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Catholic Dilemma: Birth Control

FACT 1. The Catholic Church teaches that birth control, being morally evil, is inherently a mortal sin.

"727: What is Contraception? Contraception is any action, deliberately taken before, during, or after intercourse in order to prevent conception."

"728: Why is contraception sinful? Contraception is sinful because the conjugal act is of its very nature designed for the purpose of procreating children. Therefore, those who "Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children.

"729: How sinful is contraception? Contraception is seriously sinful because it contradicts the divinely ordained purpose of marital intercourse which is the fostering of procreative love." [Question and Answer Catholic Catechism, John A. Hardon, S.J. Copyright 1981, with Imprimatur, Inprimi Potest, and Nihil Obstat]

FACT 3. The Catholic Church also teaches that birth control can be used, without stigma of sin, if the birth control method is the approved one (sic., the so-called rhythm method, and also called by many Catholics "Vatican Roulette") of thermometer-and-calendar, which the Church considers "natural."

"The Church is coherent with herself when she considers recourse to the infecund periods to be licit, while at the same time condemning, as being always illicit, the use of means directly contrary to fecundation, even if such use is inspired by reasons which may appear honest and serious. In reality, there are essential differences between the two cases; in the former, the married couple make legitimate use of a natural disposition; in the latter, they impede the development of natural processes. It is true that, in the one and the other case, the married couple are concordant in the positive will of avoiding children for plausible reasons, seeking the certainty that offspring will not arrive; but it is also true that only in the former case are they able to renounce the use of marriage in the fecund periods when, for just motives, procreation is not desirable, while making use of it during infecund periods to manifest their affection and to safeguard their mutual fidelity. By so doing, they give proof of a truly and integrally honest love." [Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI Encyclical Letter, July 25, 1968]

FACT 4. The Catholic Church teaches that the primary purpose of sex in marriage is the production of children. She thus posits a strictly biological model, or basis for her doctrine.

"The marriage contract is. . . For the procreation and education of Children. While this is the primary end of marriage..." [Catholic Encyclopedia, Copyright 1987, with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.]

"Marriage and conjugal love (i.e., sex) are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children." [Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI Encyclical Letter, July 25, 1968]

FACT 5. Any mother in the world (who has ever tried it) can tell you that the so-called "natural" method approved by Rome is the most unnatural and most unreliable method there is. As some wags have put it, "The only truly 'safe' period in a woman's life is the period between the ages of seventy and one hundred."

FACT 6. The act of taking temperatures and monitoring the calendar for the express purpose of finding days in which intercourse can be had without resulting in conception, is a de-facto act of contraception because its sole purpose is to enjoy sex without reproduction. In the words of the Catholic Church, the rhythm method "is any action, deliberately taken before, during, or after intercourse in order to prevent conception." It does so using time, rather than space, as the blocking factor.

FACT 7. The act of intercourse during pregnancy cannot possible lead to another conception. Thus, to have intercourse during pregnancy is to engage in sex for the sole purpose of pleasure, and therefore 'interferes with the natural act of procreation," and violate what Rome considers the primary purpose of marital intercourse.

The Dilemma

QUESTION: Does the Catholic Church say that any action taken to prevent conception is contraception, and therefore evil and a mortal sin? Yes No
QUESTION: Does the practice of plotting infertile periods in which to have sex without pregnancy constitute an "action taken to prevent conception?" Yes No
QUESTION: Can a woman become pregnant while she is already pregnant? Yes No
QUESTION: Is having sex while the woman is pregnant an act aimed solely at pleasure, with no possibility of conception? Yes No
QUESTION: Does the Catholic Church have any Scriptural support for its ban on contraception? Yes No
QUESTION: Is the Catholic Church's ban on contraception based solely on biological grounds - i.e., it is an interference with the natural biological functions of the body? Yes No
QUESTION: Since the Catholic Church objects to contraception on the basis that it violates "natural" (moral) law, why doesn't the Church object to all things that violate "natural" (moral) law, such as most of modern medicine? For example, is it not a "natural process" when kidneys, livers and hearts fail? When one has serious vision problems, and so forth? On the premise of "natural law," a transplant, dialysis, a heart bypass, etc., interferes with the "natural process." Should such things not be condemned along with contraception, and for the same reasons? Your answer?
QUESTION: Given that the purpose, goal and intent of the rhythm method are identical to those of all other methods of having sex without procreation, what is the moral difference between them? Your answer?
QUESTION: Can you see the contradiction inherent in Rome's "natural law (biological functions)" basis for objecting to contraception and her acceptance of numerous other violations of that same "natural law" in other areas? Yes No
QUESTION: Can you see the contradiction inherent in Rome's approval of the rhythm method vis-a-vis her blanket condemnation of any action that is aimed at having intercourse without conception? Yes No
QUESTION: How do you resolve this Catholic Dilemma? Your answer?

I doubt there is a single Roman Catholic pope, cardinal, bishop, priest or theologian who would not immediately "violate natural law" by having a kidney transplant, getting an inflamed appendix cut out, or even wearing glasses. Yet they so readily declare that preventing conception is morally evil and forbidden. I find their argument based solely on "natural law" (another name for biology) less than convincing. How about you?

A Final Question

Rome's position on birth control is a self-contradictory, without a shred of scriptural support, biologically-based conundrum presented as being "natural law" and "God's revealed will." Further, the historical evidence from Vatican Council II shows that the large majority of bishops were opposed to the official teaching and wanted to change it. Seeing this, the pope took the issue out of the hands of the assigned bishops and published his encyclical in opposition to their findings and against their wishes. Evidently God revealed His Will only to the pope, but the exact opposite to the bishops. Now, what was that thing about the magesterium including all the bishops? Guess its no longer true.

Given all the facts, one can only wonder, "What purpose does it all serve?" The answer goes, I believe, to the issues of papal power and control, and, in the not-distant background, to money as well. If all Roman Catholics obeyed Rome in this matter, the Catholic Church would continue to grow exponentially by virtue of fecundity of the faithful. More babies equals more Catholics, equals more power, equals more income. To interrupt this process would be to interrupt that power, growth and financial resource. This, I postulate, is the primary reason why Pope Paul VI violated a prime directive on the Magesterium in order to maintain the status quo.

Did he succeed? Hardly. It would appear that the Catholic 'faithful' have, for the most part, taken this decision into their own hands (where it belongs) and thumbed their collective noses at Rome. If surveys are accurate, at least seventy-five per cent of Roman Catholics approve of or practice birth control (and I don't mean via the rhythm method).

This is but one element in the many that are contributing to the slow-down in the growth rate of membership in that church. I have to say that I use the term 'membership' judiciously. Since it is also a teaching of Rome that "Once a Catholic, Always a Catholic" it is difficult to get accurate memberships statistics. Regardless of how many leave the Roman Catholic Church, she has a tendency to count them anyway. To see the real status, keep an eye on the number of Catholic churches that are closing for lack of people and income, and the number of Roman Catholic seminaries and schools that are closing for the same reasons.

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FACT 1. For generations, sincere Roman Catholics tooled down the highways with their plastic St. Christopher up there alongside their plastic Jesus or plastic Mary on the dashboard, and their St. Christopher medal hanging from their neck like an amulet. St. Christopher, it was said in Catholic circles, was the "patron Saint of travelers" who would protect them on their journey.

FACT 2. Catholic bookstores and Catholic liturgical supply stores sell a variety of St. Christopher items, especially medals with high price tags.

Evidence. Go visit the stores.

FACT 3. St. Christopher never existed! The Catholic Church eliminated his feast day for this reason.

"Before the 1969 reform of the Roman calendar, Christopher was listed as a martyr who died under Decius. Nothing else is known about him (except for) several legends about him..." "Christopher was one of the (saints) names that was determined to have a basis mostly in legend. Therefore Christopher (and others) were dropped from the universal calendar." [Catholic Online St. Christopher Page]

"But in 1969, the Catholic Church stripped him of his feast day and announced that there was no proof St. Christopher ever existed." [Detroit Free Press, 1998]

FACT 4. The Catholic Encyclopedia continues to affirm that St. Christopher was real.

"The existence of a martyr St. Christopher cannot be denied" [Catholic Encyclopedia]

FACT 5. The Catholic Church continues to promote the veneration of St. Christopher, and continues him on her list of saints.

Evidence See Lives of Saints, published by John J. Crawley&Co., Inc. Read the excerpt at [The Catholic Resource Network]. See also the Catholic Forum presentation of St. Christopher as if he were real - even given him a place of birth and year of death at [Patron Saints Index].

The Dilemma

QUESTION: In eliminating his feast day, did the Catholic Church recognize that St. Christopher was but a legend who never existed? Yes No
QUESTION: If St. Christopher never existed, why is he still identified as a saint in the Catholic Church's lists of saints? Your answer?
QUESTION: Since St. Christopher never existed, were millions of Catholics duped into praying to a non-existent saint? Yes No
QUESTION: Since St. Christopher never existed, why does the Catholic Church continue to promote the veneration of him? Your answer?
QUESTION: Since St. Christopher never existed, why does the Catholic Church continue to sell or approve the selling of St. Christopher icons (images, holy cards, medals, etc.)? Could it have anything to do with money? Your answer?
QUESTION: Since the Catholic Church has admitted that St. Christopher is merely a legend, is she not being hypocritical in promoting his veneration and the sale of (often expensive) St. Christopher items? Yes No
QUESTION: How do you resolve this Catholic Dilemma? Your answer?

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