Difference between revisions of "Contraception (Pilhet)"
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====NOTES AND REFERENCES====
====NOTES AND REFERENCES====
Revision as of 00:29, 10 December 2012
|This is an opinion article from a user of WikiChristian.|
- I know some Protestants object to the word “priest” being applied to certain Christian ministers. However, many don't realize that the word “priest” is simply derived from the word “presbyter”, which is itself found in the original Greek of the New Testament as “presbuteros” (“πρεσβύτερος”). It simply means “elder”, and very early on in the Church it came do designate the ministers who presided over the Eucharist. In English, the word “priest” denotes both Christian presbyters and Jewish temple ministers; in the Greek New Testament, however, these Jewish ministers have a separate name, “hiereus” (“ἱερεύς”). It is proper to use either priest or presbyter when describing “elders” in the Catholic Church, as both mean the same thing. I should also note that Christian presbyters are intrinsically different from Jewish priests. The latter hold the priesthood on their own, offering repeated sacrifices of their own. The former are not priests of themselves, however, but simply share in Christ's priesthood (it belongs properly to Him alone), being the instruments of Christ's one sacrifice (not many), which is re-presented (not re-performed) in the sacrifice of the Eucharist. St. Paul clearly speaks of the Eucharist as a sacrifice in 1 Corinthians 10:14-22. Note how he compares pagans eating meat sacrificed to demons on the “table of demons”, and then describes Christians partaking of the Eucharist on the “table of the Lord.” Thus, the word “table” here is a synonym for “altar.” The early Christians were also quite clear that the Eucharist is a sacrifice.
- Though women cannot currently be ordained into any of the sacramental Orders (diaconate, presbyterate, and episcopate), there is conclusive evidence from the early Church that women did function to some extent as deaconesses. This is because in ancient times people were baptized completely naked. Since male deacons obviously couldn't perform this task for women candidates, other women did the job instead. The evidence does not warrant the conclusion, however, that these women received the “laying on of hands” mentioned by St. Paul, or any special grace like that which is conferred on male deacons. Canon 19 of the Council of Nicaea (held in AD 325) seems to indicate that deaconesses were not ordained sacramentally.
- While this is off-topic, I may have actually had a half-answer. The way we casually throw around terms like “holy cow!” or “screw that” may not offend the Lord grievously, but could still offend Him nonetheless. Why do we take a term such as “holy”, which means close or consecrated to God, and join it to another word (even one relatively benign) to form an epithet? And the phrase “screw that”, even though we have come to forget its original meaning, is actually quite vulgar. Our grandparents would wince at our usage of it, because it has the same definition as the “F word”. Again, why do we take something that is holy (in this case, the marital embrace) or the very word “holy” itself and turn it into a common expletive? I am of the opinion that we Christians should carefully re-evaluate our vocabulary and not allow it to be influenced by the secular world, but by the Spirit instead.
- In certain instances, the Church will permit some kinds of contraception (like the Pill) to be used to treat a medical condition, so long as (a) all negative side-effects, such as the artificial prevention of pregnancy, are not directly intended, and (b) the positive results sufficiently outweigh the negative effects.
- The doctrine that one may lose their state of justification (“right standing”) with God, and thus their salvation should they die in that state, is not foreign at all to Scripture. Almost every book of the New Testament contains some kind of warning against falling away. St. Paul writes of it in the various lists of sins which he warns will keep people from the Kingdom of God (see Galatians 5:19-21 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10); St. Peter states that someone who has escaped the defilement of the world through Christ, only to become entangled again in the flesh, would have been better off never knowing about Christ at all (see 2 Peter 2:20-22); St. James declares that faith without works will not save a person (see James 2), and at the end of his epistle declares that if a brother returns to the Faith after leaving it, their soul will be spared from death, and many sins will be covered (see James 5:19-20); St. John mentions the possibility of losing one's salvation through sin at the end of his first letter (see 1 John 5:16-17 – note that the Greek word John employs for “life” is “ζωήν” or “zōēn”, which means spiritual life, so John is not contrasting physical life and death but spiritual life and death); Our Lord Himself declares that, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-13) This wording makes no sense if one is “saved no matter what” at their profession of faith or baptism. There are many other passages that could be listed as well – these are just a sampling.
- The story of Onan, found in Genesis 38:8-10, is the chief Scriptural passage which offers an implicit condemnation of contraception. Essentially, Onan's father Judah commanded him to have intercourse with his deceased brother's wife, Tamar, in order to raise up offspring for her, since she was childless. This was Onan's “duty”, according to the passage, though the law about continuing family lines hadn't yet been recorded in Scripture. Onan did apparently take Tamar into his household, but we are told that whenever he went to have intercourse with her, he used the “withdrawal method” of contraception, spilling his semen on the ground. God then became angry at Onan for his wickedness, and took his life in punishment. Traditionally, Christians have interpreted this story to mean that all unnatural sexual acts (i.e., ones that don't have a man climaxing inside his wife) are gravely sinful. A condemnation of masturbation is therefore also seen in this passage. The quick modernist answer to this interpretation is that Onan was punished for failing to bring up children for Tamar, not for his contraception. While initially this may seem to be a good response, a problem occurs when we consider that in Deuteronomy 25:7-10, the punishment given for refusing to continue the family line of one's brother is not death but merely humiliation. Further, in Genesis 38:11-26, we learn that Judah refused to give his son Shelah to Tamar after Onan's death, but God didn't kill Judah for his disobedience as well. We are therefore left with the only other reasonable conclusion: The Lord took Onan's life not just because he refused to give Tamar children, but also for his unnatural intercourse with her. Other interpretations do exist of course (as with any other biblical passage involving mere implication), but none explain the passage as adequately as the traditional view, in my opinion. These interpretations would include the idea that God lowered his standards of punishment by the time of Deuteronomy, that Judah wasn't responsible for raising offspring up for Tamar in the same way as Onan, that Onan was killed for disobeying his father, etc.
- Luther's Works, Vol. 7, p. 20-21.
- Calvin's Commentary on Gen. 38:8-10, translated from the Latin, as quoted in: Provan, C. The bible and birth control. Monongahela, PA: Zimmer Printing, 1989. 68. Print.
- Wesley's Notes on the Bible, Genesis 38:7.
- Provan, C. The bible and birth control. Monongahela, PA: Zimmer Printing, 1989. Print.
- St. Augustine of Hippo, Marriage and Concupiscence, 1:15:17.
- St. Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor of Children, 2:10:91:2.
- St. John Chrysostom, “Homily 24 on Romans”, (PG 60: 626-627), quoted in book: Noonan, John T., Jr. Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists. Harvard Univ. Press, 1986. 98. Print.
- "National Committee on Federal Legislation on Birth Control." Margaret Sanger Papers Project. (2010). Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/secure/aboutms/organization_ncflbc.html>.
- "'The Sanger-Hitler Equation' #32, Winter 2002/3." Margaret Sanger Papers Project. (2011). Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/secure/newsletter/articles/sanger-hitler_equation.html>.
- “Contraception.” churchofengland.org. (2012). Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <http://www.churchofengland.org/our-views/medical-ethics-health-social-care-policy/contraception.aspx?>.
- Kippley, John F. “'Casti Cannubii': 60 Years Later, More Relevant Than Ever.” Homiletic & Pastoral Review. (1991). Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARRIAGE/CASTI.TXT>.
- Saunders, Fr. William P. "The History of Contraception Teachings." Arlington Catholic Herald [Arlington, VA] 02 Nov 1995. Print. <http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/HISTCONT.HTM>.
- Griswold v. Connecticut; see also: Matas, Justin. "An Examination of Three Notable U.S. Supreme Court Cases." (2010): 7-12. Print.
- In 1968, while most Christian denominations were capitulating to Planned Parenthood and moral “progressives”, Pope Paul VI released his most famous encyclical, Humanae Vitae. In this document he emphatically restated the traditional teaching of the Church, declaring abortion and contraception to be morally illicit.
- Actually, the Old Order Amish, with their usual caution in regards to anything they consider “worldly”, not only forbid artificial contraception, but even natural methods of birth-spacing (which the Catholic Church allows under some circumstances).
- The difference between Catholics and Protestants on this issue is actually more subtle than it first seems. Protestants say that the Bible contains the entirety of Christian doctrine, at least implicitly. Catholics do not actually dispute this, as it is a valid theological opinion that the Bible is a materially sufficient guide to the Faith. St. Paul, in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, appears to say as much. What he doesn't say, however, is that the Scriptures are the highest (much less the sole) authority for our Faith, as Protestantism alleges. Whereas Protestants rely only on their own interpretations of the Bible, Catholics believe the proper interpretation of the Faith is passed on and preserved by the Holy Spirit in the line of bishops who succeed the apostles. It is this view which was clearly and unmistakeably held by the Early Church Fathers (see note 22, below, for a sampling of references from these early witnesses).
- See: Pope St. Clement of Rome, Letter to the Corinthians (c. AD 97); Epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch (c. AD 110); St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, III:2:2 and III:3 (c. AD 180).
- In the Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox tradition, Sacraments are termed “Holy Mysteries.” The Latin word “Sacrament” is actually derived from the Greek word “mysterion” (“μυστηρίων”). As one can see from the New Testament (the word occurs there twenty-eight times), it originally meant any holy doctrine or practice revealed by God. Over time, the Christian West began to use the term to refer exclusively to the seven institutions that convey special grace from God (Baptism, Confirmation/Chrismation, the Eucharist, Confession, Anointing of the Sick, Ordination and Marriage). The Christian East (both Catholic and Orthodox) has always been hesitant, however, to specify the exact number of Holy Mysteries.
- Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 48-50.
- This teaching of the Church should not be misconstrued so as to exclude infertile couples from the married state. Provided a couple can actually consummate their marriage (i.e., neither the man nor the woman are impotent), then they are free to marry, even if it is impossible for them to procreate. This is because the couple is still able to naturally become one flesh through intercourse, and they can find other suitable ways of fulfilling their vocation of raising up offspring for the Lord (such as through adoption or ministry).
- Reynolds, Thomas. "The Unheard-of Holocaust: Abortifacient Contraception." Celebrate Life. (2012). Web. 19 Nov. 2012. <http://www.all.org/article/index/id/MTA3MTk/>.
- Collins, Dr. Tim. "The Pill and Breast Cancer." The American Thinker. (2010). Web. 26 Nov. 1995. <http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/the_pill_and_breast_cancer.html>.
- The Venerable Pope Pius XII, “Address to the Italian Catholic Union of Midwives”; Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, 16.
- The Gnostics were heretics who opposed the Catholic Church during the first few centuries after Christ, setting up their own sects. They held numerous and varying false doctrines, but a common theme among them was denial of Christ's humanity and condemnation of physical matter as evil. They were vigorously reproved by the apostles and the lawful bishops who succeeded them.
- Popcak, Gregory K. Holy Sex!: A Catholic Guide to Toe-curling, Mind-blowing, Infallible Loving. New York: Crossroad Pub., 2008. 135-136. Print.