with it. You’d be surprised how many posts I leave up that I don’t agree with. Dcn. G.]



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RomCath

posted November 22, 2010 at 6:21 pm


“Abstinence is far more fallible than condoms since far far many more people use condoms instead of forgoing sex.”
So you are saying that people are incapable of controlling their urges? Perhaps they need help.



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kvk

posted November 22, 2010 at 8:39 pm


As a traditional Catholic woman who has worked in the field of HIV/AIDS for twenty years I am thrilled to see the Pope “get it”. In this instance the condom is not about preventing contraception, it’s about saving lives. And yes, I have email His Holiness a couple of times explaining what a ‘godsend’ the use of condoms would be in saving lives!
Many people around the world do not enjoy the privledge of many the choices we do. Many women have no control what so every over their own bodies. This particular use of condoms will hopefully save precious lives and educate people to respect their bodies.



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Your Name

posted November 24, 2010 at 4:15 pm


“So you are saying that people are incapable of controlling their urges?”
Well, DUH!!!, as the kids used to say. That’s kind of the POINT.



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