Oh, wait, he just wants the Vatican to reconsider birth control. God save us from such an episcopate!
"Pope Paul VI banned contraception in the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, arguing that sexual intercourse was meant for procreation and any artificial method to block a pregnancy went against the nature of the act."
"That encyclical prompted Catholics to leave the Church in droves and undercut papal authority. Many practicing Catholics now simply ignore the ban and some say it weakens the Church’s message on other moral issues such as abortion and bioethics."
Say what?!? First of all, Pope Paul VI didn’t pull that ban out of thin air. The Church has always forbid contraception. The point of almost every papal encyclical, just like councils, is to clarify an eternal truth in modern terms. Paul VI only reiterated what the Church was already teaching to a generation itching for sexual license (among other stupid things). Secondly, the people who left the Church over this issue were never faithful Catholics in the first place. I mean, that’s a pretty flimsy excuse for leaving the guardian of the Deposit of Faith. Either you trust that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it or you don’t. Thirdly, if Humanae Vitae undercut papal authority, it’s only because the episcopate and the presbyterate failed miserably in their efforts (or lack thereof) to explain Catholic sexual ethics to their flocks, and continue to do so. Lastly, I’d very much like to know how the Catholic Church’s hestance on contraception weakens her message on abortion and bioethics. It’s all of a piece.
The primary ends of sexual congress are procreation and unification. To block conception is to interfere with both of those ends. Contraceptives, particularly barrier methods, interfere with complete self-giving (an element of unity). They also interfere with the natural product of intercourse, a child. Furthermore, all human life is precious and deserving of respect. Abortion, like contraception, treats conception as an undesireable side effect of a primarily pleasure-oriented act. It also murders children, the true primary product of what should be a love-oriented act. Likewise, embryonic stem cell research murders unborn children and justifies that act by redefining the beginning of human life to some unspecified time beyond conception. It also seperates the creation of humans from the natural procreative act, treating them not as children to be protected and loved, but as raw material to be consumed. Incidentally, these reasons are similar to those for why the Church opposes artificial means of conception, such as IVF. Abortion and ESCR both result from a contraceptive mentality. Denying that sex should be a life-giving activity allows one to justify both the destruction of life if it interferes with pleasure and the production and consumption of life for one’s own purposes.
This Reuters article is very much wrong in its protrayal of Catholic sexual ethics, and reproducing it without commentary or caveat was an irresponsible choice on the part of the editors at CathNews.
(For similar thoughts, head to Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate)