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View Diary: On Contraceptive Coverage, It's Not Up to Obama to Decide What is More "Catholic" (14 comments)

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  •  The catholic church isn't a democracy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG

    And there is not really a significant debate within the church on this teaching.  The bishops recognize that 90% of catholic women are using birth control, but the church teaching is clear.  While the right to use contraception might fall under the conscience exception, the use of birth control pills, IUDs and the morning after pill are considered fundamental moral teachings of the church.  (right to life). Catholics are under an obligation to protect innocent life, regardless of conscience objections.  any method of birth control that might prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg is considered an abortion rather than birth control.  Whatever might be inferred about the beliefs of individual bishops etc, there is no theological dispute on the teaching of birth control.  None.  

    As for Obama, I doubt seriously whether he has any interest in the teachings of the catholic church at all.  He is most likely making sure that any requirement of birth control coverage does not prevent the church from freely practicing it religion. It is a constitutional issue, not a theology issue.    

    •  I disagree. (4+ / 0-)

      The encyclicals regarding birth control methods, including hormonal birth control, and also including abortion, haven't been issued as one of the infallable, from-god's-mouth-to-the-pope's-ears kind, ex cathedra, therefore, the layperson's conscience exception applies to all of them.

      Catholics are under an obligation to protect innocent life, regardless of conscience objections.

      Bacteria are god's creatures, too.  I guess this means that a good Catholic shouldn't use antibiotics when they're sick?

      Nothing in the Bible attests to any personhood of an unborn fetus.  In fact, the only passage in the bible which is relevant is the one in the OT that states that if someone beats your wife badly enough to make her miscarry, they owe you some money.  

      With no contravening directive with the full weight of The Word of God behind it, every Catholic is free to disregard any elements of the encyclical which are in conflict with their conscience.

      •  I should have written the protection of innocent (2+ / 0-)
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        Praxical, mideedah

        Human life.  It is not an infallible pronouncement, but this obligation to protect the unborn is far different than the morality of using birth control.

        This is a serious and grave teaching of the church which has been maintained for a long period of time.  An informed conscience would necessarily reflect the seriousness and consistency of this teaching throughout church history.  Conscience isn't a matter of preference or personal opinion.   It requires informed contemplation and a thorough understanding on the church's teaching.

        Given the requirements of conscience, I truly don't believe that there is any way to deviate from this teaching, and remain in good standing with the church.  I think there are areas, such as when the mother's life is in jeopardy where conscience can come into play, but that is the only gray area I see as possible.  

        I am not expressing my opinion of course, but my knowledge of church teaching as a former Master Catechist, and a 45 year practicing Catholic.    

        •  There are many forms of jeopardy. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mideedah
          Given the requirements of conscience, I truly don't believe that there is any way to deviate from this teaching, and remain in good standing with the church.  I think there are areas, such as when the mother's life is in jeopardy where conscience can come into play, but that is the only gray area I see as possible.  

          The instance you give is certainly one -- where the mother's life is directly threatened by the pregnancy.  I personally think that the catholic hospitals which won't abort in such cases are abominable, particularly when there's absolutely no chance of the pregnancy going to term, or even to viability.

          That being said, as the OP notes, there's significant opposition from within the Catholic church, by arms -of- the Catholic church, to these pronouncements.  And I'd say that there's good reason.  The lives of many catholic women have been utterly fucked up because they cannot control their reproduction, once married, and sometimes even before.  Constantly being knocked up grinds women down and destroys their health while obviating almost all potential for that woman to provide for herself or her family.  In this world, where two incomes tend to be needed to make ends meet, this is another consideration.  It might work in the catholocentric world, where all women who have sex are all married to men who love them and would do anything to provide for their well-being and the well-being of their families, but we operate in the real world, alas.

          Let's not forget that any pregnancy poses significant health risks to the mother, along with a depletion of resources that impact her health afterwards, particularly when combined with a reduction of available resources to take care of the rest of the family once you've got another mouth to feed.  But when it comes down to it, I think that any form of birth control is much, much less morally troubling than any abortion, which also poses a more significant risk to the woman's life than birth-control methods do.

          Conscience isn't a matter of preference or personal opinion.   It requires informed contemplation and a thorough understanding on the church's teaching.

          Except it is a matter of personal opinion.  It's what lets you go 'this is wrong!' when everyone else is standing up and cheering for it.  It's what you get when you mix, as you say, serious reflection on the church's teachings with personal circumstance.  It's not something that everyone is inexoriably led to.  (

          This is a serious and grave teaching of the church which has been maintained for a long period of time.

          Not that long.  I mean, we're talking, what, fourty-some-odd years since the issuance of the encyclical?  And even before that, reliable hormonal birth control's only really been available for about the same time, outside of china, and has been a non-issue.  And a great deal of the opposition to birth control before that -- but even then, what, maybe a hundred years' worth with condoms -- was based on the whole 'spilling your seed on the ground' argument, which is frankly taken out of context and inapplicable when put in the context of a woman controlling her own fertility.

          I also have to apologize for being a bit of a dick about the 'life' part, but at that early stage of fertilization (not, I should note, pregnancy,) it's quite possible to argue about whether or not a fertilized zygote is human or not.  That seems to revolve, at heart, around the idea of the moment of ensoulment, which also is an issue which doesn't appear to be settled.

          So...in spite of how gung-ho the modern day Church is about it, I'd say that the issues regarding women's health, contraception, and abortion are far from settled, and, since 98% of catholic women disregard the whole birth-control bit, I'd say that it's very far from being settled and accepted dogma, unless you're a man.

          ...Sorry this isn't more coherent; operating on little sleep and taking time to respond on break. ;)

    •  So do you think it would be OK (0+ / 0-)

      for a company owned by Jehovah's Witnesses to offer health insurance to their employees that doesn't cover transfusions?

      •  Please don't mistake my comments for my opinion (0+ / 0-)

        I never claimed to agree with the church's teaching.  In fact, I feel that it is very unfortunate and has hurt many people.  No, I don't think this makes any sense and hopefully the Obama administration will see that this isn't really an issue.

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