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Everyone, clearly, would like to minimize or elimanate abortions.  Santorum has gone so far as to state that he'd be in favor of states' rights to prohibit contraception, a move that certainly would increase abortions.  I've heard many argue that life begins at conception.  If that's the case, what is the harm in keeping the sperm from reaching the egg?  However, if the belief is that the heavenly frequencies contain unborn souls waiting for an earthly vessel to inhabit, banning contraception would make sense.  My question is whether the Catholic faith endorses the idea of pre-born souls.  Is this the basis for the desire to ban contraception?  What drives the Catholic battle against contraception?

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Comment Preferences

  •  teh goog. its ur friend (20+ / 0-)
    Catholic - introduction

    The Church forbids sex outside marriage, so its teachings about birth control should be understood in the context of husband and wife.

    The Roman Catholic Church believes that using contraception is "intrinsically evil" in itself, regardless of the consequences. Catholics are only permitted to use natural methods of birth control.

    But the Church does not condemn things like the pill or condoms in themselves. What is morally wrong is using such things with the intention of preventing conception. Using them for other purposes is fine - for example, using the pill to regulate the periods of a woman who is not in a sexual relationship is not wrong.

    The Church teaches that using artificial contraception is wrong because:

        it is against 'natural law'
        it breaks the natural connection between the procreative and the unitive purposes of sex
        it turns sex into a non-marital act
        it gives human beings the power to decide when a new life should begin - that power belongs to God
        it leads to widespread immorality
        it damages the institution of marriage
        it reduces male respect for women
        it gives human beings the idea that they can have complete power over the body
        it allows the implementation of eugenic programmes


    by bubbanomics on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:54:10 PM PST

  •  I don't want to minimize abortion. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Kroning II, DigDug, 6ZONite

    I would like to make it easier to allow fetuses in their 96 trimester, to be aborted. I'm looking at you Tebow!!!

    Lo que separa la civilizacion de la anarquia son solo siete comidas.

    by psilocynic on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:56:34 PM PST

  •  Conversion is hard work... (6+ / 0-)

    making little baby converts is far easier.

    The Mormons figured that out as well.

  •  Female African baboons use... (10+ / 0-)

    local legumes to regulate their estrus, thereby practicing artificial, unnatural birth control.  Call the Pope!

    The last sound on earth will be the squawk of an optimist.

    by CT yanqui on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:57:56 PM PST

  •  It is church doctrine, and that is all. All of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, grover, Avila

    the world's organized religions have formulated doctrine that allows their group to operate in their own best interests.  The concept of the soul gets moved around to meet the needs of the group.  For Transcendentalists there is an over-soul, a vast, somewhat free-floating spirituality in which we all partake, small gearwheels moving in unison with a large wheel.
    As to when the soul enters or leaves the body, the rules are very fluid on this and would likely be subject to change during pandemics, planetary annihilations, lethal injections, in uteruro starvation involving multiple births, famines, death by disintegration, etc.  Perfect truth is elusive and may not be found in this galaxy.  We try to do the best we can.  That is all.

    •  Actually, the uncertainty about the soul (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, johnny wurster

      and when human life begins has been used as an argument against abortion. If you don't know, why take the risk? I have heard that one.

      Fructose is a liver poison. Stop eating it today.

      by Anne Elk on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:52:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is what makes me wonder why the notion of reincarnation hasn't been more embraced--so what if you have an abortion and the soul in the fetus gets recycled? Who says that wasn't what was supposed to happen?

        •  Are you suggesting (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Anne Elk

          That people should embrace the notion of reincarnation because it is a better viewpoint for justifying abortion?  That feels like oil companies shopping for interpretations of data to suggest that global warming isn't happening.

        •  The problem with reincarnation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is in population increase. The population of the Earth is so vast by comparison to ages past that only a very tiny fraction of the souls inhabiting bodies today could be the result of reincarnation. So, even if reincarnation were a fact, it couldn't account for more than a few percent of everyone alive today. The chances that any one person is, say, the reincarnation of Cleopatra is probably, having not done the daft calculation, not more than 1 in 10,000. So, whether you believe in reincarnation or not, it is hardly a significant issue at any level.

          Fructose is a liver poison. Stop eating it today.

          by Anne Elk on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 09:49:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  interesting (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          reincarnation might explain why some children live only a few years, in pain, and die. it might explain the belief that only the good die young. (i don't believe that but some do.) i try to keep an open mind but always have more questions than answers.

          Success loves a witness, but failure can't exist without one. - Junot Díaz

          by Avila on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 11:34:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  there are two levels here (7+ / 0-)

    Bubbanomics explained the contraceptin thing.  However, the Catholic Church puts the type of contraception that prevents pregnancy AFTER fertilization as a far worse thing than, say, condoms which prevent fertilization.  

    I am in New Orleans, a very Catholic city.  Part of the real upset about this rule is that contraception coverage includes the morning after pill, which Catholics view as ending human life, becuase it prevents implantation after possible fertilization.

    •  Would anyone accept a compromise (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, Wee Mama, George3

      That allows contraception that prevents fertilization to be treated differently from contraception that works after fertilization?

      •  i cannot speak for the Church (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila, Wee Mama, johnny wurster, VClib, George3

        but I think they would find it problematic that government is in a position of deciding which of their beliefs they must be required to violate.   I think their position is that Government constitutionally does not get to decide which of their beliefs are more fundamental than others.

        Even if that were raised, some Oral contraceptive pills work by preventing implantation.

      •  If by "anyone" you mean bishops, probably not. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila, Ahianne

        Most Catholics don't have any problem with any birth control.
        I looked into the position on artificial insemination. It is only acceptable if the couple have sex with a condom that has holes in it, so that there is a chance the the pregnancy occurred from the marital act. In a couple with fertility issues. Unreal.

        Oh for crying out loud!

        by 4mygirls on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:41:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The pill sometimes works by preventing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila, tardis10

        implantation of the fertilized ovum. Many of the right-to-life people will say that spermicides "might" work the same way, or that they could result in a damaged sperm fertilizing an ovum which leads to the "death" of the "preborn" ovum.

        They want to use this as a tool to ban all artificial birth control.

        The Will of the People shall be the Law of the Land. - Robert M. LaFollette

        by stcroix cheesehead on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:22:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Compromise presupposes at least two parties. (6+ / 0-)

        As it stands, there is only one person qualified to make the choice of which of her eggs she wishes to raise within her body and give birth to.

        The idea that anyone else has a say in a person's medical decisions about her own body sets the starting point for discussion way out in Overton right field. It's a fundie right wing talking point, and it needs to be rebuked.

        "Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope." ~Robert F. Kennedy

        by Agent99 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:44:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  true. that is not the question. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, Avila

          the quextion is whether her employer has to pay for her choice if it violates the employer's religion, when the employer IS a religion.

          In this particular dispute, no one is preventing women from making their own choices.  The question involves whether someone else can be forced to pay for her choices.

          •  People and institutions that pay taxes (4+ / 0-)

            are compelled to pay for many choices that violate their individual or collective conscience- wars that they consider immoral being just one example.  It's an unavoidable part of being a citizen of a democracy.

            I have a hard time understanding why a conscience is considered inviolate and deserving of protection only if or when that conscience derives from organized religion, rather than from personal morality.

            •  if this were a question of taxes, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, Avila

              would have a point.  It is instead a direct payment by a church to subsidize choices that violate their religious beliefs.

              It is a conflict between the right of a woman to have her employer provide health insurance to subsidize her choices versus the right of a church not to subsidize behavior that vioaltes its religion.  

              •  Sorry I'm not seeing a meaningful (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Agent99, Avila

                distinction.  When I pay my taxes, it's a direct payment to subsidize at least some choices that violate my beliefs.

                Again, it comes down to personal vs. institutional belief. And again, I fail to see why institutional belief is more deserving of protection.

                If the Church's goal is to prevent contraceptive use among Catholic employees, let them make that argument (although in reality 90% of their members aren't buying it, coverage notwithstanding).  If the goal is to prevent contraceptive use among employees who are not Catholic, then the Church is overstepping its boundaries, to put it mildly.

                •  i agree with you that it is a conflict (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  The reason I don't see it as quite as clear cut as you do is because the First Amendment free exercise clause provides constitutional protection for what you call institutional beliefs.

                  This is a conflict that arises from the somewhat irrational system that mandates that it is the employer that provides health insurance.

                  •  Of course I understand the constitutional (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ahianne, Avila

                    protection of religious expression, but I don't see that the mandate for coverage forces the Church to abandon or violate its teaching.  They are required to provide coverage, not to approve of how individuals choose to use that coverage. They are still free to preach their message to whomever will listen (and really at this point it's pretty much the bishops preaching to a choir of other clergy).

                    The closest thing I've seen to how I view this was a post on Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish, I think from today. Don't have a link but I think the title was What the State Can Make Us Do.

              •  It is NOT a direct payment by a church (4+ / 0-)

                Nobody is proposing that the Catholic Church be required to pay for contraception for its employees (such as church secretaries and custodians).  But the "Catholic" social agencies are a different matter entirely.  They are organized as separate organizations, and are able to get public money because they are supposedly distinct from the church itself.  They employ non-Catholics, get support from non-Catholics, and serve non-Catholics on a non-discriminatory basis.

                For example, Catholic Charities of Baltimore gets 77% of its financial support from government sources, 14% from program fees and other, and only 9% from contributions (whether from Catholics or otherwise).  When my late mother had to be admitted to a nursing home for physical therapy after a hospitalization, she was admitted to a "Catholic" nursing home, but her bills were paid by Medicare and private insurance, and my clear impression was that most of the people caring for her were not Catholic.

                PROUD to be a Democrat!

                by leevank on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 08:53:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Here is the issue, they want the money and they (0+ / 0-)

                  want to be free to do what they want. They are free to do what ever they want but they will have to forgo the funding and they don' t want to do that. The R's forget to mention the funding part which is the core issue not the providing contraception. They are lying sacks of crap and for a religious organization that is not a good thing to be.

          •  Do you mean the Catholic University position? (3+ / 0-)

            Are you saying that everyone should pay for all of their own medical care, or are you restricting that requirement to young women only? Doesn't Federal Law prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender?

            What if my religion decided to oppose whatever medical procedure you might need? Unfair, right?


            "Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope." ~Robert F. Kennedy

            by Agent99 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 06:33:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It is really a conflict based on an irrational (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ahianne, Avila

              system that ties health insurance to the employer.   If our system did not require the employer to be the one to essentially pay for the employee's health care, we would not be faced with this conflict.  In a rational system, health care would be separate and not the employer's business.

              I  do not see an easy answer here.  

            •  There are actually precious few Catholic ... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ahianne, Avila

              universities these days.  As I understand it, most of them say that they are "universities in the Catholic tradition" or "universities in the Jesuit (or other order) tradition," in part because they don't want to be strictly bound by Church positions on what can be taught as "Catholic" theology or philosophy.

              PROUD to be a Democrat!

              by leevank on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 09:04:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  The employer is not paying for it (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Agent99, gramofsam1, Ahianne

            any more than they are paying for wars through witholding federal taxes for the employee.

            It is an employee benefit.  They are paying on behalf of the employee.  It is part of the compensation package.

            Therefore they are not paying, and the whole issue is moot.

            If that doesn't work for them, then their only choice is to start fighting for single payer.

            And would you have a problem if you employer refused to cover blood transfusions, or would only pay for someone to come and pray for you to get well?

    •  I think the "real upset" is that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the morning after pill puts women in more control while men can better control outcomes with condoms. Catholic doctrine,so slow to move on so many questions,seems to have evolved rather quickly on this issue.

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:23:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And what of the ectopic pregnancy? (0+ / 0-)
  •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Your first sentence is not true for some feminists and environmentalists.

    •  I am not aware of any feminists or (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, 6ZONite, gramofsam1, grover

      environmentalists who don't think that it is better to prevent a pregnancy than to terminate it.

      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:05:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's better to prevent knee injury, but hey, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brooke In Seattle, Avila

        once the knee is blown, it's far better to have the minor outpatient surgery to restore the knee to it's previous healthy state than to let it go for nine months.

        The only difference in my analogy is that after nine months with a bum knee, you still only have a bum knee. It can still be repaired.

        After nine months of an unwanted pregnancy, you have an unwanted baby.

        Funny how you never see swarms of violent radical fundamentalists trying to prevent private outpatient surgery at the orthepedic surgeon's office.

        Abortion should be safe and legal. The word rare attaches a judgement which I strongly disagree with.

        "Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope." ~Robert F. Kennedy

        by Agent99 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 06:00:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, since abortion does carry some risk, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          grover, Avila

          although smaller than pregnancy, I would say keeping it rare is desirable.

          Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

          by Wee Mama on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 07:27:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Abortion carries what risk, precisely? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brooke In Seattle

            It is a simple outpatient procedure.

            Sorry, but you really need to substiantiate that extraordinary claim with facts.

            Or are you referring to the type of back alley abortion which religious fundamentalists wish to force upon women who are Not Their Daughters? Because, yeah, that would kill a lot of women.

            "Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope." ~Robert F. Kennedy

            by Agent99 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 07:57:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I totally support a woman's right to choose - I (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              grover, gramofsam1, Ahianne, Avila

              think you think I am somehow lukewarm on that. Nonetheless, abortion is a medical procedure and all medical procedures carry risk. From the NHS (a source that I hope you will find is acceptably neutral):

              Risks at the time of an abortion

              The risk of problems occuring during an abortion is low. However, there are more likely to be problems if an abortion is carried out later in a pregnancy. The low risks associated with abortions are:

                  haemorrhage (excessive bleeding) – occurs in about 1 in every 1,000 abortions
                  damage to the cervix – occurs in no more than 10 in every 1,000 abortions
                  damage to the womb – occurs in up to 4 in every 1,000 abortions during surgical abortion, and less than 1 in 1,000 medical abortions carried out at 12-24 weeks

              Risks after an abortion

              After an abortion, the main risk is infection in the womb, usually caused by a failure to completely remove all of the foetus and associated tissue.

              If you have an infection after an abortion, you may bleed heavily from your vagina and have some period-like pain. Antibiotics are usually used to treat the infection.

              If an infection is not treated, it could result in a more severe infection of your reproductive organs, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility or ectopic pregnancy. However, the risk of an infection can be reduced by taking antibiotics at the time of the abortion.

              Repeated abortions can cause damage to the entrance of the womb (cervix), and increase the risk of late miscarriages.

              After an abortion, you may have some period-type pains, and some vaginal bleeding, which should gradually lessen after a few days. Most women can return to their usual activities within a day or so. However, seek medical attention if you have severe pain or if bleeding has not stopped after 14 days.

              Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

              by Wee Mama on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 08:20:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  My Grandmother died in childbirth. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                In a country where the catholic church forced its way into the government.

                Your post states first thing that the risk associated with abortion is low. Low risk. My point exactly.

                I'm sure she could have dealt with a bit of bleeding.

                I'm sure if she had decent, honest, non-Catholic medical care, that she could have chosen to abort the pregnancy, which killed her and the fetus, and left a whole family of small children never knowing their mother.

                I'm sure my mother would have been a better mother if she had had a mother herself.

                I'm very sure I would have very much liked to have had a Grandmother.

                But she was murdered by insane women-hating Catholic church dogma that forced its rules into the government.

                "Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope." ~Robert F. Kennedy

                by Agent99 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 08:50:02 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  We are talking at cross purposes. We both agree (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gramofsam1, Ahianne, Avila

                  that women have a right to have an abortion if that is their decision.

                  You made the claim (surprising to me) that some feminists and environmentalists didn't care about keeping the number of abortion as small as possible through effective and readily available contraception. I pointed out that abortion is a medical procedure and like all medical procedures does carry risk, and therefore it is better to prevent pregnancy than to terminate it.

                  I have nowhere said anything about limiting a woman's right to or access to abortion, only that any wise, prudent person would prefer to see a pregnancy prevented than terminated by abortion.

                  Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

                  by Wee Mama on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 08:59:36 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Nobody made that claim. Certainly not me. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Wee Mama

                    "You made the claim (surprising to me) that some feminists and environmentalists didn't care about keeping the number of abortion as small as possible through effective and readily available contraception."

                    Another commenter posted a comment disagreeing with the OP's opening sentence that, "Everyone, clearly, would like to minimize or elimanate abortions."

                    I recced that, because eliminating abortion is the wet dream fantasy of the fundamentalist right wing in this country. I stated that abortion must remain safe and legal.
                    It has been my experience that the people who include 'rare', or 'as few as possible', often prove to be in favor of eliminating women's rights to safe and legal abortion entirely.

                    "Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope." ~Robert F. Kennedy

                    by Agent99 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 09:16:53 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  From the Feminist Women's Health Center (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              grover, Avila
              Like all medical procedures, there are some risks with abortion, but the risk is comparatively minimal.

              Potential complications from the abortion procedure include

                  incomplete abortion - which means the procedure needs to be repeated (a minor complication)
                  infection - which is easily treated with antibiotics
                  perforation of the uterine wall - for which the treatment may be nothing, to surgical repair in a hospital, depending on the severity.

              Less than 1% of all abortion patients experience a major complication, such as serious pelvic infection, hemorrhage requiring a blood transfusion or unintended major surgery. The risks associated with abortion increases with the length of pregnancy. Hysterectomy is exceedingly rare.

              The risk of death associated with childbirth is about 10 times as high as that associated with abortion.

              Unless you have a complication during or after the abortion, abortion has no impact on your future ability to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term.


              Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

              by Wee Mama on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 08:53:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I fully support the right to choose. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ahianne, Wee Mama, Avila

              Even so, a no risk invasive medical procedure doesn't exist.
              Abortion procedures that are as safe as possible should be offered to all women who feel the need, in my opinion, nonetheless.
              Catholic catechism ought concern only Catholics. That said, having been raised in a Roman Catholic family and neighborhood, I assure you that many have had the procedure and continue with their march to the communion rail with apparently clear conscience.

        •  There's a strong argument that communities that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wee Mama, Avila

          are strongly served by Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions, have fewer actual unwanted pregnancies and abortions than conservative communities that resist sex education and family planning and health services for women.

          I don't like the acquiescence to the right wing moral judgment that there should be a stigma attached to abortion, either.

          •  I completely agree that PP prevents many abortions (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            In commenting that it is desirable to keep abortion rare, I was speaking from the medical perspective, which prefers to avoid all procedures unless needed, so preventing pregnancy prevents the need for abortion.

            I didn't mean to leave any impression of stigma on abortion itself.

            Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

            by Wee Mama on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 05:13:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know. However, over the years, people who (0+ / 0-)

              were pro-choice have been too yielding in how they respond. I mean the pols.
              I guess they're afraid of being assassinated.
              I think pro-choice people are going to have to be a little more in-your-face and assertive about challenging the narrow religious views behind the anti-abortion push.
              I think the violence is inevitable in any case, once Obama wins and appoints another couple of moderate Scotus justices, those folks will be desperate, so the dog whistle is going to become more shrill and the rhetoric is going to become more overtly terroristic.
              We're going to have to face up to this fact pretty soon.

      •  The statement presupposes pregnancy. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama
    •  I'm in favor of a woman's right to decide what to (0+ / 0-)

      do with her own body in private. I'm in favor of sex education and access to birth control. I'm not in favor of accepting the stigma attached to abortion by the superstitious right wing.
      However, given the political volatility of the abortion issue, I'd like to chart a course which takes abortion out of the political equation. So for that reason, I'd like to see abortions become as rare as possible, without the stigma and the reduction of a woman's rights.
      I think in order to get beyond this, we're going to have to have a re-energized woman's movement that resonates with a majority of younger women, and doesn't alienate a large population of younger men.

  •  historically (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, skrekk, pico, blueness, Ahianne

    the Catholic Church has always opposed contraception, initially because the Church felt procreation was the primary purpose of sexual intercourse (and so the purpose of marriage).  this was modified a bit in 1930, with the encyclical Casti Conubii, which allowed a secondary purpose of intercourse:

    Nor are those considered as acting against nature who in the married state use their right in the proper manner although on account of natural reasons either of time or of certain defects, new life cannot be brought forth. For in matrimony as well as in the use of the matrimonial rights there are also secondary ends, such as mutual aid, the cultivating of mutual love, and the quieting of concupiscence which husband and wife are not forbidden to consider so long as they are subordinated to the primary end and so long as the intrinsic nature of the act is preserved.

    From the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family (1997):

    The Church has always taught the intrinsic evil of contraception, that is, of every marital act intentionally rendered unfruitful. This teaching is to be held as definitive and irreformable. Contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity; it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life (the procreative aspect of matrimony), and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses (the unitive aspect of matrimony); it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life.

    there are different perspectives on this, and some differences of reasoning, but in effect, contraception is considered sinful and always has been for Catholics.

    pre-born souls is a term the religious right uses, generally in terms of opposition to abortion.  i've heard it used in reference to in vitro conception and embryos by evangelical Christians, also.  

    the Catholic Church opposes abortion, and believes the souls of children are without sin.  i'm used to hearing this more in terms of unbaptized children or infant deaths, though, and evangelical Christians using the actual "pre-born soul" terminology.

    very interesting question, though.  i'm interested in what others believe about this.  

    Success loves a witness, but failure can't exist without one. - Junot Díaz

    by Avila on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:34:50 PM PST

    •  Historically, the Church relied upon Aristotle too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and plenary indulgences. Not to mention it might be the faith of Saul not Jesus.

      In any event, to look to Catholicism for the nature of the soul or spirit will yield a rather disharmonious view of almost all things.

      The dude abides, now get off my lawn.

      by Boris49 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 06:31:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  disharmony (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is true of a lot of things, in my experience, for Catholics. i disagree with many positions held by the Church, and i'm pretty sure others feel the same (wrong on birth control, wrong on male-only priests, wrong on celibacy, wrong on GLBT issues, and what i see as a long history of cruelty to women, though just my opinion). i almost never miss mass, and love that some in the Church seem to have a sense of social justice, and oppose the death penalty, as just one example. i grew up in the Church and don't know how it is for others of different faith, but there's a definite sense of disharmony in trying to follow Catholic doctrine and making decisions about practical matters in one's personal life. some areas that can't be reconciled.

        Success loves a witness, but failure can't exist without one. - Junot Díaz

        by Avila on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 11:27:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  If a married couple (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      planned to have sex at a time when the woman would most likely not get pregnant, wouldn't that be purposefully subverting the primary end (conception) for the secondary end (umm...whoopee?)?

      •  No, it's fine, as long as they don't use (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueness, Ahianne, Avila

        contraception. The Catholic wedding rite includes vows "to gladly accept children as a gift from God" (or words very close to that).

        So even if a good Catholic couple aren't planning to get pregnant, as long as they're not erecting barriers to the children that are gifts from God, then it's all good.

        In fact, this is the rhythm method, and the Catholic church endorses it.

        In reality, most Catholic couples use contraception and figure that if God really wanted to bestow one of his gifts at a particular time, he would. While this may seem
        Cynical, I think that lay Catholics simply have more faith in a truly omnipotent God --and definitely omniscient (as in, knowing what's best for the couple and any offspring they may create) --than those who claim to lead the Church.


        © grover

        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 12:02:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  As a cradle catholic, this doesn't sound familiar. (6+ / 0-)

    I don't recall anything about pre-born souls being taught.

    Oh for crying out loud!

    by 4mygirls on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:44:09 PM PST

  •  I don't believe that the Church (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, Wee Mama, gramofsam1

    teaches that there are pre-born souls waiting for a portal into this world. I have never heard that idea before and I was raised about as catholic as you could get (I got better).

    The inconsistency of the Church's argument wrt to contraception is obvious from Bubba's quote. On the one hand the Church says that using contraception is "intrinsically evil" in itself, regardless of the consequences. On the other hand, Catholics are only permitted to use natural methods of birth control. So a basic moral precept is that the means do not justify the ends. Sin is very much a matter of intent. If contraception is the aim, then the means of achieving it is of little moral consequence. Of course, since such bizarre methods as the so-called "Ovulation" method in which the woman uses vaginal temperature to work out the precise time when sex is unlikely to result in pregnancy, don't really work, then all you are really doing is offering God a sporting chance. The gesture seems faintly disrespectful to me.

    My oldest sister - an extraordinarily devout Catholic - had 5 children after using the above kooky method for many years. One day, she had a tubal legation and said simply, "I've done my bit for the Church." That said it all for me.

    Fructose is a liver poison. Stop eating it today.

    by Anne Elk on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:50:49 PM PST

  •  I believe the Church teaches (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, Wee Mama, johnny wurster, grover

    that souls are created by God "immediately"; that is at conception. A standard catechism would explain it that way while also saying there isn't an official Church doctrine.

    You can also jump into Aquinas' Summa Theologica and Augustine's Confessions and spend months and years trying to read and understand the debate in those times amongst Doctors of the Church. They didn't even agree amongst themselves.

    •  There was the theological stance, for instance, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fcvaguy, Avila, Rashaverak, grover

      that thought that a male fetus got its soul at 40 days, while a female one didn't get a soul until 80 days.

      Another perspective was that a soul was implanted at quickening, the first sense movement of the fetus, the notion being that living things move and dead ones don't.

      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:08:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think I remember some of that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila, Wee Mama, grover

        I was always fascinated by the philosophical arguments. I specifically remember in the Middle Ages the clergy taught that the soul was bestowed at quickening. The Church has had a difficult time reconciling that teaching with their current view that its bestowed at conception.

        That aside, I think everyone should take a class in Philosophy. And no Philosophy course is worth its salt unless it teaches about Aquinas and Augustine, two of the most brilliant people who have ever been on this planet, imo.

      •  You got me curious (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, Avila, Ahianne, grover

        Here it is:

        Various church authorities and popes placed the time at:

            At a specific time into pregnancy (40 days, 80 days, 116 days), or
            Quickening (when the woman first feels the fetus move), or
            At conception.
        The latter is the current church teaching.

        The Catholic Church has consistently taught that abortion -- at any stage of development -- is evil. However, its stance has changed down through the years on whether a given abortion is murder. John Cardinal O'Connor, Archbishop of New York, wrote:

        "Pope Paul Vl declared that the teaching of the Church about the morality of abortion 'has not changed and is unchangeable.' Although some people point out that Saint Thomas Aquinas thought the soul did not come to the fetus ('ensoulment') until sometime after conception, the fact is that he considered abortion gravely sinful even before this time. He taught that it was a 'grave sin against the natural law' to kill the fetus at any stage, and a graver sin of homicide to do so after ensoulment."

        There's even more, showing a timeline how the Church's views evolved over the centuries:

  •  If a soul is created and infused at the moment (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, Ahianne, Avila

    of conception, how does that soul thing work in the case of  identical twins?  Does the one soul split into two souls when the blastocyst splits into two separate entities?

  •  I'm not sure it's Catholic, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but there's an old idea called the Guff (sometimes Gough), where all the souls who have not yet been born stay until it's time to come to Earth. It's an intruguing concept, but fraught with philosophical problems.

    If preborn souls wait in the Guff for any ol' newborn body to inhabit, what difference does abortion make? It'd be like missing a bus: just wait for the next one.

    The issue of "who goes where?" is not addressed. Who gets to be born rich, for example? How would such a determination be made? Obviously, God would have some input. But, given the terrible circumstances of some human lives, that implies that God pre-judges souls; seems pretty unfair and arbitrary to me.

    And if God "has known you since before you were born," why would He let someone like Hitler or Stalin or Limbaugh be born at all? And to take a perfect, uncorrupted soul and put him/her into a sick or lame body just seems cruel.

    Seems to me that humans are naturally predisposed to invent stories about things they don't fully understand. Such stories are therefore inconsistent and contradictory (such as the numerous problems found in the story of Genesis).

    This is all "angels on the head of a pin" thinking, of course: we have no facts, only convictions; we could argue forever and never reach any conclusion or agreement. It seems reasonable, therefore, to defer to things we DO know. To this end, science is the best tool we have for determining a proper perspective.

    Dissuading young women from having an abortion is long as her right to make her own choice is not infringed. What's so desperately needed is INFORMATION. We must honestly and accurately educate young people about the facts of adulthood and its attendant responsibilities. This would reduce the very need for abortion and render the subject largely moot.

    But many Christians--particularly evangelicals--prefer keeping kids in the dark about sex for as long as possible. What they fail to realize is that horny kids often can't help themselves (you remember, right?). You can't operate a vehicle without taking Driver's Education; the same should also be true for operating one's gonads.

    There are two types of Republicans: millionaires and suckers.

    by Phil T Duck on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 06:13:36 AM PST

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