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The Catholic Route to Birth Control

Irish Hermit

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"Ego te absolvo." The Catholic Route to Birth Control

The Church forbids contraceptive methods. But it has always been more indulgent in the confessional, not only today but also in the past. Here is what priests did in the first half of the twentieth century, in one of the most Christianized areas of Italy

ROME, September 8, 2010 – It is believed to be one of the most reliable proofs of the relentless advance of secularization: the contrast thought to have been created between Church teaching on contraception and the actual behavior of the population, including observant Catholics.

In reality, the divergence between the teaching, for example, of "Humanae Vitae" and the contraceptive practices in use among the faithful is by no means a new development in recent decades....

Article is at
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1344650?eng=y
 

Irish Hermit

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This confirms what I have been saying about Catholics and birth control for years past. In the process I have had my ears boxed frequently and called nasty names, but here we are.... I was pretty much on target
 

synLeszka

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Irish Hermit said:
This confirms what I have been saying about Catholics and birth control for years past. In the process I have had my ears boxed frequently and called nasty names, but here we are.... I was pretty much on target
I am new here. Please tell me what  is Orthodoxy's official stance on anticonception.
 

Irish Hermit

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synLeszka said:
Irish Hermit said:
This confirms what I have been saying about Catholics and birth control for years past. In the process I have had my ears boxed frequently and called nasty names, but here we are.... I was pretty much on target
I am new here. Please tell me what  is Orthodoxy's official stance on anticonception.
Answering that will derail the focus of the OP which is Catholic birth control.

If you click on the "Contraception" tag at the bottom of the messages, it will take you to many threads which answer your question.
 

ialmisry

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It is not clear what is being read into the stats.  For one thing, in the 20's accurate information on the rhythm method became available and began to be promoted by the Vatican's clergy.  On what basis does this study conclude that coitus interruptus was the main method?  Didn't the Italians know in the first half of the 20th century about that method?

I'm trying to find where I came across that in the 1800's the Vatican instructed the confessors to recommend the rhythm method over coitus interruptus, which would be the real sea change according to the basis the Vatican seeks for its basis of its present day teaching: those fathers it cites as against ABC rail against NFP too.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
"Ego te absolvo." The Catholic Route to Birth Control

The Church forbids contraceptive methods. But it has always been more indulgent in the confessional, not only today but also in the past. Here is what priests did in the first half of the twentieth century, in one of the most Christianized areas of Italy

ROME, September 8, 2010 – It is believed to be one of the most reliable proofs of the relentless advance of secularization: the contrast thought to have been created between Church teaching on contraception and the actual behavior of the population, including observant Catholics.

In reality, the divergence between the teaching, for example, of "Humanae Vitae" and the contraceptive practices in use among the faithful is by no means a new development in recent decades....

Article is at
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1344650?eng=y
This is like arguing that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on masterbation because almost all Catholic men have masterbated at one time or that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on lying, because almot all Catholics have lied at some point.
"It's not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting. It's that Christianity has been found hard, and left untried." -G.K. Chesterton
 

ialmisry

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Papist said:
Irish Hermit said:
"Ego te absolvo." The Catholic Route to Birth Control

The Church forbids contraceptive methods. But it has always been more indulgent in the confessional, not only today but also in the past. Here is what priests did in the first half of the twentieth century, in one of the most Christianized areas of Italy

ROME, September 8, 2010 – It is believed to be one of the most reliable proofs of the relentless advance of secularization: the contrast thought to have been created between Church teaching on contraception and the actual behavior of the population, including observant Catholics.

In reality, the divergence between the teaching, for example, of "Humanae Vitae" and the contraceptive practices in use among the faithful is by no means a new development in recent decades....

Article is at
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1344650?eng=y
This is like arguing that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on masterbation because almost all Catholic men have masterbated at one time
And your women don't?  I ask that as reading the Vatican's citations on its teaching, it seems its authorities are only barely aware of women (and want to keep it that way), and I once asked a seminarian with Jesuit training if female masterbation was morally wrong and he was stumped.

or that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on lying, because almot all Catholics have lied at some point.
I'll give you that.

"It's not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting. It's that Christianity has been found hard, and left untried." -G.K. Chesterton
That quote has interesting implications for celibates expounding on married life.
 

Irish Hermit

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Papist said:
Irish Hermit said:
"Ego te absolvo." The Catholic Route to Birth Control

The Church forbids contraceptive methods. But it has always been more indulgent in the confessional, not only today but also in the past. Here is what priests did in the first half of the twentieth century, in one of the most Christianized areas of Italy

ROME, September 8, 2010 – It is believed to be one of the most reliable proofs of the relentless advance of secularization: the contrast thought to have been created between Church teaching on contraception and the actual behavior of the population, including observant Catholics.

In reality, the divergence between the teaching, for example, of "Humanae Vitae" and the contraceptive practices in use among the faithful is by no means a new development in recent decades....

Article is at
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1344650?eng=y
This is like arguing that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on masterbation because almost all Catholic men have masterbated at one time or that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on lying, because almot all Catholics have lied at some point.
"It's not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting. It's that Christianity has been found hard, and left untried." -G.K. Chesterton
The crux of this matter is not in what you are writing.  It has been stated here very eloquently by Mary and others that the Pope is infallible when he expresses the mind of the Church.  What this article helps to show is that the current teaching on contraception is not the mind of the Church.  But we have known that all along ever since the time of the writing of Humanae Vitae.  At that time the majority opinion was very much against such a teaching.  Indeed the majority of the Papal Commission created by the Pope to advise him on the matter was against the teaching which ended up in the Encyclical.  The Pope instead went with was is now known as the Minority Opinion.    Plainly lacking the consent of the Church and being contrary to the mind of the Church the teaching in Humanae Vitae cannot claim to be an infallible expression of the truth of the Church.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Papist said:
Irish Hermit said:
"Ego te absolvo." The Catholic Route to Birth Control

The Church forbids contraceptive methods. But it has always been more indulgent in the confessional, not only today but also in the past. Here is what priests did in the first half of the twentieth century, in one of the most Christianized areas of Italy

ROME, September 8, 2010 – It is believed to be one of the most reliable proofs of the relentless advance of secularization: the contrast thought to have been created between Church teaching on contraception and the actual behavior of the population, including observant Catholics.

In reality, the divergence between the teaching, for example, of "Humanae Vitae" and the contraceptive practices in use among the faithful is by no means a new development in recent decades....

Article is at
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1344650?eng=y
This is like arguing that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on masterbation because almost all Catholic men have masterbated at one time or that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on lying, because almot all Catholics have lied at some point.
"It's not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting. It's that Christianity has been found hard, and left untried." -G.K. Chesterton
The crux of this matter is not in what you are writing.  It has been stated here very eloquently by Mary and others that the Pope is infallible when he expresses the mind of the Church.  What this article helps to show is that the current teaching on contraception is not the mind of the Church.  But we have known that all along ever since the time of the writing of Humanae Vitae.   At that time the majority opinion was very much against such a teaching.  Indeed the majority of the Papal Commission created by the Pope to advise him on the matter was against the teaching which ended up in the Encyclical.  The Pope instead went with was is now known as the Minority Opinion.    Plainly lacking the consent of the Church and being contrary to the mind of the Church the teaching in Humanae Vitae cannot claim to be an infallible expression of the truth of the Church.
Aw, I think you are missing Chesterton's "democracy of the dead here". The Pope did, in fact, have the consent of the Church if you were to look back at 1900 years of tradition. For 1900 years, the Church clearly taught that contraception was wrong and this demonstrates a clear consensus among Catholics. The twentieth century, is clearly an anomoly, and should not be considered the measure of the sensus fidei which preserves the deposit of the Christian faith.
 

elijahmaria

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Irish Hermit said:
Papist said:
Irish Hermit said:
"Ego te absolvo." The Catholic Route to Birth Control

The Church forbids contraceptive methods. But it has always been more indulgent in the confessional, not only today but also in the past. Here is what priests did in the first half of the twentieth century, in one of the most Christianized areas of Italy

ROME, September 8, 2010 – It is believed to be one of the most reliable proofs of the relentless advance of secularization: the contrast thought to have been created between Church teaching on contraception and the actual behavior of the population, including observant Catholics.

In reality, the divergence between the teaching, for example, of "Humanae Vitae" and the contraceptive practices in use among the faithful is by no means a new development in recent decades....

Article is at
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1344650?eng=y
This is like arguing that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on masterbation because almost all Catholic men have masterbated at one time or that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on lying, because almot all Catholics have lied at some point.
"It's not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting. It's that Christianity has been found hard, and left untried." -G.K. Chesterton
The crux of this matter is not in what you are writing.  It has been stated here very eloquently by Mary and others that the Pope is infallible when he expresses the mind of the Church.  What this article helps to show is that the current teaching on contraception is not the mind of the Church.  But we have known that all along ever since the time of the writing of Humanae Vitae.   At that time the majority opinion was very much against such a teaching.  Indeed the majority of the Papal Commission created by the Pope to advise him on the matter was against the teaching which ended up in the Encyclical.  The Pope instead went with was is now known as the Minority Opinion.    Plainly lacking the consent of the Church and being contrary to the mind of the Church the teaching in Humanae Vitae cannot claim to be an infallible expression of the truth of the Church.
Majority doesn't rule in Orthodoxy either.  I have heard solidly anti-papal Orthodox declare that the Church is not a democracy!!

M.
 

ialmisry

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Papist said:
Irish Hermit said:
Papist said:
Irish Hermit said:
"Ego te absolvo." The Catholic Route to Birth Control

The Church forbids contraceptive methods. But it has always been more indulgent in the confessional, not only today but also in the past. Here is what priests did in the first half of the twentieth century, in one of the most Christianized areas of Italy

ROME, September 8, 2010 – It is believed to be one of the most reliable proofs of the relentless advance of secularization: the contrast thought to have been created between Church teaching on contraception and the actual behavior of the population, including observant Catholics.

In reality, the divergence between the teaching, for example, of "Humanae Vitae" and the contraceptive practices in use among the faithful is by no means a new development in recent decades....

Article is at
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1344650?eng=y
This is like arguing that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on masterbation because almost all Catholic men have masterbated at one time or that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on lying, because almot all Catholics have lied at some point.
"It's not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting. It's that Christianity has been found hard, and left untried." -G.K. Chesterton
The crux of this matter is not in what you are writing.  It has been stated here very eloquently by Mary and others that the Pope is infallible when he expresses the mind of the Church.  What this article helps to show is that the current teaching on contraception is not the mind of the Church.  But we have known that all along ever since the time of the writing of Humanae Vitae.   At that time the majority opinion was very much against such a teaching.  Indeed the majority of the Papal Commission created by the Pope to advise him on the matter was against the teaching which ended up in the Encyclical.  The Pope instead went with was is now known as the Minority Opinion.    Plainly lacking the consent of the Church and being contrary to the mind of the Church the teaching in Humanae Vitae cannot claim to be an infallible expression of the truth of the Church.
Aw, I think you are missing Chesterton's "democracy of the dead here". The Pope did, in fact, have the consent of the Church if you were to look back at 1900 years of tradition. For 1900 years, the Church clearly taught that contraception was wrong and this demonstrates a clear consensus among Catholics. The twentieth century, is clearly an anomoly, and should not be considered the measure of the sensus fidei which preserves the deposit of the Christian faith.
The "clear teaching" that Humanae Vitae apparently depends on (I cite the apologia for it, as it doesn't cite patristics on this at all) does not include HV in that consensus, as it is a tradition which abhors sexuality (but not gender: it is rather misogynist) in general and sex in particular, and basically teaches that if weak individuals succumb to their animal urges, then the only excuse is to procreate and serve as breeders for the monastic orders-Jerome's "I praise marriage because it gives me virgins."

This distinction in the teaching that the Vatican accepted from St. Jerome and his ilk appears in 1852, long before the Lambeth Conference:
The very concept of “rhythm” was first considered by the Catholic Church in 1853. The Bishop of Amiens, France, submitted the following question to the Sacred Penitentiary:

“Certain married couples, relying on the opinion of learned physicians, are convinced that there are several days each month in which conception cannot occur. Are those who do not use the marriage right except on such days to be disturbed, especially if they have legitimate reasons for abstaining from the conjugal act?”

On March 2, 1853, the Sacred Penitentiary (during the reign of Pope Pius IX) answered as follows:

“Those spoken of in the request are not to be disturbed, providing that they do nothing to impede conception.”

Another reference to rhythm appeared in 1880. Fr. Le Conte submitted the following questions to the Sacred Penitentiary:

“Whether married couples may have intercourse during such sterile periods without committing mortal or venial sin?”

“Whether the confessor may suggest such a procedure either to the wife who detests the onanism of her husband but cannot correct him, or to either spouse who shrinks from having numerous children?”

The response of the Sacred Penitentiary (during the reign of Pope Leo XIII), dated June 16, 1880, was:

“Married couples who use their marriage right in the aforesaid manner are not to be disturbed, and the confessor may suggest the opinion in question, cautiously, however, to those married people whom he has tried in vain by other means to dissuade from the detestable crime of onanism.”
http://www.cmri.org/03-nfp.html

Contrast that with Jerome, Lactantius et alia
Clement of Alexandria

"To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature" (ibid. 2:10:95:3).

Lactantius

"[Some] complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power . . . or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife" (<Divine Institutes> 6:20 [A.D. 3o7]).

Lactantius

"God gave us eyes not to see and desire pleasure, but to see acts to be performed for the needs of life; so too, the genital ['generating'] part of the body, as the name itself teaches, has been received by us for no other purpose than the generation of offspring" (ibid. 6:23:18).

Jerome

"But I wonder why he [the heretic Jovinianus] set Judah and Tamar before us for an example, unless perchance even harlots give him pleasure; or Onan, who was slain because he grudged his brother seed. Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children?" (<Against Jovinian> 1: 19 [A.D. 393]).

Augustine

"For thus the eternal law, that is, the will of God creator of all creatures, taking counsel for the conservation of natural order, not to serve lust, but to see to the preservation of the race, permits the delight of mortal flesh to be released from the control of reason in copulation only to propagate progeny" (ibid., 22:30).
http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/FKBCONTR.HTM

The fact of this change, introducing a distinction between ABC and NFP leads to some interesting eisogesis: from the same EWTN site:
Letter of Barnabas

"Moreover, he [Moses] has rightly detested the weasel [Lev. 11 :29]. For he means, 'Thou shalt not be like to those whom we hear of as committing wickedness with the mouth with the body through uncleanness [orally consummated sex]; nor shalt thou be joined to those impure women who commit iniquity with the mouth with the body through uncleanness"' (<Letter of Barnabas> 10:8 [A.D. 74]).
There is no hint of "consumated" (i.e. ejaculation) at all in the passage. "Barnabas" abhors oral sex (amongst other things). Period.  It is being read into the text here to serve the new (for the Vatican) teaching on the matter.  To that end the apologists make use of feminist studies and other dubious sources, for instance:
The operative words, to be quoted in context are: “Thou shalt not use magic (ou mageuseis); thou shalt not use drugs (ou pharmakeusis).” It is reasonable to conclude that the double prohibition refers to contraception and abortion because these terms (mageia) and (pharmaka) were understood to cover the use of magical rites and/or medical potions for both contraception and abortion. Moreover, the context in the Didache refers to sex activity and the right to life.
http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Abortion_Euthanasia/Abortion_Euthanasia_004.htm
Feminst studies have claimed that the witch craze of the renaissance (yes, although these studies don't dwell on or mention that fact, they didn't happen during the "dark" Middle Ages) was to persecute women, by cutting off the source of contraceptions, the women herbalists.  It is things like this which do continue the dependence of this mentality on appeals to 'natural law" (which HV nearly only argues, besides an appeal to magisterium authority), something its apologia also cite the Fathers on. From the same site of Fr. Hardon:
It is in this context that the following stricture of contraception was made.  Marriage in itself merits esteem and the highest approval, for the Lord wished men to “be fruitful and multiply.” He did not tell them, however, to act like libertines, nor did He intend them to surrender themselves to pleasure as though born only to indulge in sexual relations. Let the Educator (Christ) put us to shame with the word Exechiel: “Put away your fornications.” Why, even unreasoning beasts know enough not to mate at certain times. To indulge in intercourse without intending children is to outrage nature, whom should take as our instructor (Paedagogues, 2, 10; 95, 3, GCS, 12, 214).
Here St. Clement is not mentioning the rhythm for contraception, but the rhythm method for conception. In other words, married couples shouldn't mate out of season. In the language question of Katharevousa versus Dhemotiki, the point was made that even the most die hard supporter of Katharevousa had to resort sometimes to Dhemotiki: no one made love in Katharevousa. So it was claimed. I get the feeling that St. Clement would, if he would, make love in Katharevousa, if not in Attic.

To find biblical support, the HV apologists include references to castration:
St. John is referring to castration. Castration is, of course, an extreme form of contraception--but it is nonetheless a form of contraception, one that has been fairly widely used during this century in population control, e.g., in India and China. In fact, sterilization is the most popular form of contraception in the world (according to the UN Population Division): 30% of contraceptors rely on female sterilization and 8% rely on male sterlization.

(1) Castration is a form of contraception.
(2) St. John was preaching in opposition to Gnostics who used castration precisely as a form of contraception.

(3) The Fathers and canons condemned self-castration because it was primarily a contraceptive method.

(4) St. John uses exactly the same language with regard to a pharmacological-type and other forms of contraception.

(5) Sterilization is simply surgical or chemical castration.
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/03/contraception-early-church-teaching.html

And the apologetics get quite inventive:
Acts 5:1-11 - Ananias and Sapphira were slain because they withheld part of a gift. Fertility is a gift from God and cannot be withheld.
http://www.scripturecatholic.com/contraception.html

And of course, there's Onan:
The most popular modern day, rationale that Protestants use, is that Onan is killed because he did not fulfill the obligation to marry and bear children for Tamar. There are several reasons why this is not a reasonable explanation. First, we need to compare Gen. 38 to Deuteronomy 25:1-10, which eliminates this possible explanation. It says in Deuteronomy, that regardless of a man's motives for refusing to raise up seed for a dead brother, the man is not to be put to death. Thus, the person not only does not marry, but also provides no offspring for his brother who died: The Levirate responsibility. Here in Deuteronomy, he is to be humiliated only (shoe pulled off, face spit on, etc.). On the other hand, Onan was put to death for what he did, while the man in Deu. 25 is not.


As we compare the two Bible texts (Gen. 38:8-10 and Deu. 25:5-10) we need to ask ourselves, "What did Onan do that the man of Deu. 25 didn't do?" The difference in conduct explains the difference in the penalty meted out by God. And the difference is that Onan wasted (killed, destroyed) his seed, the other man did not. Suppose the man in Deu. 25 thinks exactly as Onan, saying to himself, "I don't want to raise up seed for my brother," yet doesn't waste his seed? What happens to him according to the law of God? -- humiliation only, regardless of his unloving thoughts. (Provan, The Bible and Birth Control p. 13)


Notice the text. It says that what he did was displeasing to God. He did spill the semen, thus enjoy sex, and made sure that there were no consequences. What did Onan do that displeased God? Notice that in the verse, he spilled the semen on the ground. However, the word that is used for spilling semen on the ground is not merely spill. I find out from Provan, that 'The verb used is not for merely emitting semen. Out of all the verses which mention the emission of semen in the Old Testament, the Onan verse 'he wasted his seed on the ground' is the only verse to employ the word 'shachath' (which means 'to waste, corrupt, destroy, devastate', . This word is used in many passages as a synonym for 'killed.', destroy. (For example see Gen. 6:17, 9:15 and Judges 20:21) Does one not see that there might be a reason for Onan's emission of seed to described as a 'killing' of seed, while all other passages use words which merely mean 'emit'? The reason is that in all other passages, no one does anything to intentionally harm the semen--but in Onan's case, he deliberately killed his. If 'there is nothing in the whole Bible that specifically condemns the spilling of the seed', then why does Scripture use the very negative word 'shacath' in Onan's case but not in any of the others? (Provan, The Bible and Birth Control, p. 40)

As a matter of fact, we do not have to go to Deuteronomy 25 to show that this argument is insufficient. We can look at Genesis 38 itself to see that the argument that Onan was killed because of his refusing to fulfill the obligation to raise up children is insufficient. This theory that God is punishing Onan merely because he failed to fulfill the Levirate rule makes God capricious. For example, in this very chapter of Genesis, not only does Judah not get punished for doing the very same thing as Onan did, (withholding his son Selah from her), but Selah himself withholds himself from her. Given that Judah himself compounds the problem by making her a harlot, Onan's specific act of destroying seed takes a larger picture. Judah had promised to give Tamar his son to her (v.11), when he was older. Judah himself is deceitful, and he himself, when caught, admits that he is a worse sinner than herself (v. 26). Shelah himself, who was now grown up, (v. 14), also was deceitful, should have taken her as her husband, and raised up children. He did not. Tamar notices this, but no deaths of either Judah or Shelah. Thus, they were all in a sense rebellious, and did not do what they should have. So, what is the difference between Judah, Onan, and Shelah? The only substantive fact is that Onan went into her lawfully as he married her (unlike Judah who went into her unlawfully), but only Onan destroyed the seed. Ultimately any attempt to exclude this as the principle grounds of Onan's death, is a pure attempt at expediency.
One has argued that there is another difference between Onan and the person in Deut. 25 that makes it worse. That he married her, but refused to raise up children.

Actually, that would make Onan actually better, because he actually married the sister. Thus, he is better off even than those who wouldn't marry the sister. Thus, he shouldn't have even been criticized and humiliated by Tamar, as prescribed for those in Deuteronomy 25. The fact that Onan married her actually means he obeyed what he should have done in this specific area. Although God in his own wisdom sometimes treat people differently, and punishes them differently, for the most part, he is equitable in his treatment of people. There is nothing shown in Judah's or his son Shelah's life, that show that they had a great relationship with God and that is how they did this with no repercussions while Onan was killed. This reasoning thus falls short of explaining the difference.
http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/birthcontrol.html
Question is, what is the difference between the man who just refuses to sleep with his wife when she is in her infertile period?  Something the HV apologists never focus on is the text gives Onan's intention.  How is that different, in these apologies, from the intention behind NFP?

One thing I am curious about: it is a common belief that nursing acts as a contraceptive.  I'm not sure how early that goes back (I've seen some references in Islamic texts, but no Christian ones come to mind).  Is there any Patristics on intercourse during nursing? How different would that be from hormones preventing ovulation?
 

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Is there a Orthodox commentary or interpretation of Onan's Sin in Gen. 38:8-10?
 

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ialmisry said:
Papist said:
Irish Hermit said:
Papist said:
Irish Hermit said:
"Ego te absolvo." The Catholic Route to Birth Control

The Church forbids contraceptive methods. But it has always been more indulgent in the confessional, not only today but also in the past. Here is what priests did in the first half of the twentieth century, in one of the most Christianized areas of Italy

ROME, September 8, 2010 – It is believed to be one of the most reliable proofs of the relentless advance of secularization: the contrast thought to have been created between Church teaching on contraception and the actual behavior of the population, including observant Catholics.

In reality, the divergence between the teaching, for example, of "Humanae Vitae" and the contraceptive practices in use among the faithful is by no means a new development in recent decades....

Article is at
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1344650?eng=y
This is like arguing that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on masterbation because almost all Catholic men have masterbated at one time or that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on lying, because almot all Catholics have lied at some point.
"It's not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting. It's that Christianity has been found hard, and left untried." -G.K. Chesterton
The crux of this matter is not in what you are writing.  It has been stated here very eloquently by Mary and others that the Pope is infallible when he expresses the mind of the Church.  What this article helps to show is that the current teaching on contraception is not the mind of the Church.  But we have known that all along ever since the time of the writing of Humanae Vitae.   At that time the majority opinion was very much against such a teaching.  Indeed the majority of the Papal Commission created by the Pope to advise him on the matter was against the teaching which ended up in the Encyclical.  The Pope instead went with was is now known as the Minority Opinion.    Plainly lacking the consent of the Church and being contrary to the mind of the Church the teaching in Humanae Vitae cannot claim to be an infallible expression of the truth of the Church.
Aw, I think you are missing Chesterton's "democracy of the dead here". The Pope did, in fact, have the consent of the Church if you were to look back at 1900 years of tradition. For 1900 years, the Church clearly taught that contraception was wrong and this demonstrates a clear consensus among Catholics. The twentieth century, is clearly an anomoly, and should not be considered the measure of the sensus fidei which preserves the deposit of the Christian faith.
The "clear teaching" that Humanae Vitae apparently depends on (I cite the apologia for it, as it doesn't cite patristics on this at all) does not include HV in that consensus, as it is a tradition which abhors sexuality (but not gender: it is rather misogynist) in general and sex in particular, and basically teaches that if weak individuals succumb to their animal urges, then the only excuse is to procreate and serve as breeders for the monastic orders-Jerome's "I praise marriage because it gives me virgins."

This distinction in the teaching that the Vatican accepted from St. Jerome and his ilk appears in 1852, long before the Lambeth Conference:
The very concept of “rhythm” was first considered by the Catholic Church in 1853. The Bishop of Amiens, France, submitted the following question to the Sacred Penitentiary:

“Certain married couples, relying on the opinion of learned physicians, are convinced that there are several days each month in which conception cannot occur. Are those who do not use the marriage right except on such days to be disturbed, especially if they have legitimate reasons for abstaining from the conjugal act?”

On March 2, 1853, the Sacred Penitentiary (during the reign of Pope Pius IX) answered as follows:

“Those spoken of in the request are not to be disturbed, providing that they do nothing to impede conception.”

Another reference to rhythm appeared in 1880. Fr. Le Conte submitted the following questions to the Sacred Penitentiary:

“Whether married couples may have intercourse during such sterile periods without committing mortal or venial sin?”

“Whether the confessor may suggest such a procedure either to the wife who detests the onanism of her husband but cannot correct him, or to either spouse who shrinks from having numerous children?”

The response of the Sacred Penitentiary (during the reign of Pope Leo XIII), dated June 16, 1880, was:

“Married couples who use their marriage right in the aforesaid manner are not to be disturbed, and the confessor may suggest the opinion in question, cautiously, however, to those married people whom he has tried in vain by other means to dissuade from the detestable crime of onanism.”
http://www.cmri.org/03-nfp.html

Contrast that with Jerome, Lactantius et alia
Clement of Alexandria

"To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature" (ibid. 2:10:95:3).

Lactantius

"[Some] complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power . . . or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife" (<Divine Institutes> 6:20 [A.D. 3o7]).

Lactantius

"God gave us eyes not to see and desire pleasure, but to see acts to be performed for the needs of life; so too, the genital ['generating'] part of the body, as the name itself teaches, has been received by us for no other purpose than the generation of offspring" (ibid. 6:23:18).

Jerome

"But I wonder why he [the heretic Jovinianus] set Judah and Tamar before us for an example, unless perchance even harlots give him pleasure; or Onan, who was slain because he grudged his brother seed. Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children?" (<Against Jovinian> 1: 19 [A.D. 393]).

Augustine

"For thus the eternal law, that is, the will of God creator of all creatures, taking counsel for the conservation of natural order, not to serve lust, but to see to the preservation of the race, permits the delight of mortal flesh to be released from the control of reason in copulation only to propagate progeny" (ibid., 22:30).
http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/FKBCONTR.HTM

The fact of this change, introducing a distinction between ABC and NFP leads to some interesting eisogesis: from the same EWTN site:
Letter of Barnabas

"Moreover, he [Moses] has rightly detested the weasel [Lev. 11 :29]. For he means, 'Thou shalt not be like to those whom we hear of as committing wickedness with the mouth with the body through uncleanness [orally consummated sex]; nor shalt thou be joined to those impure women who commit iniquity with the mouth with the body through uncleanness"' (<Letter of Barnabas> 10:8 [A.D. 74]).
There is no hint of "consumated" (i.e. ejaculation) at all in the passage. "Barnabas" abhors oral sex (amongst other things). Period.  It is being read into the text here to serve the new (for the Vatican) teaching on the matter.  To that end the apologists make use of feminist studies and other dubious sources, for instance:
The operative words, to be quoted in context are: “Thou shalt not use magic (ou mageuseis); thou shalt not use drugs (ou pharmakeusis).” It is reasonable to conclude that the double prohibition refers to contraception and abortion because these terms (mageia) and (pharmaka) were understood to cover the use of magical rites and/or medical potions for both contraception and abortion. Moreover, the context in the Didache refers to sex activity and the right to life.
http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Abortion_Euthanasia/Abortion_Euthanasia_004.htm
Feminst studies have claimed that the witch craze of the renaissance (yes, although these studies don't dwell on or mention that fact, they didn't happen during the "dark" Middle Ages) was to persecute women, by cutting off the source of contraceptions, the women herbalists.  It is things like this which do continue the dependence of this mentality on appeals to 'natural law" (which HV nearly only argues, besides an appeal to magisterium authority), something its apologia also cite the Fathers on. From the same site of Fr. Hardon:
It is in this context that the following stricture of contraception was made.  Marriage in itself merits esteem and the highest approval, for the Lord wished men to “be fruitful and multiply.” He did not tell them, however, to act like libertines, nor did He intend them to surrender themselves to pleasure as though born only to indulge in sexual relations. Let the Educator (Christ) put us to shame with the word Exechiel: “Put away your fornications.” Why, even unreasoning beasts know enough not to mate at certain times. To indulge in intercourse without intending children is to outrage nature, whom should take as our instructor (Paedagogues, 2, 10; 95, 3, GCS, 12, 214).
Here St. Clement is not mentioning the rhythm for contraception, but the rhythm method for conception. In other words, married couples shouldn't mate out of season. In the language question of Katharevousa versus Dhemotiki, the point was made that even the most die hard supporter of Katharevousa had to resort sometimes to Dhemotiki: no one made love in Katharevousa. So it was claimed. I get the feeling that St. Clement would, if he would, make love in Katharevousa, if not in Attic.

To find biblical support, the HV apologists include references to castration:
St. John is referring to castration. Castration is, of course, an extreme form of contraception--but it is nonetheless a form of contraception, one that has been fairly widely used during this century in population control, e.g., in India and China. In fact, sterilization is the most popular form of contraception in the world (according to the UN Population Division): 30% of contraceptors rely on female sterilization and 8% rely on male sterlization.

(1) Castration is a form of contraception.
(2) St. John was preaching in opposition to Gnostics who used castration precisely as a form of contraception.

(3) The Fathers and canons condemned self-castration because it was primarily a contraceptive method.

(4) St. John uses exactly the same language with regard to a pharmacological-type and other forms of contraception.

(5) Sterilization is simply surgical or chemical castration.
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/03/contraception-early-church-teaching.html

And the apologetics get quite inventive:
Acts 5:1-11 - Ananias and Sapphira were slain because they withheld part of a gift. Fertility is a gift from God and cannot be withheld.
http://www.scripturecatholic.com/contraception.html

And of course, there's Onan:
The most popular modern day, rationale that Protestants use, is that Onan is killed because he did not fulfill the obligation to marry and bear children for Tamar. There are several reasons why this is not a reasonable explanation. First, we need to compare Gen. 38 to Deuteronomy 25:1-10, which eliminates this possible explanation. It says in Deuteronomy, that regardless of a man's motives for refusing to raise up seed for a dead brother, the man is not to be put to death. Thus, the person not only does not marry, but also provides no offspring for his brother who died: The Levirate responsibility. Here in Deuteronomy, he is to be humiliated only (shoe pulled off, face spit on, etc.). On the other hand, Onan was put to death for what he did, while the man in Deu. 25 is not.


As we compare the two Bible texts (Gen. 38:8-10 and Deu. 25:5-10) we need to ask ourselves, "What did Onan do that the man of Deu. 25 didn't do?" The difference in conduct explains the difference in the penalty meted out by God. And the difference is that Onan wasted (killed, destroyed) his seed, the other man did not. Suppose the man in Deu. 25 thinks exactly as Onan, saying to himself, "I don't want to raise up seed for my brother," yet doesn't waste his seed? What happens to him according to the law of God? -- humiliation only, regardless of his unloving thoughts. (Provan, The Bible and Birth Control p. 13)


Notice the text. It says that what he did was displeasing to God. He did spill the semen, thus enjoy sex, and made sure that there were no consequences. What did Onan do that displeased God? Notice that in the verse, he spilled the semen on the ground. However, the word that is used for spilling semen on the ground is not merely spill. I find out from Provan, that 'The verb used is not for merely emitting semen. Out of all the verses which mention the emission of semen in the Old Testament, the Onan verse 'he wasted his seed on the ground' is the only verse to employ the word 'shachath' (which means 'to waste, corrupt, destroy, devastate', . This word is used in many passages as a synonym for 'killed.', destroy. (For example see Gen. 6:17, 9:15 and Judges 20:21) Does one not see that there might be a reason for Onan's emission of seed to described as a 'killing' of seed, while all other passages use words which merely mean 'emit'? The reason is that in all other passages, no one does anything to intentionally harm the semen--but in Onan's case, he deliberately killed his. If 'there is nothing in the whole Bible that specifically condemns the spilling of the seed', then why does Scripture use the very negative word 'shacath' in Onan's case but not in any of the others? (Provan, The Bible and Birth Control, p. 40)

As a matter of fact, we do not have to go to Deuteronomy 25 to show that this argument is insufficient. We can look at Genesis 38 itself to see that the argument that Onan was killed because of his refusing to fulfill the obligation to raise up children is insufficient. This theory that God is punishing Onan merely because he failed to fulfill the Levirate rule makes God capricious. For example, in this very chapter of Genesis, not only does Judah not get punished for doing the very same thing as Onan did, (withholding his son Selah from her), but Selah himself withholds himself from her. Given that Judah himself compounds the problem by making her a harlot, Onan's specific act of destroying seed takes a larger picture. Judah had promised to give Tamar his son to her (v.11), when he was older. Judah himself is deceitful, and he himself, when caught, admits that he is a worse sinner than herself (v. 26). Shelah himself, who was now grown up, (v. 14), also was deceitful, should have taken her as her husband, and raised up children. He did not. Tamar notices this, but no deaths of either Judah or Shelah. Thus, they were all in a sense rebellious, and did not do what they should have. So, what is the difference between Judah, Onan, and Shelah? The only substantive fact is that Onan went into her lawfully as he married her (unlike Judah who went into her unlawfully), but only Onan destroyed the seed. Ultimately any attempt to exclude this as the principle grounds of Onan's death, is a pure attempt at expediency.
One has argued that there is another difference between Onan and the person in Deut. 25 that makes it worse. That he married her, but refused to raise up children.

Actually, that would make Onan actually better, because he actually married the sister. Thus, he is better off even than those who wouldn't marry the sister. Thus, he shouldn't have even been criticized and humiliated by Tamar, as prescribed for those in Deuteronomy 25. The fact that Onan married her actually means he obeyed what he should have done in this specific area. Although God in his own wisdom sometimes treat people differently, and punishes them differently, for the most part, he is equitable in his treatment of people. There is nothing shown in Judah's or his son Shelah's life, that show that they had a great relationship with God and that is how they did this with no repercussions while Onan was killed. This reasoning thus falls short of explaining the difference.
http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/birthcontrol.html
Question is, what is the difference between the man who just refuses to sleep with his wife when she is in her infertile period?  Something the HV apologists never focus on is the text gives Onan's intention.  How is that different, in these apologies, from the intention behind NFP?

One thing I am curious about: it is a common belief that nursing acts as a contraceptive.  I'm not sure how early that goes back (I've seen some references in Islamic texts, but no Christian ones come to mind).  Is there any Patristics on intercourse during nursing? How different would that be from hormones preventing ovulation?
Where is the yawn emoticon when you need it?
 

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Michael L said:
Is there a Orthodox commentary or interpretation of Onan's Sin in Gen. 38:8-10?
Well, it used to be that contraception was wrong. But of course, the EO Church changed it's teaching on this matter during the 20th century.
 

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Papist said:
Michael L said:
Is there a Orthodox commentary or interpretation of Onan's Sin in Gen. 38:8-10?
Well, it used to be that contraception was wrong. But of course, the EO Church changed it's teaching on this matter during the 20th century.
since you're the "expert" in "consistency," what is the difference between the mentality imputed to Onan, and the man who uses the rhythm method to remain fatherless?
 

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ialmisry said:
Papist said:
Michael L said:
Is there a Orthodox commentary or interpretation of Onan's Sin in Gen. 38:8-10?
Well, it used to be that contraception was wrong. But of course, the EO Church changed it's teaching on this matter during the 20th century.
since you're the "expert" in "consistency," what is the difference between the mentality imputed to Onan, and the man who uses the rhythm method to remain fatherless?
The point of Natural Family planning, is not to remain childless. It's to naturally space children for ligitimate reasons. If a person uses NFP with the same mentality as ABC, then such a person is also guilty of Onanism.
 

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I'm confused.  I was told contraception was a sin in Orthodoxy.  :-/
 

ialmisry

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Papist said:
ialmisry said:
Papist said:
Michael L said:
Is there a Orthodox commentary or interpretation of Onan's Sin in Gen. 38:8-10?
Well, it used to be that contraception was wrong. But of course, the EO Church changed it's teaching on this matter during the 20th century.
since you're the "expert" in "consistency," what is the difference between the mentality imputed to Onan, and the man who uses the rhythm method to remain fatherless?
The point of Natural Family planning, is not to remain childless. It's to naturally space children for ligitimate reasons. If a person uses NFP with the same mentality as ABC, then such a person is also guilty of Onanism.
The problem is that your friend St. Jerome et alia condemned a person who ejaculated in a womb that he knew wasn't fertile as wasting sperm/semen (they didn't know the difference) was committing Onanism. The Vatican introduced the distinction between NFP and ABC, despite their authorities (St. Jerome et alia) in 1852.
 

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Using NFP to deliberately exclude children from marriage can be objectively no different than contraception itself.
 

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Ionnis said:
I'm confused.  I was told contraception was a sin in Orthodoxy.  :-/
No Orthodox Church forbids contraception,.  The teaching of the Russian Orthodox Church was given in a major statement of the Russian Synod in 2000.

You can read it here
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25368.msg397242.html#msg397242

There were two bishops known in the Orthodox Church to forbid contraception - the just reposed Metropolitan Augustinos of Florina Greece and the just retired Bishop Artemije of Kosovo Serbia.  Both completely forbade all birth control, including NFP.  The fact that we know the views of these bishops is, in a way, evidence that they were outside the norm.
 

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Changing the teaching of Humanae Vitae

The context is an address by Pope Paul VI to the College of Cardinals on June 23, 1964.


The below was written by Apotheoun, I think. Archives back to mid-April 2007 lost in the Great CAF Crash.

"I’m aware of the safeguarding of contraception on the basis of an intrinsic relation to the concept of “natural law”, but please explain this: Prior to the release of his encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI indirectly admitted in his address to the College of Cardinals on June 23, 1964 that the teaching on birth control may be changed - the Pope asserted the validity of the traditional RC teaching on birth control “at least as long as we do not feel obliged in conscience to alter it” (Osservatore Romano, June 24, 1964).

"The RCC places the sinfulness of contraception on a par with adultery, fornication, murder etc. as a mortal sin falling under natural law which cannot be altered. Is the Pope’s frank admission above indicative of a teaching which is unalterable by Rome’s criteria? What would your reaction be were a Pope to state that the teaching on adultery remains the same “as long as we do not feel obliged in conscience to alter it”??


I believe that we are seeing, on the Roman Catholic side, the beginnings of a re-formulation of this matter. Proabably by discerning more deeply the principle of double effect, contraception will find greater acceptance among the papal theologians, and the overly rigorous teaching of Humanae Vitae will be deepened and clarified.

To be frank, I am of the opinion that this will take place, not because of any imperative of the ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox but because a failure to do so will see a deepening crisis of authority within the Roman Catholic Church itself. I do not think that the clergy and the laity will find themselves able to go on living with the strain of the present double speak and pretense which requires them to say one thing while actually doing another.

So, I am optimistic on this matter.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The original Italian of Paul VI's address...

È allo studio, diciamo, che speriamo presto concludere con la collaborazione di molti ed insigni studiosi. Ne daremo pertanto presto le conclusioni nella forma che sarà ritenuta più adeguata all’oggetto trattato e allo scopo da conseguire. Ma diciamo intanto francamente che non abbiamo finora motivo sufficiente per ritenere superate e perciò non obbliganti le norme date da Papa Pio XII a tale riguardo; esse devono perciò ritenersi valide, almeno finché non Ci sentiamo in coscienza obbligati a modificarle. In tema di tanta gravità sembra bene che i Cattolici vogliano seguire un’unica legge, quale la Chiesa autorevolmente propone; e sembra pertanto opportuno raccomandare che nessuno per ora si arroghi di pronunciarsi in termini difformi dalla norma, vigente.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Ionnis said:
I'm confused.  I was told contraception was a sin in Orthodoxy.  :-/
No Orthodox Church forbids contraception,.  The teaching of the Russian Orthodox Church was given in a major statement of the Russian Synod in 2000.

You can read it here
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25368.msg397242.html#msg397242

There were two bishops known in the Orthodox Church to forbid contraception - the just reposed Metropolitan Augustinos of Florina Greece and the just retired Bishop Artemije of Kosovo Serbia.  Both completely forbade all birth control, including NFP.   The fact that we know the views of these bishops is, in a way, evidence that they were outside the norm.
Thank you very much, Father!  I am thankful for the correction. 
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Ionnis said:
I'm confused.  I was told contraception was a sin in Orthodoxy.  :-/
No Orthodox Church forbids contraception,. .
I am confused.
1. An Orthodox priest told me that it was all right for a married couple to use contraception after they had two or three children. But generally, it would be a sin for the couple to use contraception to prevent having any children at all.
2. Did the Orthodox Church change its teaching on contraception?
 

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stanley123 said:
Irish Hermit said:
Ionnis said:
I'm confused.  I was told contraception was a sin in Orthodoxy.  :-/
No Orthodox Church forbids contraception,. .
I am confused.
1. An Orthodox priest told me that it was all right for a married couple to use contraception after they had two or three children. But generally, it would be a sin for the couple to use contraception to prevent having any children at all.
2. Did the Orthodox Church change its teaching on contraception?
Brothers,  there are literally dozens of threads on contraception in the Orthodox Church which could be revived. Clip the tag at the bottom of the page to find them.  But there are no threads about contraception in the Roman Catholic Church and, speaking as the OP, I am kind of hoping that this thread will stay on topic and not get sidetracked into Orthodoxy.
 

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stanley123 said:
Irish Hermit said:
Ionnis said:
I'm confused.  I was told contraception was a sin in Orthodoxy.  :-/
No Orthodox Church forbids contraception,. .
I am confused.
1. An Orthodox priest told me that it was all right for a married couple to use contraception after they had two or three children. But generally, it would be a sin for the couple to use contraception to prevent having any children at all.
2. Did the Orthodox Church change its teaching on contraception?
1. That is a difference between allowing it in circumstances and forbidding it altogether.  HV, for instance, would forbid what it calls ABC no matter what the number of children or the circumstances.
2. No, but in general that is thanks to the lack of obsession of prying into such matters by the celebate clergy writing the canons etc. (there are exceptions to the rule, but in the context of the reticence on the matter-condemning abortion, extoling childbearing as a blessing, etc.-they are counterbalanced). That is why you will get such a spectrum of nearly like HV (with which I agree a lot on, but not on its basis, nor in all its particulars) to anything but abortion.  There are some who have dared to questioned the last, but they have been called on that.
 

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People (well, my intimate circle of learned Catholic clergy!) say that Casti Connūbii which was promulgated by Pope Pius XI in 1930 was contradicted by the teaching of Pope Paul VI in his 1965 Humanae Vitae concerning the matter of birth control.  There was a marked change of teaching between 1930 and 1965.

What we are witnessing is the slow change of teaching in the Catholic Church, from the absolute prohibition of the Church Fathers and Pope Pius XI to Pope Paul VI's acceptance of NFP and the process continues today, silently and inexorably.    This is one of the major points which is being made by the article referenced in the OP.  Birth Control is slowly but surely gaining acceptance in the Roman Catholic Church.  As of yet the latest changes have no sanction from the Vatican but the words of Pope Paul VI in Message 22 allow for the possibility of future change to the teaching in his Encyclical.
 

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I am interested as to the reason why an Orthodox monk is so interested about anticonception...
 

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synLeszka said:
I am interested as to the reason why an Orthodox monk is so interested about anticonception...
Thirty years ago I was asked to leave the monastery and to live in the city and accept the care of three Russian parishes when their previous parish priest died.  So for 3 decades I have been living in the parishes and caring for parishioners.  Part of this care involves questions of contraception.  

That is one reason - I must be interested so that I can carry out my pastoral duties.

The other reason is more specific to this list.   The two prongs of attack employed by Catholics are always divorce and contraception.  You only have to read the many many threads to see that.

Hope this answers your question.....

Fr Ambrose
 

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synLeszka said:
I am interested as to the reason why an Orthodox monk is so interested about anticonception...
Why is the whole Vatican clergy, almost all of whom are celebate (and there are concerted efforts to get rid of those very few married priests in submission to it in the East) so intereested in it?
 

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synLeszka said:
ialmisry said:
It is said, although I do not know if it is true, that the previous patriarch of Moscow was divorced.
If true, he wasn't remarried, which even by the Vatican's rules is A-OK.

Eastern Orthodox say that only we Roman Catholics have such inhumane regulations such as the insolubility of marriage but Coptic Orthodox do the same as Catholics.
The Copts do not have your Corban factories, a/k/a "the marriage tribunal."
What are you talking about? I have never heard of a divorced man becoming a priest in the Catholic Church.

If you think the Catholic Church is overlegalistic look at yourselves. I have never seen a Scholastic approach to anticonception than the Russian Orthodox Church Synod's decree.
Then you haven't been around, or don't know what scholastic is.  Btw, unless you are being ironic, etc. it is contraception. I'm just curious if you are coinging a new term.

Oh yes, an anticonceptive is all right if it is not abortive. What an oxymoron.
Only if you hold preformation,, and likewise do not distinguish abstinence from infanticide. As the Vatican depends so much on natural law for its teaching on this, the advance in embryology and genetics has pulled the rug from under it on this one.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
People (well, my intimate circle of learned Catholic clergy!) say that Casti Connūbii which was promulgated by Pope Pius XI in 1930 was contradicted by the teaching of Pope Paul VI in his 1965 Humanae Vitae concerning the matter of birth control.  There was a marked change of teaching between 1930 and 1965.

What we are witnessing is the slow change of teaching in the Catholic Church, from the absolute prohibition of the Church Fathers and Pope Pius XI to Pope Paul VI's acceptance of NFP and the process continues today, silently and inexorably.    This is one of the major points which is being made by the article referenced in the OP.   Birth Control is slowly but surely gaining acceptance in the Roman Catholic Church.  As of yet the latest changes have no sanction from the Vatican but the words of Pope Paul VI in Message 22 allow for the possibility of future change to the teaching in his Encyclical.
I suppose that it would be possible for the teaching to be modified somewhat. Of course, the low birthrates in European Catholic (and Orthodox) countries contrasts rather sharply with the high birthrates among Muslims. A Muslim family in our nieghborhood has six young children already, and the wife is expecting another soon.
 

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stanley123 said:
I suppose that it would be possible for the teaching to be modified somewhat. Of course, the low birthrates in European Catholic (and Orthodox) countries contrasts rather sharply with the high birthrates among Muslims. A Muslim family in our nieghborhood has six young children already, and the wife is expecting another soon.
To me, this is a huge reason why Catholics, Orthodox, and any other Christian groups should not be using contraception. When I was studying to become Catholic in 2006 and in the beginning of 2007, I remember being taught that it was the Church's teaching on the immorality of abortion and contraception that allowed Christianity to flourish so much early on. The Pagans practiced contraception and abortion whereas the Christians tended to have large families and procreate way more, so we quite literally outnumbered them because of our openness to life and our proper understanding of Holy Matrimony.
 

ialmisry

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Wyatt said:
stanley123 said:
I suppose that it would be possible for the teaching to be modified somewhat. Of course, the low birthrates in European Catholic (and Orthodox) countries contrasts rather sharply with the high birthrates among Muslims. A Muslim family in our nieghborhood has six young children already, and the wife is expecting another soon.
To me, this is a huge reason why Catholics, Orthodox, and any other Christian groups should not be using contraception. When I was studying to become Catholic in 2006 and in the beginning of 2007, I remember being taught that it was the Church's teaching on the immorality of abortion and contraception that allowed Christianity to flourish so much early on. The Pagans practiced contraception and abortion whereas the Christians tended to have large families and procreate way more, so we quite literally outnumbered them because of our openness to life and our proper understanding of Holy Matrimony.
I'm not sure if this is anything more than conjecture, just like those who think we live for sex pointing out the rise of monasticism and connecting it to the plumeting population once the Church took over the Roman empire.  There was a lot of contraception and abortion going on, but there was also fines and penalites for the unmarried and childless, and state promotion of large families. I'm not saying your conjecture is incorrect, just I have never seen a fact based argument in its favor.

I would rather convert the Muslims than outbreed them. The later is to follow Muhammad, the former to follow Christ.
 

stanley123

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ialmisry said:
I would rather convert the Muslims than outbreed them.
Hi Ialmisry:
    I wish you good luck in your attempt to convert Muslims to Orthodox Christianity, especially for the Muslims in countries like Saudi Arabia. BTW, I would be interested to know about any statistics available which would give the number of Muslims in Saudi Arabia who had converted to Orthodox Christianity in the last fifty years or so and who did not subsequently have their head chopped off.
 

Schultz

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Wyatt said:
stanley123 said:
I suppose that it would be possible for the teaching to be modified somewhat. Of course, the low birthrates in European Catholic (and Orthodox) countries contrasts rather sharply with the high birthrates among Muslims. A Muslim family in our nieghborhood has six young children already, and the wife is expecting another soon.
To me, this is a huge reason why Catholics, Orthodox, and any other Christian groups should not be using contraception. When I was studying to become Catholic in 2006 and in the beginning of 2007, I remember being taught that it was the Church's teaching on the immorality of abortion and contraception that allowed Christianity to flourish so much early on. The Pagans practiced contraception and abortion whereas the Christians tended to have large families and procreate way more, so we quite literally outnumbered them because of our openness to life and our proper understanding of Holy Matrimony.
That's a nice apocryphal story, but old pagan Romans were duty bound to produce lots of children before the birth of Christ and assuredly afterwards.  Those who did not were often seen as not contributing to society.
 

lubeltri

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Irish Hermit said:
Papist said:
Irish Hermit said:
"Ego te absolvo." The Catholic Route to Birth Control

The Church forbids contraceptive methods. But it has always been more indulgent in the confessional, not only today but also in the past. Here is what priests did in the first half of the twentieth century, in one of the most Christianized areas of Italy

ROME, September 8, 2010 – It is believed to be one of the most reliable proofs of the relentless advance of secularization: the contrast thought to have been created between Church teaching on contraception and the actual behavior of the population, including observant Catholics.

In reality, the divergence between the teaching, for example, of "Humanae Vitae" and the contraceptive practices in use among the faithful is by no means a new development in recent decades....

Article is at
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1344650?eng=y
This is like arguing that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on masterbation because almost all Catholic men have masterbated at one time or that the Church is wrong on it's teaching on lying, because almot all Catholics have lied at some point.
"It's not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting. It's that Christianity has been found hard, and left untried." -G.K. Chesterton
The crux of this matter is not in what you are writing.  It has been stated here very eloquently by Mary and others that the Pope is infallible when he expresses the mind of the Church.  What this article helps to show is that the current teaching on contraception is not the mind of the Church.  But we have known that all along ever since the time of the writing of Humanae Vitae.   At that time the majority opinion was very much against such a teaching.  Indeed the majority of the Papal Commission created by the Pope to advise him on the matter was against the teaching which ended up in the Encyclical.  The Pope instead went with was is now known as the Minority Opinion.    Plainly lacking the consent of the Church and being contrary to the mind of the Church the teaching in Humanae Vitae cannot claim to be an infallible expression of the truth of the Church.
Perhaps, Father, you would have the Pope take regular polls to gauge the "consent of the Church" and then unilaterally change teaching on faith and morals to fit what the polls are saying at that time?

But he has not the power to do that. He's only the pope.
 

lubeltri

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Irish Hermit said:
Birth Control is slowly but surely gaining acceptance in the Roman Catholic Church.  As of yet the latest changes have no sanction from the Vatican but the words of Pope Paul VI in Message 22 allow for the possibility of future change to the teaching in his Encyclical.
Not true. And whatever Paul said, he is only the pope. Popes can say all kinds of silly things. His HV speaks far more for his ministry than something he was quoted as saying. And after John Paul II, it should be clear to you that it ain't gonna happen.

You aren't even a Catholic, so not sure why you feel like you have a dog in this fight. Perhaps you can take our liberal dissidents off our hands for us when they finally realize that Rome isn't ever going to allow the complete divorce of sex and procreation. I can already imagine the billboards: "Be as gods in the Orthodox Church. We're more lenient than the church you're mad at."  ;) ::)
 
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