MORAL ETHICS: CONTRACEPTION

I. Introduction

II. Conscience

III. Purpose of Marriage in Humanae Vitae

IV. Scientific Studies

V. Answering Objections

 

Introduction:

 

A good society is the one that makes it easy for you to be good, correlatively a free society is the one that makes it easy for you to be free, to be free and to live freely is to live spiritually because only spirit is free and matter is not. To live spiritually is to live morally. The two essential properties of spirit that distinguished it from matter are intellect and will and the capacity to make a moral choice between good and bad. The greatest threat to live morally today is the lost of moral principles. The erroneous ideology of moral relativism has crept its way into the heart of society by gradually taking away the moral principles of the people and substitutes it with its own subjective morality. The danger of subjective morality is that it undermines or even eradicates the objective morality which is binding for all of us. Subjective morality implies that the ultimate basis for morality is no longer the natural law rather it depends on the person whether his view on such action is morally permissible or morally unacceptable. With this kind of view there is no longer right or wrong because there is no longer a criteria for knowing what actions are right and what actions are wrong because morality depends on the person’s perception. With this kind of morality the society can no longer progress into a free and morally good society because some people will view that war, murder, robbery, rape, slander etc. is morally acceptable and no one has the authority to prosecute this kind of people because morality is no longer objective but relative. Moral relativism is evidently practiced in our contemporary society, the proponents of the controversial reproductive health bill has moral relativism as the foundation of their moral values. In the midst of this controversy how should a Catholic reply in this challenge of upholding objective morality against the ineffable moral relativism? Is contraception morally permissible in a free society? We will try to answer these two profound philosophical as well as theological questions in our discussion.

 

Understanding our Conscience:

 

To simplify the definition of conscience, conscience is commonly called the voice of God in our hearts, it is our moral compass.[1] Since conscience is our moral compass it needs to be educated and formed and strictly grounded on the word of God and the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church.[2] Man is subject to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and reject authoritative teachings[3]hence man can also commit erroneous judgment. Venial sins and spiritual dryness can impede the person to judge correctly using his conscience because these two vices can lead the person to depart from natural law and right reason. To properly educate a conscience one must have the right faith to educate it with. Faith has two important key elements to educate conscience and that is right doctrine and upright moral teaching, which can only be found fully in the Catholic Church.[4]An erroneous doctrine affects the uprightness of morality. Such is a case when Protestants do not view marriage as a true sacrament hence for them procreation is not the central purpose of marriage therefore in their moral standards contraception is permissible. In the Catholic faith marriage is a true sacrament and procreation is the central purpose of marriage hence in our moral standard contraception is never permissible. One of the reasons why many Catholics no longer abide by the moral teachings of the church is because they no longer hear frequent homilies and preaching about the different doctrines of the church particularly the existence of hell, consequences of sin, conscience, freewill, objective morality and the evil behind the used of contraception. If man departs from natural law and undermine the teaching authority of the Catholic Church in favor of following his own personal judgment he is no longer acting in accordance to his conscience, but he do not realize his departure from the natural law and right reason because his conscience is smoke screened by venial sins and spiritual dryness.

 

Nature of Marriage:

 

The Sacrament of Matrimony was already foreordained by divine will in time immemorial in order to employ the assistance of man in bringing forth the existence of new life by generation of the human nature through the procreative act of the marital union between man and woman. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus Christ had a discourse with the Pharisees[5] regarding the nature of marriage. The Pharisees is trying to ensnare Jesus with his words in order to discredit His preaching. The Pharisees asked him is it lawful to put away one’s wife for every cause? The Pharisees argued with them selves that if Jesus answered that it is not lawful, they will accuse him of contradicting the Scriptures for it is written that if a man is not please by his wife and has found impropriety of which to accuse her, he shall write a bill of divorce[6]. On the other hand if Jesus answers that it is lawful they will accuse him of favoring the passions. Jesus the wisdom of the eternal Father silences them with the authority of the Scripture. Jesus Christ turned to them and said have you not read that he who made man from the beginning made them male and female? For this cause a man leaves his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall become one flesh.[7] In the reply of Jesus to the Pharisees he made it clear that marriage has two elements the unitive act and the procreative act. Marriage is the union between a man and a woman hence the Scripture said the man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife. And the intimate union of the man with his wife through the marital act made them one by producing a new life; hence the phrase “two become one” makes sense. In Pope Paul VI encyclical Humane Vitae made it clear that married persons are the free and responsible collaborators of God the Creator.[8] They become God’s collaborator in the act of creation because through their union in the marital act God infuses a soul immediately after conception.[9] Later on the Pope stresses that marriage is not the effect of chance or the product of evolution of unconscious natural forces.[10]The Holy Scripture attests to this truth that the Sacrament of Matrimony is not a product of human culture but a wise design of God. Since marriage is a wise design of God then it is also fitting to observe the natural laws that govern this holy union of man and woman. The purpose of marriage is to collaborate in God’s creative act by always remaining open to the transmission of life.[11]Created in the image and likeness of God, the origin of all life, men and women are called to be partners with the Creator in transmitting the sacred gift of human life.[12]However being always open to the transmission of life does not mean that each marital act must produce a new life, for the church has encourage the married couple to be responsible parents by regulating the number of children furthermore the church always make it a point that regulation of birth must always be in conformity with the natural law and moral teaching of the church.[13]God’s wise design of the human body has left the woman certain periods that she will not conceive, and within this period marital act will not transmit life however the possibility of conception is still present depending on God if he would create life during this period. Marital act within the period of inconceivability is the natural and licit way of preventing conception with the possibility of transmitting life. On the other hand the church discouraged the use of artificial contraception in preventing life. Devices, medicines and other means in preventing conception not in conformity with church morality is a grave damnable sin. Employing these various artificial methods of preventing conception is deliberately taking God away from the genuine purpose of marriage. And if God is no longer the center of marriage various sins against chastity will creep in the life of the married couple leading to the destruction of the family.

 

Scientific Studies:

The Reproductive Health Bill was junk in congress however the Department of Health is imposing the provisions found in the R.H bill such as sex education and the promotion of artificial contraception. Scrutinizing the contents of the said bill one cannot find a provision in which the people should be given information on the negative effects of using various artificial means of preventing life. Promoting various artificial means of preventing life is a total betrayal of the oath of health professionals. One statement in the said oath states “I will not administer any harmful drugs to my clients”, it is evident that contraceptive pills leads to cancer and various diseases any health professional that promote the use of pills is betraying his oath over and over again. All of health professionals agreed that diseases should be prevented and billions of dollars was spent to various research studies to eradicate dreaded diseases and improve the quality of life, this is logical and acceptable in the eyes of man and of God on the other hand is pregnancy a disease and should be prevented? Medical practitioners must reconsider these questions; otherwise they should not be called doctors or nurses but murderers and haters of life. A person who is sick visits the doctor to get well, why would then some doctors deliberately injure the natural function of the human body through surgical means of preventing the transmission of life? Such action by doctors and nurses is a total betrayal of the vocation God gave them. Oral Contraceptive Pills is the most common artificial contraception used by female to preventing pregnancy. Doctors in the clinic and nurse and midwifes in health centers educate their clients on how effective the pill is, however being one sided with the explanation they are violating the client’s right, the right to be properly informed. Oral Contraceptive Pill is made up of synthetic hormone progesterone and estrogen. Progesterone and Estrogen are normal hormones of the human body they act by preparing the woman’s reproductive system to be impregnated however Oral Contraceptive Pills disrupts the body’s regulation of its hormone by increasing the levels of progesterone and estrogen hence conception is not possible. This is the desired effect of the pills the undesirable effect is that it will cause cancer why? Because most cancers used estrogen as a type of fuel in order to reproduce and fully develop, a woman taking pills has increase the estrogen level in her blood making her susceptible in developing cancer. Furthermore since there was a disruption on her normal hormone function there will be emotional instability. The second common contraceptive used in our country is the I.U.D or Intra-uterine device. I.U.D is a T-shape device inserted in the uterus in order to block the male sperm cell from fertilizing the woman’s egg cell. I.U.D is not really a device to prevent pregnancy rather it is an abortificient. I.U.D is a foreign object inserted in the uterus, when the body detects that there is a foreign object in its viscera the body’s normal reaction will induce inflammation particularly in the uterus in the case of presence of I.U.D. This inflammation will make the lining of the uterus inhospitable for the fertilized ovum to implant. Since the fertilized ovum cannot implant itself in the uterus it will lead to abortion. I.U.D does not prevent conception it deliberately abort the zygote. Another adverse effect of the I.U.D is that it will cause infection, heavy bleeding, perforation of the uterine wall and in some cases Wilson’s disease. The most accessible form of contraceptive device is the condom, the condom is made up of silicon rubber and it functions by blocking the sperm cells from sipping into the uterus during coitus and thus preventing pregnancy. Although there is no known negative effect in using the condom yet its effect on the morality of the society is devastating. Condom is accessible to all age level hence it is easy to conceal affairs and promiscuous activities and the fear of unwanted pregnancy is no longer a concern among youths and unfaithful husband or wife. Condom also promote the spread of A.I.D.S (acquired immune-deficiency syndrome), contrary to the advertisements that promote condom as a defense against A.I.D.S recent studies regarding condom and A.I.D.S states that condom cannot prevent the spread of A.I.D.S because the molecular pores of the condom is too big and the A.I.D.S virus can easily pass through it, like a tennis ball passing through a basketball ring. In Africa the World Health Organization promote the use of condoms yet the cases of A.I.D.S is still on the rise. Contraception brings no good at all since it is intrinsically evil. The used of various artificial contraceptive methods promotes perversion, according to the great 19th century psychologist Sigmund Freud he said it is a characteristic common to all the perversions, that in them reproduction as an aim is put aside. This is actually the criterion by which we judge whether a sexual act is perverse if it departs from reproduction in its aims and pursues the attainment of gratification independently.[14] Very well, stated by Freud that a sexual act apart from the aim of reproduction is not normal but perverse. Pope Paul VI also warned people that employment of anti-conceptive practices will lead to lose of respect for the woman because will be treated as an object of gratification.[15]

 

Answers to Anti-life Objections:


  1. You should not impose you Catholic belief upon me, that is your belief I respect that and you should also respect my belief that contraception is right.
  • I do not impose my Catholic belief upon you, it is a given fact that there are moral absolutes and all of us are oblige to obey these moral precepts. Morality does not depend on a person’s personal view otherwise no one has the right to persecute drug lords because they too argued that it is good to sell drugs. Morality is not subjective it is objective. We have laws in our country those are objective laws not subjective laws. Natural law prohibits the use of artificial contraception and we are all obliged to follow that.

 

  1. There is no difference between using artificial contraception and the natural way of preventing pregnancy, both of them prevents pregnancy so why prohibit artificial contraception?
  • There is a fundamental difference between using the artificial means and the natural means of preventing pregnancy. Artificial contraception deliberately prevents the transmission of life while the natural way is open to the transmission of life.

 

  1. We are in poverty because we are too many! We have many mouths to feed! To solve the problem of poverty we must reduce our population.
  • Statistically there is no correlation between poverty and over population. China for instance has a population of more than 1 billion yet their poverty level is only 40% while here in the Philippines our poverty level is 45% in spite of having a population of 97 million. Japan has 200 million people in their country yet their poverty level is 0%. Clearly population is not the cause of poverty but bad governance is.

 

  1. The end justifies the means, contraception has contributed to the development of the society by reducing the number of population, and it has also decrease the cases of sexually transmitted disease, even if it is morally wrong yet its fruit clearly is good.
  • A good tree begets good fruit a bad tree begets bad fruit; contraception is from a bad tree. Even if it causes some goodness to the society yet its negative effect is devastating. A society with no moral principles is not a society after all but a barren wasteland inhabited by people indulges in all sorts of immorality.

 

Bibliography:

[1] Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths. CCC 1776 (cf. Rom.2:16-17)

[2] In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church. CCC 1785

[3] CCC 1783

[4] A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time “from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.” The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by objective standards of moral conduct. CCC 1794

[5] Matthew 19:4-5

[6] Deuteronomy 24:1

[7] Matthew 19:4-5

[8] Humanae Vitae no.1

[9] Conception means the fertilization of the female egg by the male sperm.

[10] Humanae Vitae no.8

[11] Nonetheless the Church, calling men back to the observance of the norms of the natural law, as interpreted by its constant doctrine teaches that each and every marriage act (quilibet matrimonii usus) must remain open to the transmission of life. Humanae Viate no.11

[12] Pontifical Council for the Family, Instrumentum Laboris no. 73

[13] Intrumentum Laboris no.76

[14] Sigmund Freud, Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, page 266.

[15] Humanae Vitae no.17

 

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