Contraception and Catholics: Quiet Disobedience


A Stanford blog addresses a question so obvious that it’s been, by this time, largely ignored: what do American Catholics actually believe about contraception? That is, do they use it?

The answer is yes. Catholics are assimilated into American culture, and Americans have an unequivocal relationship with contraception: we want it, we need it, we use it.

Catholics in America are a diverse group, practicing with various levels of orthodoxy, occupying various positions on the political spectrum, found at all socioeconomic levels. Unlike some brands of Christianity, Catholics in America are often a quiet bunch—they generally do not proselytize (at least in this country), they usually don’t keep their children segregated from the wider, “corrupting” culture, and their priests do not become wealthy TV personalities.

Then again, they’re not always quiet (see this week’s spectacle at Notre Dame). But today, there are so many Catholics in America that the ones who make themselves highly visible in situations like these—by showing hostility to anything that threatens to contaminate the Church’s true values, as they interpret them—are not representative of the greater American Catholic community.

This community, as a Catholics for Choice report shows, began drifting from orthodoxy on the subject of contraception after the Vatican issued Humanae Vitae of 1968. Five years earlier, a papal commission on contraception had recommended that the Church hierarchy lift its ban on contraception. The Pope ignored this recommendation.

The Stanford post outlines Catholics’ waning adherence to the contraception ban: 44% of churchgoing Catholic women used artificial contraception in 1969, 75% in 1980, and finally:

 

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention 2002 National Survey of Family Growth revealed that 97% of American Catholic women over age 18 have used a banned form of contraception, which is the same percentage as the general population.

 

The Church’s ban on contraception is a matter of life and death in some parts of the world, as I’ve pointed out. But what’s the importance of it in America? Some Catholics never think about it. They break the rule, but the rule, they sense, is not that important.

But as this post points out, the failure in the sixties to make the contraception teaching more relevant has undermined the Catholic Church:

Women already had an unequal role in the church, and many stopped listening to priests on issues of sexuality and morality.

 

Indeed, the hierarchy’s distance from the experiences of American Catholics is exacerbated by the Catholic Church’s specific version of patriarchy. How does it feel as a woman (or as a man) to have a celibate man tell you about sexuality?

The writer goes on:

 

Ironically, Pope John Paul II’s fear that the Church’s authority on other matters would be undermined if the teaching on contraception was changed came true because it was not changed.

 

This is, and always has been, the central drama of the Catholic Church. It is grounded in ritual, tradition, and history. This is what makes it great, and it is also what cripples it. The Church has to walk a fine line between flexibility and inflexibility, both of which threaten to discredit it. The Catholic Church has changed—sometime after arresting Galileo, it acknowledged that the Earth does revolve around the sun. It can change, and I believe that it will change on contraception. It just needs a little help getting there.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • invalid-0

    Fascinating piece. Thanks for sharing. Having experienced sex education in the Catholic school system over the past decade, and still keeping close tabs on the evolution (or lack thereof) of those messages, I found your note about the papal commission’s recommendation particularly interesting since years of Catholic indoctrination and education about Church history failed to include any mention of unaccepted papal commission recommendations.

    To me, the contrast between contraceptive usage among Catholics and belief in Catholic doctrine speaks to a larger strattling act the Church continues to try to maintain. Vatican II indicated the institution’s recognition of the negative consequences of emphasizing tradition and ritual over spiritual and moral function and service. People were leaving the Church in droves simply because the world outside the Church had evolved, and the Church refused to evolve itself, on the grounds that its role in society and the world at large was to be a bastion of conservativism, an unchanging institution in a constantly changing world. While I see the base value in this philosophy, and will admit to feeling a slight sense of being home (maybe it’s just habit) when walking into a Catholic Church, I am quickly reminded why I left the institution as soon as I hear ridiculous messages more focused on demonizing sexuality than on empowering parishoners through faith.

    The Catholic Church has one of the best theological statements on the relationship between science and religion: there is no conflict. They are not the same thing. Unfortunately, I would argue, when it comes to sexuality, the Church does not practice what it preaches in its own theology.

  • invalid-0

    He’s got _no damn business_ trying to make rules for circumstances he can’t possibly have a clue about. It would be on a par with me trying to make rules for brain surgery.

  • invalid-0

    Americans’ and specifically Christian/Catholic Americans are all to happy to remain in ignorance when it comes to birth control. The fact is the pill, the most common form of birth control today, has the added “benefit” of preventing fertilized eggs from implanting into the wall of the uterus. Most people generally agree that life begins at conception. Causing a fertilized egg to be discharged in this way is known as an abortion! Even given this fact, most Christians who profess to be against abortion are still all to happy to use the pill for the convenience it provides. You don’t have to “play the game” to understand these facts.

    Also the questions you quoted from the survey does not tell the whole picture. The survey simply states that “97% of American Catholic women over age 18 have used a banned form of contraception.” For one thing ALL forms of contraception are considered “banned” by the Catholic church. The church does not recognize any form of contraception as being in accordance to God’s will. The question does not indicate whether or not those 97% consider the practice morally acceptable or not. Catholics are not exempt from the temptations of sin and the fact that they sin does not in any way show their acceptance of that sin.

  • invalid-0

    Causing a fertilized egg to be discharged in this way is known as an abortion!

    Uh, no it’s not, actually. Although if you have a link to a reputable medical source that states that abortion includes the prevention of implantation, I’ll gladly recant.

    The question does not indicate whether or not those 97% consider the practice morally acceptable or not. Catholics are not exempt from the temptations of sin and the fact that they sin does not in any way show their acceptance of that sin.

    The Catholic hierarchy is not exempt from mistakes in their judgment, and the fact that they hold contraception to be a sin does not in any way mean that contraception really is a sin in the eyes of God. (Because if you really hold the hierarchy to be the authority, then for a period of several decades, sexually molesting young boys was not a sin in the eyes of God.)

  • invalid-0

    Uh, no it’s not, actually. Although if you have a link to a reputable medical source that states that abortion includes the prevention of implantation, I’ll gladly recant.

    You seem to have missed my previous sentence:

    Most people generally agree that life begins at conception.

    If you don’t believe that life begins at conception, then no, it’s not an abortion because it’s not a life yet. However if you do believe that then if the egg is fertilized, conception has begun, and it’s an abortion.

    The Catholic hierarchy is not exempt from mistakes in their judgment

    Never said they were.

    the fact that they hold contraception to be a sin does not in any way mean that contraception really is a sin in the eyes of God

    Now you are getting into the authority of God and whether or not God infers authority to the moral teachings of the Church or any church for that matter. That’s a matter of faith and doctrine. I won’t go into any argument over this other than to say that the Catholic Church does teach that the teaching authority of the Church does hold true to what is sin in the eyes of God. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on
    earth will be loosed in heaven.”

    Because if you really hold the hierarchy to be the authority, then for a period of several decades, sexually molesting young boys was not a sin in the eyes of God.

    The Church’s teachings don’t begin over several decades, but over many, many centuries. The Church does not teach that it invents new teachings, only preserves the teachings handed down by Christ and declares doctrine dogmatic when challenged. The Church also teaches that what people in the Church do does not reflect what the Church teaches. This applies even the Pope. If you have references which indicate that the Church has publicly advocated and taught the sexually molesting of young boys please provide it.

  • invalid-0

    a link to a reputable medical source that states that abortion includes the prevention of implantation, I’ll gladly recant.

    Sorry, did not mean to gloss over this. More specifically I meant that abortion includes the prevention of a fertalized egg. Here’s one of many, Definition of conception:

    http://dictionary.webmd.com/terms/conception

    Fertilization of oocyte by a sperm.

    and The “benefits” of the pill…

    http://www.epigee.org/guide/pill.html

    The Pill also causes the lining of the uterus to thin, possibly preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.

    You can find many more sources on your own if you like. Need I say more?

  • invalid-0

    Most people generally agree that life begins at conception.

    Most people don’t agree on what exactly “life” means in a statement like that. (Were the egg and sperm cell not themselves alive prior to conception?)

    If you don’t believe that life begins at conception, then no, it’s not an abortion because it’s not a life yet. However if you do believe that then if the egg is fertilized, conception has begun, and it’s an abortion.

    You can call it an “abortion” if you like. I can also call diarrhea “heavy sweating” if I fancied it. I don’t, however, because the term is technically incorrect, it’s medically incorrect, and I’m not going to get anyone to treat watery feces as though it were sweat by simply naming it as such.

    And even if it were somehow an abortion… who on earth is going to argue that a single-celled entity has such overriding importance that the woman in whose body it resides must become pregnant? (Some folks can and do argue this, I’m aware, but in the same way that some folks think all of us have hidden alien-transmitter implants.)

    I won’t go into any argument over this other than to say that the Catholic Church does teach that the teaching authority of the Church does hold true to what is sin in the eyes of God.

    Well, of course the Church is going to say that what it teaches is what God would teach—no one would give a hoot about it otherwise. The question is whether or not the hierarchy is responsive to what is real sin or not. The hierarchy could say “Fluffy bunnies are sinful and dangerous and the spawn of Satan,” but that would be obviously at odds with reality. Today, the hierarchy is saying that contraception is sinful, that homosexuality is an inherent evil, and that same-sex marriage amounts to violence to children. But people who have empirical experience with all of these know that the hierarchy doesn’t have a clue what it’s talking about. So they follow what they know God’s view is, and not what the Church claims it to be.

    In time, these views will filter up the hierarchy, and the official position of the Church will change. But for now, it’s little more than self-serving for the Church or its sycophants to tell everyone that they have to switch their own brains and consciences off and hew to Church doctrine.

    The Church also teaches that what people in the Church do does not reflect what the Church teaches. This applies even the Pope.

    You’re telling me that the Church explicitly teaches hypocrisy?

    If you have references which indicate that the Church has publicly advocated and taught the sexually molesting of young boys please provide it.

    Publicly advocated? No. Publicly taught by example? Oh yes. To this day, the sanctuary given to Cardinal Bernard Law in the Vatican, outside the reaches of U.S. investigative authorities, shows that the Church has not fully repudiated the crime committed by its representatives.

  • invalid-0

    Need I say more?

    Yes. You forgot the citation that states that preventing the implantation of a fertiziled egg = abortion.

  • invalid-0

    Yes. You forgot the citation that states that preventing the implantation of a fertiziled egg = abortion.

    Ok, I thought that was obvious. Given the discussion I assumed the definition of an abortion was already understood.

    Defintion of abortion:

    http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2091

    In medicine, an abortion is the premature exit of the products of conception (the fetus, fetal membranes, and placenta) from the uterus. It is the loss of a pregnancy and does not refer to why that pregnancy was lost.

  • invalid-0

    I’d also like to respond to how this website is linking my use of the word “conception” and attempting to define it as “implantation”. I’ve already provided another source of this definition but I’d like to go futher into the ACOG’s definition.

    The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) 30 years ago changed the obvious, commonsense definition of “conception”. “Conception”, according to this official medical college, no longer meant “fertilization.” It was redefined to mean implantation of a blastocyst on the uterine wall, typically occurring 1-2 weeks after fertilization (ACOG Terminology Bulletin. Terms used in reference to the fetus. Chicago, ACOG, no.1, September 1965).

    Why was the definition changed? Dr. Richard Sosnowski, head of the Southern Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an affiliate of ACOG provides a clue in his 1984 presidential address:

    I do not deem it excellent to play semantic gymnastics in a profession … It is equally troublesome to me that, with no scientific evidence to validate the change, the definition of conception as the successful spermatic penetration of an ovum was redefined as the implantation of a fertilized ovum. It appears to me that the only reason for this was the dilemma produced by the possibility that the intrauterine contraceptive device might function as an abortifacient

    (Sosnowski JR. The pursuit of excellence: have we apprehended and comprehended it? Am J Obstet Gynecol 150: 115-9; 1984.).

  • invalid-0

    Most people don’t agree on what exactly “life” means in a statement like that. (Were the egg and sperm cell not themselves alive prior to conception?)

    I am refering to human life. If human life does not begin at conception then when does it begin? For Christians they must ask and answer the question, when does the human soul begin?

    You’re telling me that the Church explicitly teaches hypocrisy?

    No more so then what the Bible teaches

    For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15)

  • invalid-0

    Although if you have a link to a reputable medical source that states that abortion includes the prevention of implantation, I’ll gladly recant.

    I have provide multiple medical sources which indicate abortion = premature exit of the products of conception = fertilized egg. Do you recant? ;) My guess is you don’t consider the sources I’ve provided as being “reputable”.

    In this world, for every source you can find another which contradicts it. In the end it comes down to what do you have faith in and why…

  • invalid-0

    After reading the arguments here I just have one thing to say If the Pill is a form of abortion and “not natural” then everything we do is not natural and aginst Gods will–Cars,trains,TV, viagra, fertility treatments,herbicides,insecticides,wars,buildings ,computers,need I say more!!!!!

    Humans create their own world which is artificial the church needs to move with the human race because the human race moved away from God.

  • paul-bradford

    Is it a surprise that 97% of Catholics in the US have used some form of birth control that is not recognized as licit by the Church? Humane Vitae has had a very rough go of it here. Over the forty years since it has been promulgated, most bishops, pastors and spiritual directors have been unwilling to teach it.

     

    What’s interesting is the fact that Pope Paul knew this was going to be a problem when he wrote the encyclical. Within the document he made an earnest (and ultimately ineffectual) plea to priests and bishops to promote the ban against artificial birth control and most of them, in the US anyway, elected not to listen to him.

     

    What a lot of people don’t realize is that Paul did make the case for ‘responsible parenthood’ and recognized that prudence dictates that a married couple should constrain its family size within the financial and emotional limits available to them. He also took note of the very real problems caused by overpopulation pressure. Furthermore, the pope made a plea to doctors and scientists to discover and promote effective forms of birth control that the Church could endorse.

     

    Another interesting aspect of the document is the belief that His Holiness had that ‘contracepted sex’ would promote an attitude among men that women could be treated as sex objects rather than as partners in procreation and that this would be an offense to the dignity of women. He doesn’t come off sounding like the misogynist that some have claimed.

     

    Well, I’d be interested in hearing what other people think. I’d also be pleased if people would read my latest article on the PLCC website called "Why I Am Pro-Choice".

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    Only if you consider Mother Nature to be God. God’s will is not synonymous with what the natural world is/provides. Knowing and understanding God’s will has to do with morality (the law writen on our hearts) and his revelation (the Bible, Holy Spirit and Church tradition for Catholics).

  • invalid-0

    Well said, thanks. I’ll be reading your article.

  • invalid-0

    Another interesting aspect of the document is the belief that His Holiness had that ‘contracepted sex’ would promote an attitude among men that women could be treated as sex objects rather than as partners in procreation and that this would be an offense to the dignity of women. He doesn’t come off sounding like the misogynist that some have claimed.

    It seems to me that he is misogynist if he doesn’t accept that women themselves may disagree with his reasoning, decide to use contraception, and take responsibility for defending their own dignity.

    It’s like saying, “High-heel shoes degrade women, so we prohibit women from wearing them.” Well, what if a woman wants to wear them? What if she doesn’t appreciate having her own behavior curtailed out of an ostensible desire to help her? I think that this overbearing, paternalistic “concern” for women is far greater an offense to their dignity than the potential objectification Pope Paul cited.

  • invalid-0

    Conception (fertilization) occurs in the fallopian tube.

  • invalid-0

    I have provide multiple medical sources which indicate abortion = premature exit of the products of conception = fertilized egg. Do you recant? ;) My guess is you don’t consider the sources I’ve provided as being “reputable”.

    Your own source states that abortion includes the loss of the placenta, and more broadly, makes the point that abortion is technically the termination of the pregnancy, not of the zygote/embryo/fetus. This is why, when a fertilized egg fails to implant naturally, it is not called a miscarriage nor “spontaneous abortion.”

    If you want a term to call it, you could do worse than “induced prevention of implantation.” If you want to make “induced prevention of implantation” into some sort of moral issue, then feel free not to use hormonal birth control or Plan B. If you want to try to make it a moral issue for others, then you’re going to have to make the case for why the death of that tiny, tiny zygote should have such an earthshaking effect. The fact that never, throughout history, has humanity ever attached such moral status to microscopic entities, is going to be an inconvenience.

    In this world, for every source you can find another which contradicts it. In the end it comes down to what do you have faith in and why…

    No, it comes down to the way that pregnancy and abortion have always been defined, and people like you coming along (with no medical credentials whatsoever) and trying to redefine terms to suit your ideological agenda.

    If you want to score points against the Pill, you’re going to have to do better than call it something it obviously isn’t.

  • invalid-0

    I am refering to human life. If human life does not begin at conception then when does it begin? For Christians they must ask and answer the question, when does the human soul begin?

    Well, maybe it’s when the fetal brain is up and running. After all, if the brain is dead, then the person is dead, even if the rest of the body is functioning.

    and The “benefits” of the pill…
    http://www.epigee.org/guide/pill.html

    Welcome to modern pharmacology. Everything has side effects. When you decide whether or not to take something, you weigh the benefits against the potential downsides. And there are other options besides the Pill, you know, so harping on the side effects is kind of pointless.

    No more so then what the Bible teaches

    Wow. I knew the Church was hypocritical in a number of ways, but I wasn’t aware that “Do as I say, not as I do” comes directly from the Bible itself.

  • invalid-0

    Semantics. From the same source, the definition of pregnancy and embryo:

    pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body.

    embryo: The organism in the early stages of growth and differentiation from fertilization to, in humans, the beginning of the third month of pregnancy. After that point in time, it is termed a fetus.

    Clearly the definition I provided is simply describing the products of conception. Just because the definition states the fetus is a byproduct of conception does not mean that termination of pregnancy before the 8th week is not considered an abortion.

    If you want to try to make it a moral issue for others, then you’re going to have to make the case for why the death of that tiny, tiny zygote should have such an earthshaking effect. The fact that never, throughout history, has humanity ever attached such moral status to microscopic entities, is going to be an inconvenience.

    I’m not making it a moral issue for others. It is a moral issue period. I’m simply putting forth an explanation for why it is a moral issue.

    No, it comes down to the way that pregnancy and abortion have always been defined, and people like you coming along (with no medical credentials whatsoever) and trying to redefine terms to suit your ideological agenda.

    See my quote above from Doctor Richard Sosnowski, head of the Southern Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

  • invalid-0

    pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body.

    That’s simply leads to a circular reference…the term ‘to carry’ itself in terms of pregnancy simply means ‘to be pregnant with’. That statement doesn’t define when pregnancy begins per se. If one doesn’t define pregnancy until implantation then one is not carrying it in ones body (e.g. pregnant) until implantation occurs. Location might be within ones body…but carrying it (aka pregnant), no.

  • invalid-0

    Note that it also omits zygote from that definition of pregnancy, even though the same site does recognize the zygote as that cell which is formed by the union of the egg and sperm and which develops into the embryo. Zygotes don’t implant.

  • invalid-0

    It is not defining pregnancy in terms of where the embryo or fetus is. It is defining pregnancy by the state (presence) of an embryo or fetus within the female body. That is why I also included the definition of embryo. As soon as an embryo or fetus is present with a female, she is pregnant by this definition.

  • invalid-0

    Semantics.

    That’s really what this all comes down to. And, I’m sorry to say, it is the mainstream medical community that sets out medical definitions, not “Brett Prucha, random Internet poster,” and certainly not any religious organization.

    I’m not making it a moral issue for others. It is a moral issue period.

    O RLY? Is alcohol and pork consumption a “moral issue period” because Muslims hold it to be so? Are blood transfusions a “moral issue period” because Jehovah’s Witnesses hold it to be so? You could make the case that it is a moral issue for Catholics, though many will disagree with you, and the Church’s own history of almost reversing its ban on contraception muddies the point. But if you’re proposing that it is a “moral issue period” for non-Catholics, then all you’re doing is engaging in garden-variety ethnocentrism. Newsflash: The world does not revolve around your God.

    I’m simply putting forth an explanation for why it is a moral issue.

    No, you aren’t. All you’ve done so far is try to attach a hot-button term to it. I could call my car an abortion, but that doesn’t magically turn it into a moral issue (unless you consider lousy city mileage a sin).

    If you want to make it a “moral issue period,” you’re going to have to explain why a fertilized egg ending up on a feminine hygiene product is such a heinous crime against human decency that hormonal contraception and other forms of birth control should be condemned for causing it.

    I would, however, suggest that you don’t. Because people are going to be weirded out that you attach such enormous value to something that can barely be seen with the naked eye—what’s next, killing bacteria is animal cruelty?—and you’ll only convince more people that you don’t care so much about life per se as about denying women a healthy, enjoyable sex life with children optional.

  • invalid-0

    As soon as an embryo or fetus is present with a female, she is pregnant by this definition.

    So, if she were to eat the fertilized egg(s), then she is pregnant…?

  • invalid-0

    It specifically says ‘to carry’ in the female body. ‘To carry’ means ‘to be pregnant’. Hence the circular reference. It doesn’t prove either side with the circular referencing involved.

  • invalid-0

    sorry, the above at 12:20 is AnontherAnon.

  • invalid-0

    Here we go again. You seem to not understand what hypocrisy means.
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypocrisy

    a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not ; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion

    Nothing I quoted indicated the Bible teaches hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is not based on ones actions but on ones belief or character. It is when one says outwardly that they believe one thing but when in reality inwardly they believe something else.

  • invalid-0

    specifically says ‘carrying’…but ‘to carry’ in the sense of pregnancy simply means ‘to be pregnant’ – circular without an reference to when it begins.

  • colleen

    Another interesting aspect of the document is the belief that His
    Holiness had that ‘contracepted sex’ would promote an attitude among
    men that women could be treated as sex objects rather than as partners
    in procreation and that this would be an offense to the dignity of
    women.

    Men, of course never treated women as sex objects before the invention of effective forms of contraception. Is it not an offense to the dignity of women to pretend that we’re stupid enough to fall for this line of bullshit? The fact of the matter is that viewing women as gestation devices (which is precisely what y’all do) is equally degrading and destructive. 

    He doesn’t come off sounding like the misogynist that some have claimed.

      You’re hardly in a position to make that call.

  • invalid-0

    That’s really what this all comes down to.

    Then I think we finally agree that you don’t consider the sources I’ve provided as being “reputable”.

    And, I’m sorry to say, it is the mainstream medical community that sets out medical definitions, not “Brett Prucha

    I did not come up with these definitions. Do you think I had anything to do with the definitions on webmd.com or forced Dr. Richard Sosnowski to say and write what he did back in 1984? You’ve got me stumped on that one.

    O RLY? Is alcohol and pork consumption a “moral issue period” because Muslims hold it to be so? Are blood transfusions a “moral issue period” because Jehovah’s Witnesses

    Yes, these are all moral issues… And don’t ask me to provide a definition of morality because you could fill the internet. (;

    you’re going to have to explain why a fertilized egg ending up on a feminine hygiene product is such a heinous crime against human decency that hormonal contraception and other forms of birth control should be condemned for causing it.

    Many believe that that fertilized egg is human life with an immortal soul.

    Because people are going to be weirded out that you attach such enormous value to something that can barely be seen with the naked eye

    I do not believe everyone has such a low value on the dignity of human life.

  • invalid-0

    Many believe that that fertilized egg is human life with an immortal soul.

    Well then, Brett…if you are so convicted of this, I suggest you launch a campaign against breastfeeding, and demand that parents use formula instead. After all, immortal souls are being flushed as we write.

  • invalid-0

    So, if she were to eat the fertilized egg(s), then she is pregnant…?

    Well, assuming that it were possible for a fertilized egg to survive such a violent action, then yes, this definition says it would be a pregnancy up to the point that the embryo were to die. Such a concept is not too far off in principal from in vitro fertilization. An embryo attached to the fallopian tubes is still considered a pregnancy.

  • invalid-0

    key word was “attached”. Yes, these are considered ectopic pregnancies when embryos implant there.

  • invalid-0

    Many believe that that fertilized egg is human life with an immortal soul. Well then, Brett…if you are so convicted of this, I suggest you launch a campaign against breastfeeding, and demand that parents use formula instead.

    The loss of life through our willful actions in no way relates to involuntary consequences. With that argument you might as well say all of humanity should stop reproducing to prevent the loss of life. No one should ever do anything again except eat, breath… Actually they shouldn’t even do that as eventually that will lead to death. But then if we stop doing that…

    Every day we must take things on faith. If we didn’t we would be closed to the world in fear. The natural world includes life and death. According to God’s laws, death is a beautiful thing but should never be caused intentionally. My conscious does not make a connection between breast feeding and the intentional murder of an unborn child, nor does the Catholic church. It seems an abortion can occur during breast feeding according to at least one doctor that I found searching Google. Do I consider that murder, no because the intent is to provide sustenance for life. Am I saddened by the loss of life before it ever begins, yes. The intent for taking the pill is quite different. It is taken by someone who is against (contra) conception with the intent of preventing life. I am perplexed that you would even try to equate the two together. Do I consider an abortion from the Pill murder? It all depends on the persons conscience, their knowledge of their actions, and their motivations among other things. I do not know the hearts of others and will not judge them. That is left to God. I do however believe that the Pill is against God’s will and will work to make know to those that may be ignorant of the facts. Medical establishments have played semantics with their definitions in an effort to hide the moral issue at hand. I will work to make know what the moral issue is.

    After all, immortal souls are being flushed as we write.

    Which is why many churches in my area have hundreds of crosses on their law to mourn their deaths and bring to recognition to what is happening.

  • invalid-0

    So are you saying that if I were to fill a bucket with water and place a floating object in it and were to carry the bucket around with me that I would not be carrying the floating object as well? Or do you think the definition is using the word carry as “a mother is carrying (pregnant)”. I think the definition is defining carry as in “to take with you”, “to hold”, etc.

  • invalid-0

    *sigh*. Yes there are multiple definitions for ‘to carry’ – one on “to lead or influence by emotional or intellectual appeal: The actor carried his audience with him.” …but there is also one regarding its meaning in pregnancy and it means ‘to be pregnant’. That is why the dictionary carries the different meanings that apply to those situations in which its being used.

  • invalid-0

    Every Catholic who uses banned contraception commits a sin of grave matter. If he or she knows the Church bans it, despite the fact that 97% of the people use it, and despite the fact that many authorities in the Church say it is OK, that person is committing the grave sin with the necessary full knowledge to make it a mortal sin. The only other requirement to make it a mortal sin is that it be done with deliberate consent.

    Note that the only form of contraception that is not banned is the natural family planning method of not having sex during the time of fertility of the woman’s cycle. But even then, it becomes a mortal sin if you continue this method too much. If you don’t want to have kids, don’t get married.

    Hence, 97% of adults are in mortal sin in the American Church. And that is just looking at this one sin. Hence, no more than 3% of Catholics receive the Eucharist in a state of grace. Those who receive the Eucharist in mortal sin consume their own damnation and those who frequently do this are sacrilege junkies.

    Hence, if you really love God, you will repent and obey the Catholic Church and not use contraceptives, nor fornicate, nor commit adultery, nor do anything filthy. Jesus, for all His love and compassion, cannot save you from Hell if you die in mortal sin. So repent and obey.

    Some of you will repent, but I am afraid that the remnant who are saved really will be just about 3%, because most of you will harden your hearts against God, and make your god conform to your own sins. It really is a test of obedience.

    Remember that heaven is not a democracy nor a theocracy. It is a monarchy where perfect obedience is found throughout the entire true body of Christ. How would you like it if your finger or toe did not do what you willed it to do? So also it is with the body of Jesus. Each member of the body of Christ is expected to obey fully the authority set up above him. The sins of priests are God’s concern. Vengeance belongs to God, not to you. Your place is to obey for now, and then to reap your reward with the other 3% who are faithful.

    Many of you have translated the sins of priests into an excuse for sin. But judgment will come and all sins will be revealed. Priests who molested children will be severely punished, worse than if they had a millstone around their neck and were cast into the sea. But what good will that be for you if you also follow them into hell? So do right and obey or you will end up in hell with those you rightfully condemned.

  • invalid-0

    The loss of life through our willful actions in no way relates to involuntary consequences.

    But Brett, breastfeeding is voluntary (willful)these days. There are perfectly adequate alternatives. Moreover, many women do use breastfeeding as a form of birth control…the theory being that the body is designed to prevent closely spaced pregnancies as a self-defense/survival of Mom and existing child mechanism. Frankly, I consider it a trifle disingenuous to accept the unthinking body’s natural defenses of a shortened luteal phase while simultaneously objecting to the thinking person taking action to reduce the luteal phase for precisely the same reasons…self-defense.

  • invalid-0

    So do right and obey or you will end up in hell with those you rightfully condemned.

    Wow…sucks to be catholic, huh?

  • paul-bradford

    I frankly don’t know how we could determine whether men are more or less likely to show respect to women based upon the availability of artificial contraception.  I simply pointed out that that was the pope’s belief and that it mattered to him that women be treated with dignity.

     

    Now, as to what women think about the issue — I’m honestly interested in their reaction.  For example, I would like to know how the average woman on this board reacts to the depiction of women in a show like ‘Two and a Half Men’.  A typical episode shows two or three examples of sex that certainly could only happen among a set of people where contraception is readily available.  Does it enhance or diminish the dignity of women to depict a long line of willing females having sex with the men in the show?  Do you think the show reflects or promotes attitudes that are present in the society?

     

    Discuss 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    The church picks and chooses what it wants to follow what is convienient for the Hierarchy. Not what God was saying. We ate from the tree of knowledge so now we are paying the price by killing off the human race and all other species including the planet. This is what God wants? I think not. I think God wanted us to follow the good side of ourselves something many many people have not learned or are not capable of doing. It is reflected in behavior of humans every day. Greed, selfishness,power, hurting the defenseless, controlling women and animals and treating them as slaves and possesions and punching bags.
    As a woman in a mans world Sorry I can not nor will not go by those cruel evil mens rules ever!!!!! This is why I as a woman will never respect what any human man has to say about this. I need to see it. Until men stand up and fight for goodness and end war and fighting and greed I will never listen to them. Men have lost my respect. That should bother the church greatly but it does not. They want to control women period.

  • invalid-0

    I wish I could help you, Paul…but I use TV sets as target practice down at the shooting berm in the west twenty.

    Seriously? My guess is that the average woman is able to distinguish between real life and television shows. As with good insults, TV sitcoms operate on a kernel of truth, but sane people recognize the excess, get a quick chuckle… and then go on about the business of living

  • colleen

     I simply pointed out that that was the pope’s belief and that it mattered to him that women be treated with dignity.

    And I was pointing out that Catholic claims of concern for the ‘dignity’ of women are nonsense.

     

    For example, I would like to know how the average woman on this board
    reacts to the depiction of women in a show like ‘Two and a Half Men’.

    I would have to have watched ‘Two and a half Men’  and this I am not willing to do.

    The thing that really diminishes the dignity of women is men who believe that God grants them dominion over our bodies and uteruses. 

  • colleen

    The sins of priests are God’s concern.

    How convienient

  • http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/05/18contraception-and-catholics-quiet-disobedience invalid-0

    All of these Popes and Bishops and Priests claim to want to “preserve” the “natural role” of women. They hold women up as equal but different than men and their institutional culture as well as the teachings of the church make it clear that they believe women are inferior. There is no such thing as equality for women in The Church. But I do not believe the real Jesus believed this. He included women in his group of followers and he chose to reveal his resurrected self to them, while the guys hid away in fear.

    The Institutional Church, which is after all the oldest political institution in the world, is just like the politicians in both parties – “say whatever you think will sell” but practice policies that maintain your power structure.

    I believe it is women’s moral and political responsibility to use contraceptives as a way of honoring Jesus’s respect for women’s judgement and intelligence.

  • invalid-0

    Yes there are multiple definitions for ‘to carry’

    I know which is why I asked the question. I did not know which definition you thought the definition of pregnancy was using. I’m don’t understand why you think the definition is using the word cary to mean pregnancy. As you said that would be a circular reference which isn’t logical to me either.

  • invalid-0

    Did you not read my full post? The willful action is to provide sustinance to the new born child. The willful action of contraception is to be against conception.

    If a man willful decides to cut down a tree to build a home and as he is cutting down the tree the ax comes off and kills another man, did he wilfully kill that man simply because he wanted to build a home? That is very different from someone that grabs and ax and intentionally starts hacking away at someone with the intent of killing them.

  • invalid-0

    Review yourself, Brett. Many women do in fact use breastfeeding as contraception. And in any case, you cannot have it both ways…if the man with the axe KNOWS that there is a high probability that he will, w/o intention, off another man, and proceeds in the act that in fact, offs another man, axe-man…by your own reasoning, commits murder.

  • invalid-0

    Note when I said ‘circular reference’ I was actually referring to the same concept being reused in the definition, not some disallowable construct…. given that the word types are different (ones an adjective and ones a noun) definitions are often reused in the different forms of the words and its not a grammatical or definitional error to do so.

    “pregnancy: The state of being pregnant with a developing embryo or fetus within the female body.”

    which is fine (note that pregnant itself has more than one definition).

    …you can re-use a definition as such to define the word for the state.
    I was simply trying to point out that there is no reason to believe they didn’t mean the definition that was in the context.
    ‘Carrying’ has been used extensively and commonly to mean pregnancy everyday usage….– there is no reason to believe they are trying to use a meaning other than ‘to be pregnant’ here given pregnancy itself is the context.

    They could have said…”pregnancy: The state of a developing embryo or fetus being within the female body.”
    There are lots of alternate words to choose from but they didn’t, instead they used a common pregnancy reference.

    If anything you’ve found something to try to split hairs over by attempting to claim its a different meaning than the one typically employed in the context (good luck actually proving that beyond opinion). You still haven’t given an example against Anonymous original point.

  • invalid-0

    per my comment above more than one definition of pregnant, one example is “teeming or fertile; rich (often fol. by in): a mind pregnant in ideas”

  • wendy-banks

    I personally consider Mother Nature God (or rather Goddess). Just as I consider YOU Mr. Prucha a raveing lunatic. Did it ever occure to (most likely not) that no one here (besides the other fundie loons) give a hairy rat’s what you think? You are just an anoyance. And, BTW no implantation equals no pregnacy– And yes, this old Pharmacy Tech knows enough about medicine to know the difference between real and trash science. Go peddle your papers somewhere else– We aren’t buying. Rabid fundimentalists like you never cease to astound me with your ignorance.

  • invalid-0

    I never said that it was illogical to use it to define the noun.

  • invalid-0

    Hence, if you really love God, you will repent and obey the Catholic Church and not use contraceptives, nor fornicate, nor commit adultery, nor do anything filthy. Jesus, for all His love and compassion, cannot save you from Hell if you die in mortal sin. So repent and obey.

    Um, no. Catholics who really love God will reform the Church, which has willfully strayed from the path walked by Christ. Your words are the empty threats of a corrupt organization trying to maintain the status quo. Sorry, but most Catholics have this thing called a “brain,” and they have no intention of shutting it off on your account.

  • invalid-0

    I frankly don’t know how we could determine whether men are more or less likely to show respect to women based upon the availability of artificial contraception.

    Well, I have one idea—we could actually, you know, ask the women what they think about this.

    I simply pointed out that that was the pope’s belief and that it mattered to him that women be treated with dignity.

    Which counts for nothing if he has a fucked-up idea of what “dignity” means. Remember, the Bush Administration claimed that they did not engage in torture—only because they had redefined “torture” to be something so egregiously bad (organ failure et al.) that “normal” torture was no longer torture.

    Now, as to what women think about the issue — I’m honestly interested in their reaction. For example, I would like to know how the average woman on this board reacts to the depiction of women in a show like ‘Two and a Half Men’.

    Women critique media representations all the time. Seriously, if you read a blog like Feministing, half the posts are about instances of sexism in popular media. Believe me, this kind of thing gets called out, and a church ban on sexist representations would do a hell of a lot more for women’s dignity than a contraception ban.

  • invalid-0

    I did not come up with these definitions. Do you think I had anything to do with the definitions on webmd.com or forced Dr. Richard Sosnowski to say and write what he did back in 1984? You’ve got me stumped on that one.

    You’re the one trying to make the point that nonimplantation = abortion. You cited a Web site that doesn’t say as much, and one guy with an M.D. who has some misgivings on why a medical definition was tweaked. You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t find that very convincing, against the entire mainstream medical community who disagrees with you.

    Yes, these are all moral issues… And don’t ask me to provide a definition of morality because you could fill the internet. (;

    Then I’m sure you’d be perfectly willing to avoid consuming any pork or alcohol products, ever, to conform to that morality. Oh, and that’s not all, of course; don’t forget not shaving your beard (Islam), circumcising your sons (Judaism), and not accepting blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses). Also, not cutting your hair and keeping your head covered (Sikhism). And being careful not to accidentally step on ants (Jainism). And….

    Many believe that that fertilized egg is human life with an immortal soul.

    And many don’t. Funny how faith works, isn’t it?

    I do not believe everyone has such a low value on the dignity of human life.

    Oh no, lots of people put more value on the life of the almost-but-not-quite pregnant woman over that of a single-celled zygote. They certainly don’t say that the woman’s life is worth so little that she has to defer to something so tiny and insubstantial.

  • invalid-0

    Well, assuming that it were possible for a fertilized egg to survive such a violent action, then yes, this definition says it would be a pregnancy up to the point that the embryo were to die.

    There you have it, folks. In Brett’s magical wonderland, eating a fertilized egg makes you pregnant. (If for a short time.)

    Brett, at this point, I think you should pack it in, and leave questions of medical morality to someone who actually has an idea of how the human body works. Whatever morality it is you’re trying to articulate, it has little to do with the real world.

  • http://bjsurvivor.livejournal.com/618.html#cutid1 invalid-0

    You all have it wrong. Brett is either ignorant or a liar, which I’m certain is considered a biblical sin, not that it’s ever stopped his kind.

    Hormonal contraception, including EC, works by preventing OVULATION. It does not prevent implantation, ever! Without ovulation, there can be no fertilization and, hence, no zygote and, therefore, nothing to implant. Hormonal contraception, including EC, will not work if there is a pregnancy already in place.

  • invalid-0

    The only thing that doesn’t have to do with the real world is the sugesion of eating a fertalized egg. I did not come up with that argument!

  • invalid-0

    Then I’m sure you’d be perfectly willing …

    Umm I never said that I took the sides on these moral issues that you said I am to accept. Their is more than one side to a moral issue and I never said anyone is forced to go with a specific side. That is up to each individual to decide.

    Oh no, lots of people put more value on the life of the almost-but-not-quite pregnant woman over that of a single-celled zygote. They certainly don’t say that the woman’s life is worth so little that she has to defer to something so tiny and insubstantial.

    I never said a pregnant woman had to give up her life over it. When two lives are at stake, for example a tubal pregnancy, then the death of the unborn is morally acceptable as far as I’m concerned. Same with killing someone to protect my family and my own life.

  • invalid-0

    I think the meaning is clear. A carrier in the sense that she is a vessel for the embryo/fetus. A vehicle becomes a human transport carrier when a person gets inside it and drives the vehicle. It is not a carrier of the person until the point that the person gets in the vehicle. Can’t be more plain than that. Their’s no splitting hairs over this. I was just trying to understand what you were saying.

  • invalid-0

    In the real world, do you define pregnancy as carrying a embryo/fetus only in certain locations of the female body?

    If a male were to grow a baby inside his body as I’ve read some say might be possible some day, would you consider that to be a pregnancy?

  • invalid-0

    Have you ever breast feed or your wife if you are a man? My wife and I have had two children and she breast feed them. I can tell you from experience that saying that the intention of breast feeding is for contraception is like saying the intention of a screw driver is for hammering nails. It just doesn’t work very well. I don’t think I have to privide evidence that shows how poor breast feeding really is as a birth control method. You can find that for yourself. If anyone breast feeds for the main intention of contraception then they are wrong if in nothing else then going against the very nature of what the purpose of breast feeding is for.

  • invalid-0

    You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t find that very convincing, against the entire mainstream medical community who disagrees with you.

    I think I’ve at the very least I have proved that not the entier mainstream medical community disagrees. I know Dr. Richard Sosnowski doesn’t agree with you. I know many others as well. If you think the entire mainstream medical community agrees on everything then you are the one that is wrong. This is a divided issue, as can been seen from this entire discussion, and also within the medical community.

  • invalid-0

    Yes you are…the dictionary has a clearly defined contextual meaning for ‘to carry’ when used in the context of pregnancy and that is ‘to be pregnant’. You can insert the carrying the audience definition I gave above for all I care and make that part of the requirement for defining a pregnancy…but any of these doesn’t mean you’ve disproved Anonymous…it comes back to using the definition that is established for the context or you the best you can do is toss it up to being ambiguous (which doesn’t help your point either, just means its not evidence either way which I stated in a comment earlier yesterday).

    BTW, heres that same site you referenced above but in their glossary…it uses your definition of conception itself in the first definition of conception yet no mention of pregnancy….but check out the second definition of conception that aligns with RHRC and Anonymous (and I’m not here-or-there about the use of the word “conception” itself, but I do want to point out the when they reference pregnancy they also happen to state what mark the onset of pregnancy….its implantation). Same site – in their glossary.

    Conception:

    1. The union of the sperm and the ovum. Synonymous with fertilization.

    2. The onset of pregnancy, marked by implantation of the blastocyst into the endometrium.

  • invalid-0

    Here’s another of the definitions other than the one given for the context of pregnancy – “to bring, impart, hear, transmit, or communicate news, a message, etc.”.

    So I guess pregnancy is the state of imparting the news of a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Great, pregnancy is now the announcement.

    On the contrary, there is no reason to believe they weren’t using with its contextual meaning and when they actually mark the beginning of pregnancy, they actually say implantation.

    • invalid-0

      I certainly see your point. If I am splitting hairs over this then that was not my intent. When I read the definition that the site gave for pregnancy I did not read into it the same way you did. In any event, the other sources from the same site you provided show just how muddied this topic can be. A generic definition without any doctors names attached seems less than useful for this discussion. Mainly because this is much less of an issue over medical terms and science as it is over moral issues and relationships. Different doctors have different moral convictions over this issue so they define these terms in different ways. That was what I was trying to get across. Despite what Anonymous would have you believe, the medical community does not universally agree on what an abortion is.

      I found an article from the New York Times titled Contra-Contraception. It provides a better understanding of the viewpoints that are taken up on both sides of this issue. I do not however agree with the political agendas that either side are trying to push with this issue that this article focuses so heavily on. My political standpoint is for less government.

      Some quotes from the article:

      People are, of course, perfectly within their rights to believe that pregnancy begins when sperm meets egg. And it is reasonable for groups like the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, Focus on the Family and the American Life League to want to alert their members that something billed as contraception might actually have a function that runs counter to their beliefs. But there are two twists. One is that emergency contraception may not actually work as an abortifacient. ”There is no direct evidence that it blocks implantation,” Dr. Wood says. ”We can’t tell for sure because very little research has been done on direct implantation of human eggs. You run into moral problems doing research on a woman’s body and a human embryo. And since half of all fertilized eggs do not implant anyway, it would be difficult to know if this was the mechanism responsible.” Still, if it’s even possible for emergency contraception to stop implantation, then it’s right for Dr. Rudd of the C.M.D.A. to advise his group’s member physicians, ”Regardless of what an assembly of experts define, or fail to define, as the beginning of pregnancy, if a patient retains the moral conviction that life begins at fertilization, she must be made aware of information relevant to that conviction.”

      But the other twist is that emergency contraception apparently works in a manner similar to that of the ordinary birth control pill. That is to say, the pill, which contains the hormone progestin, also has three possible means of operation: by stopping ovulation, preventing fertilization or impeding implantation. If emergency contraception is a potential abortifacient, then the same would seem to be true for the pill, which tens of millions of women have taken over the past several decades. Dr. Rudd disputed this. ”The scientific evidence is that emergency contraception is more likely to have a post-fertility effect than the routine birth control,” he told me. But Dr. James Trussell, director of the Office of Population Research at Princeton University and one of the world’s leading experts on contraception, said: ”That is completely wrong. The evidence is about the same for all hormonal methods of contraception. We can’t rule out a post-fertility effect for Plan B, and the same is true for the birth control pill.”

      That may be a distinctly minority position, but some who work in the public health field acknowledge that the social conservatives have a point. ”I think the left missed something in the last couple of decades,” says Sarah Brown, president of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, which positions itself as a moderate voice in the heated world of reproductive politics. ”With the advent of oral contraception, I think there was this great sense that we had a solution to the problem of unintended pregnancy. But that is a medical model. I think the thing that was missed was that sex and pregnancy and relationships aren’t just a health issue. They are really about family and gender and religion and values. And what the right did was move in and say we’re not just talking about body parts.”

  • invalid-0

    Well, hopefully it just passes through instead of implanting.

  • invalid-0

    There is published guidance for women who want to use breastfeeding as birth control and also clinical trials to assess its effectiveness. And by the way, laws about what you are required to do for your children go further than those for a stranger….I may not have a positive duty toward a stranger yet I can’t neglect one of my children to provide nutrition to another even if the latter is my intent… all the while there being alternate sources of nutrition available that don’t require the neglect of either.

    • invalid-0

      I have researched this further and have not found any evidence which indicates breastfeeding can operate in the same way as the pill. The pill contains synthetic progestin and estradiol. A lactating woman produces prolactin, which suppresses the production of estrogen and progesterone. The only cause for speculation is the demonstrated effect of long-term breastfeeding causing the thinning of the uterine lining and inhibiting of ovulation similar to the pill. Since the effects are similar some are postulating that the effects are the same with a fertilized egg. No other conclusive evidence is given. Even it were the same, which I doubt, my previous comments apply. I like a comment someone else posted on this subject which reflects what I’ve been trying to say as well.

      1. That’s a very interesting, and rather powerful, argument.

      But I think we have a double standard, and rightly so, for pharmacological interventions and for engaging in normal human functions. Normal human functions are innocent until proven guilty, while drugs are guilty until proven innocent.

      It would be plainly irresponsible to release on the market a pharmacological contraceptive without any good, large-scale studies demonstrating that the contraceptive was safe for women. Imagine that the company marketing a pharmacological contraceptive checked to make sure it was effective, but did not check whether it was safe! The FDA would not approve such a thing, and if by a fluke it did, a responsible physician would not prescribe it. This would be particularly clear if there was some inconclusive but suggestive data that the contraceptive might be killing some of the users, together with a suggestion of a mechanism that has not been disproved.

      On the other hand, we do not generally worry much about normal human activities in the way we do about pharmacological agents, and I think we’re right not to worry much. Even if nobody has done a large scale study checking whether walking might not cause death, we still walk around, and tell our children to do so. Even if there were some inconclusive data that suggested that walking around might rock our brains in a way that causes them harm, we presume that it is reasonable to engage in this natural activity until the contrary is proved or at least made quite probable indeed.

      Nobody reasonable would want the innocent-until-proven-guilty standard that we apply in the case of normal human functions to be applied in the case of pharmacological agents, and nobody reasonable would want the guilty-until-proven-innocent standard for pharmacological agents to be applied in the case of normal human functions. (Granted, there may be a fuzzy area in between. Where does eating chocolate fit in the spectrum? But the existence of a fuzzy area is compatible with there being clear cases–breastfeeding is clearly a normal human function, and birth control pills are clearly pharmacological agents.)

      Now, as far as I can tell, there are no good, large-scale studies demonstrating that pharmacological contraception is safe for embryos. Yet it is also clear from a pro-life point of view that it is just as crucial to test for that as it is to test for safety for the mother. If this has not been done, and if there is any indication of a mechanism dangerous to human embryos, the drugs should be considered to be on par with experimental procedures–with the subjects (the embryos) not consenting to the experiments.

      2. It’s also worth noting that the practice of breastfeeding is generally good for the children. Thus, in adopting that practice, one’s children, considered as a group, do receive a benefit. Let us grant for the sake of argument that there is a risk associated with that benefit. But note that the group collectively at risk–one’s children–is the same group as the one that stands collectively to gain from the practice. It can be acceptable to put a population at risk for the sake of benefits to that same population (this is what is done with vaccination–there is always a danger of rare side-effects, but there are outweighing benefits, and many of the benefits accrue to the same population as the one that is endangered, namely the population being vaccinated).

      There is, as far as I know, at present no alternative to breastfeeding that is equally beneficial to the children. But there are alternatives to the pill, and while they may be less convenient, the convenience-benefit primarily accrues to the parents rather than to the group put at risk, namely the couple’s children.

      • invalid-0

        The benefit versus risk acceptability/safety in the research and approval process for vaccinations is no less regulated than putting pharmaceuticals on the market. Informed consent is one aspect of pharma/vaccine development, but so is independent oversight of whether the risks are acceptable or not versus the benefits for human subjects by qualified IRBs during research, and finally a determination if the risk versus benefits are deemed favorable or not by the FDA prior to approval. Only if it meets this final FDA acceptability that the risk of side effects versus benefits are acceptable for children will a childrens vaccine be made available as a choice for families to decide on. Families can opt out (e.g. do nothing regarding the vaccine) but they can’t act on a non-approved vaccine (or participate in a non-approved vaccine trial) with a benefit-to-risk-ratio of their own choosing that has not been determined acceptable by independent ethical and regulatory oversight as required by ethical codes and federal regulations, regardless if it does fall in the same group. These are some of the reasons why these products are regulated. Depending on how the research is supported, some regulations governing biomedical and behavioral research have specific requirements for the risk/benefit to be determined inclusive to pregnant women and their fetuses which are grouped separately than requirements for determining risk/benefit in children.


        Perhaps you should try a contrasting with a non-regulated example instead if you are trying to show that families can make these decisions completely on their own versus the pill.

  • paul-bradford

    ahunt,

     

    I suppose we’re in agreement, then.  TV sitcoms and ‘good insults’ have a kernel of truth.  I certainly realize that people distinguish real life from television but there have been genuine changes in attitudes about sexuality since the ‘fifties and those changes have been reflected in the popular media.

     

    It’s not just a coincidence that Rob and Laura slept in different beds and Seinfeld slept in a thousand different beds.  Our society changed a great deal from 1963 to 1993.  If you know a better barometer than TV I’d be happy to judge the results of that barometer.

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

     

  • paul-bradford

    Agreed.  When men behave as if they have a God given right to dominion over women’s bodies and uteruses they diminish the dignity of women.  But that’s what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about whether a man, prior to having or attempting to have sex with a woman, considers the possibility that he and she might become partners in reproduction.

     

    Do you think it dignifies or degrades a woman for a man to take into account the possibility that his sexual gratification might result in her pregnancy? 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    I like visiting Feministing. Read some of my posts here.

     

    Media representations are both a reflection and a promoter of cultural attitudes. I’m not sure whether I agree with the pope or not that ready access to contraception makes men more likely to treat women as sex objects and less likely to take into account a woman’s vulnerability to an unintended pregnancy. I suggested that comparing TV sitcoms of the ‘fifties and early ‘sixties to contemporary sitcoms might give some insight into changing attitudes about women and sexuality.

     

    I’m more than open to the idea of checking a more accurate standard of comparison.

     

    Paul Bradford, Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    colleen,

     

    You never tire of holding my feet to the fire, but I do think you have trouble giving me the ‘benefit of the doubt’ when I attempt to participate civilly in a discussion between people with different perspectives.

     

    Here’s what I think: (and I’d be happy to hear what you think whether or not you want to respect the fact that I’m making an earnest attempt to get at the truth).

     

    Men, as you point out, have treated women as sex objects as long as we’ve had a human race.  It may be, however, that modern men are more likely to forget the fact that a woman might possibly become a ‘gestation device’ and that she might not be happy with that arrangement.  It’s possible, given today’s attitudes, that a great number of men have completely divorced the ideas of sex and reproduction.

     

    Please explain to my dull mind why it makes me misogynistic to assume that this development is bad for women. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    colleen,

     

    I truly would be interested in your reaction to this article: "Why I Am Pro-Choice". I have the feeling that you make a lot of assumptions about me that are incorrect — especially about my attitudes toward women.

     

    Tell me if anything in that piece surprises you.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    Brett, if you or anyone does not want to take oral contraception or Plan B due to their potential to block the implantation of a fertilized egg, then that is your prerogative. I think it is bizarre that you would make important reproductive-health decisions based on microscopic phenomena that you can’t even observe directly, but it’s a free country, and as long as you’re not hurting anyone else, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do that.

    Please don’t presume, however, that others will accept, let alone want, to live their lives by this sort of single-celled dice game. Contraception is not abortion, and the medical community will not bend over backwards to serve this rather oddball viewpoint—but then, you don’t need it to do so in order to follow that in your own lives.

    Oh, and by the way, the “left” has been aware that “sex and pregnancy and relationships aren’t just a health issue; they are really about family and gender and religion and values” from the get-go. The problem is, because the right constantly attacks any family (e.g. same-sex parents) and gender (LGBT) and religion (Episcopalian, atheism) and values (e.g. secular humanism) not to their liking, reproductive-health advocates have had to defend access to abortion and contraception with rights-based language because that’s what it really comes down to, in the end.

    (Seriously—just read any of Heather Corinna’s columns, and tell me with a straight face that the left talks only about body parts.)

    • invalid-0

      I do realize this is a complex issue and I understand both sides. I once held the belief that there was nothing wrong with the Pill. It wasn’t until I really looked into the moral issues and asked and answered for myself the tough question of when life begins that I changed my mind. It was not an easy change to make either. I simply want to make others aware so they can make their own educated choice.

      I have never tried to force my own rules on others. I never even claimed that what I believe to be the abortifacient properties of the pill in and of itself to be wrong. You also need to place into context my initial comments on this article. This article is about Catholics. Catholics have made a public commitment to follow the teachings of the Church. The Catholic church teaches life begins when sperm meets egg (the Bible indicates this depending on how it’s interpreted) and considers the willful act of ending a life to be murder. Catholics are and should be held accountable to these teachings because they made a commitment to do so.

      and as long as you’re not hurting anyone else, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do that.

      That’s the button pusher for this whole issue on the political agenda. For those that believe that life begins when the egg is fertilized, the actions of those that take Plan B and the Pill are in fact viewed as hurting someone else. Someone so vulnerable they can not defend themselves in any way.

      Oh, and by the way, the “left” has been aware that “sex and pregnancy and relationships aren’t just a health issue; they are really about family and gender and religion and values” from the get-go.

      Then I don’t understand why you ever even asked for “medical” proof that the pill can cause an abortion or said that this is not a moral issue. You seem to be contradicting yourself.

      From my perspective you don’t want to acknowledge that their is another side to this issue that equals in scope. Your way of justifying this is through science and the “mainstream medical community” where you define “mainstream” to mean the one that has the moral position you prefer and dismiss the other position as outside the mainstream.

      You never have answered for me the question of when you believe human life begins and why? I am curious what your answer is.

    • http://www.dinahvice-sunrisedental.com invalid-0

      very well said. lets respect other’s opinions.

  • invalid-0

    I do realize this is a complex issue and I understand both sides. I once held the belief that there was nothing wrong with the Pill. It wasn’t until I really looked into the moral issues and asked and answered for myself the tough question of when life begins that I changed my mind. It was not an easy change to make either. I simply want to make others aware so they can make their own educated choice.

    Most others don’t regard the destruction of a zygote to be something to get worked up about, let alone affect one’s choice of birth control. You say that it comes down to when life starts and the fact that the zygote is destroyed by being blocked from implantation, but you’re missing the fact that to draw an equivalence between something that small and unformed and a born child, or even a later-term fetus, is completely unnatural and bizarre. It’s like if I said that killing bacteria is animal abuse, just like killing dogs.

    In India, there is a religion known as Jainism. Jain monks are known for walking with a little broom in front of them, sweeping ants out of the way so that they don’t step on them. (I forget the exact reason why, something like the ants are their ancestors and they must show respect to them.) You’re like a Jain monk, trying to convince the rest of the world not to kill ants. We can respect your strange concern for things so small, but when you start attacking options available to women to control their own fertility—something that pro-lifers and the Church have never much liked—that’s when you get slapped for your own misogyny. If you want to pursue your goals without walking all over women, try talking to the men instead—convince them to use a condom or some other barrier method, and refuse to have sex with the Pill as the only protection.

    I have never tried to force my own rules on others. I never even claimed that what I believe to be the abortifacient properties of the pill in and of itself to be wrong. You also need to place into context my initial comments on this article. This article is about Catholics. Catholics have made a public commitment to follow the teachings of the Church. The Catholic church teaches life begins when sperm meets egg (the Bible indicates this depending on how it’s interpreted) and considers the willful act of ending a life to be murder. Catholics are and should be held accountable to these teachings because they made a commitment to do so.

    Catholics can decide for themselves what are and what aren’t the teachings of the Church. The Church has been wrong before, it’s wrong now on a number of issues, and it will be wrong on things in the future—it falls to everyday Catholics to heal the Church and bring it back to a reflection of Christ’s teachings.

    That’s the button pusher for this whole issue on the political agenda. For those that believe that life begins when the egg is fertilized, the actions of those that take Plan B and the Pill are in fact viewed as hurting someone else. Someone so vulnerable they can not defend themselves in any way.

    Muslims and Jews view the consumption of pork as being very harmful to one’s spiritual life. Doesn’t mean they can or should advocate to ban pork for everyone.

    Then I don’t understand why you ever even asked for “medical” proof that the pill can cause an abortion or said that this is not a moral issue. You seem to be contradicting yourself.

    Because this comes down to a medical definition. Artificially-induced failure to implant is no more an abortion than a natural failure to implant is a miscarriage. Abortion and miscarriage are less trivial events that occur later on, once a pregnancy has been established.

    Now, that’s separate from the point of whether an artificially-induced failure to implant is a moral issue. But again, if it’s a moral issue, it’s just like those Jain monks and the ants. We prefer to focus on more significant concerns, like relationships, family, and values.

    From my perspective you don’t want to acknowledge that their is another side to this issue that equals in scope. Your way of justifying this is through science and the “mainstream medical community” where you define “mainstream” to mean the one that has the moral position you prefer and dismiss the other position as outside the mainstream.

    Because your concern for the zygote is not sincere. You simply want to abuse the definition of when life begins so that you have a club with which to deny women options for controlling their fertility. It’s not enough to take away abortion from them; you ultimately want them not to be able to have sex without taking a chance on pregnancy.

    You never have answered for me the question of when you believe human life begins and why? I am curious what your answer is.

    First, define for me exactly what “human life” means. Are the egg and sperm cells not themselves alive? What about blood cells? Cancer cells? Are those not “human life” too?

    There’s a very relevant saying here… “The map is not the territory.” You can put the words “human,” “life,” “kill,” “murder” together in a sentence, and think you’ve come up with some grand moral insight, but you really haven’t. Killing a zygote has never been a moral issue in the past, and nowadays, it’s only brought up as a way of inveighing against legal birth control options, like you’re doing. You care about zygotes only to the extent that it serves your anti-woman agenda. Because if you really cared about things that small, you would walk like a Jain monk, with a little broom in front of you. Because even the smallest ant is a lot more developed and complex than a zygote.

    • invalid-0

      Catholics can decide for themselves what are and what aren’t the teachings of the Church.

      From the Catechism of the Catholic Church in defining what is meant by “I/We believe” when a catholic professes the Creed.

      85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.”47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

      The Catholic Church does not say it is up to the individual to interpret the teachings of the Church. It is hypocritical for one to claim to be Catholic and continue to make this public profession but not actually believe in it.

      First, define for me exactly what “human life” means. Are the egg and sperm cells not themselves alive? What about blood cells? Cancer cells? Are those not “human life” too?

      Our human life is the physical container in which our soul lives and binds us to this world. When that earthly life dies, so our soul leaves this world.

      The majority of people believe in a soul though so I assumed you did as well. If you don’t believe in a human soul then you can’t answer this question. A human life = a dogs life = a rock in that case. It’s all just a bunch of atoms and everything is relative. A sad outlook in my opinion.

  • invalid-0

    The statistics show that most Catholics use birth control.

    During our productive years my wife and I moved between the Pill, rubbers and contraceptive foam. We never had a moral problem and had children when we wanted.

  • invalid-0

    The Catholic Church does not say it is up to the individual to interpret the teachings of the Church. It is hypocritical for one to claim to be Catholic and continue to make this public profession but not actually believe in it.

    No one gets to say that they are right by definition, not even the “living teaching office” of the Catholic Church. It’s a transparently self-serving position that doesn’t square at all with the teachings of Christ. (You don’t see any parallels with the Pharisees there?)

    The only way anyone can say that the Church is always right, is if it has never been wrong. And in its history, the Church has been wrong, way wrong, numerous times. The Crusades, indulgements, Galileo, the pregnant 9-year-old in Brazil, and those are only the ones I can rattle off as a layperson.

    Our human life is the physical container in which our soul lives and binds us to this world. When that earthly life dies, so our soul leaves this world.

    It is entirely reasonable for someone to hold that in order for the soul to reside in a physical container, said container must have a functional brain. This squares nicely with what we know about brain death, where the body remains alive but the very core part that defines the person is gone—there’s no “person” there, and thus no soul. (What kind of existence could a soul possibly have in a husk of a body like Terry Schiavo had?)

    The majority of people believe in a soul though so I assumed you did as well. If you don’t believe in a human soul then you can’t answer this question. A human life = a dogs life = a rock in that case. It’s all just a bunch of atoms and everything is relative. A sad outlook in my opinion.

    Um… you’re saying that if it weren’t for the concept of a soul, a human life would be no more worthwhile than a rock? Yes, I agree that that is a sad outlook.

    • invalid-0

      No one gets to say that they are right by definition, not even the “living teaching office” of the Catholic Church.

      Whether you think it’s right or not is not what is being debated. It’s whether or not the Catholic Church says it has this authority. The Church does say it has this authority which comes from and is protected by God. Anyone who claims to be Catholic is publicly affirming this belief. If they don’t believe this then they should not claim to be Catholic. Doing so would be hypocritical. I’ve already debated the difference between the teaching of the Church as a whole and the actions of it’s individual members. You still don’t seem to understand the difference. What people do and what they believe don’t always agree. That doesn’t mean they don’t believe what they believe, just that they themselves fall short of what they want to be/believe in. Again if anyone doesn’t believe what the Catholic Church believes then they should not call themselves Catholic unless they want to be hypocritical for some reason.

      It is entirely reasonable for someone to hold that in order for the soul to reside in a physical container, said container must have a functional brain.

      You need to clarify if you are taking about an immortal soul imparted by a creator or not. If you aren’t referring to an immortal soul, then defining a soul like this is no different than saying music has a soul. Even if you want to define a human life this way then you need to explain what you mean by a functional brain. If this is also your moral reasoning for why the “container” inside the womb shouldn’t be aborted then shouldn’t it also be morally unacceptable to kill animals since they have a functional brain? Also, depending on how you define functional, an ant has a brain. Which could provide reasoning for why the monks you talked about sweep the ants away. The way you talked about that though makes me think you don’t find anything morally wrong with killing ants.

      If you believe in a creator that imparts this soul, then it’s also reasonable to ask why you believe this creator imparts the soul at that point in time? I’ve been doing some research on what the Catholic Church teaches about this. Even the late Pope Paul VI doesn’t claim to know exactly when this infusion occurs. The Church however recognizes that their is nothing less than human life. It is never something less. Irregardless of exactly when the immortal soul is actually a part of the human life, it should never be treated as something less no mater what stage it is in.

      Declaration on Procured Abortion

      To this perpetual evidence — perfectly independent of the discussions on the moment of animation (19) — modern genetic science brings valuable confirmation. It has demonstrated that, from the first instant, there is established the program of what this living being will be: a man, this individual man with his characteristic aspects already well determined. Rightfrom fertilization is begun the adventure of a human life, and each of its capacities requires time- a rather lengthy time- to find its place and to be in a position to act.

      19. This declaration expressly leaves aside the question of the moment when the spiritual soul is infused. There is not a unanimous tradition on this point and authors are as yet in disagreement. For some it dates from the first instant; for others it could not at least precede nidation. It is not within the competence of science to decide between these views, because the existence of an immortal soul is not a question in its field. It is a philosophical problem from which our moral affirmation remains independent for two reasons: (1) supposing a belated animation, there is still nothing less than a human life, preparing for and calling for a soul in which the nature received from parents is completed, (2) on the other hand, it suffices that this presence of the soul be probable (and one can never prove the contrary) in order that the taking of life involve accepting the risk of killing a man, not only waiting for, but already in possession of his soul.

      Very interesting.

      Um… you’re saying that if it weren’t for the concept of a soul, a human life would be no more worthwhile than a rock? Yes, I agree that that is a sad outlook.

      Then please explain what elevates anything above anything else if an immortal soul isn’t to be infused to the human life? It is that very essence which makes us different.

  • invalid-0

    Whether you think it’s right or not is not what is being debated. It’s whether or not the Catholic Church says it has this authority. The Church does say it has this authority which comes from and is protected by God. Anyone who claims to be Catholic is publicly affirming this belief. If they don’t believe this then they should not claim to be Catholic. Doing so would be hypocritical.

    No, they can claim to be Catholic, while also recognizing that the Church hierarchy and many of its teachings are corrupt and un-Christlike and are in sore need of healing. The fact that the hierarchy says that it is correct and its authority is protected by God isn’t an exception to that—what, you think a corrupt hierarchy would openly admit it might be wrong?

    The point is, first, the Church, for all it represents, is still a human institution. As such, it is subject to all the problems that often affect large organizations, including insularity, unresponsiveness, and corruption. We see this in governments and megacorporations the world over; do you really think the dynamics within the Church are so completely different that these don’t apply?

    Secondly, the Church consists of both its hierarchy and its followers, whether or not the hierarchy likes that or not. If the Pope decided to demolish the Vatican and fire every bishop and archbishop in the world, would that be the end of Catholicism? I don’t think so. Catholics the world over wouldn’t just turn Protestant or atheist or whatever and give up; they would continue to worship, even if the faith could no longer properly be called “Roman Catholic.” Catholicism does not belong to the Pope. It’s not his ball that he can take and go home with. He is the foremost steward of the faith, but that is not the same as being the one who defines it.

    Anyway, once more: The Church has been wrong in the past, it’s wrong on a number of issues now, and many Catholics are brave and loving enough to stay Catholic and heal the Church rather than give up and switch to another faith.

    You need to clarify if you are taking about an immortal soul imparted by a creator or not.

    Yes, that immortal soul, not the “soul” of music or whatever else. You can’t say that a random bag of meat has a soul, so what is it about us human beings that makes us capable of having souls? We know that a human who has undergone brain death is, basically, just a living bag of meat (a.k.a. “vegetable”), so having a functional human brain seems a pretty important criteria.

    (I’m not going to get into the whole animal-soul/ant-soul argument here.)

    If you believe in a creator that imparts this soul, then it’s also reasonable to ask why you believe this creator imparts the soul at that point in time? I’ve been doing some research on what the Catholic Church teaches about this. Even the late Pope Paul VI doesn’t claim to know exactly when this infusion occurs. The Church however recognizes that their is nothing less than human life. It is never something less. Irregardless of exactly when the immortal soul is actually a part of the human life, it should never be treated as something less no mater what stage it is in.

    If it doesn’t matter anyway at what point the soul comes into the picture, why did you bring it up in the first place?

    In any event, Catholics can disagree on whether disregarding the possibility of an absent soul has costs of its own which outweigh the benefits. Many feel that the Church’s fervor to keep Terry Schiavo alive, for example, was misguided. And even the Church doesn’t have qualms about women menstruating—what of the souls that could have taken up residence in the bodies gestated from those?

    Very interesting.

    Indeed. He places more value on the mere unknown possibility of there being a soul in a single-celled entity than on the ramifications that this would have on the woman in whose body this entity resides. It is a perspective that holds out no compassion for women, and disregards their lived experience, which is unfortunately not surprising, due to the Church’s exclusion of women from the power structure. Many Catholics can and do disagree with that, in good conscience.

  • invalid-0

    Anyway, once more: The Church has been wrong in the past, it’s wrong on a number of issues now, and many Catholics are brave and loving enough to stay Catholic and heal the Church rather than give up and switch to another faith.

    The whole point of being Catholic should be that one is in full communion with the teachings of the Church. If someone thinks it’s corrupt and un-Christlike then why aren’t they some form of Protestant? You say be cause they are loving enough? Then for one thing they must see some value in the Church. If they are so loving then they should be following the rules while trying to change them at the same time. They totally disrespect and negate the authority of the Church. That doesn’t sound like love to me. As a young teenager I didn’t always agree with my parents but I also did what they told me out of respect and love.

    If a Catholic believes they are free to come up with their own teachings then the Catholic Church is anything they want it to be. That goes against the very nature of what “Catholic” means. For such a person you need to explain to me then what value they see in the Catholic Church to continue to call themselves Catholic and not some form of Protestant. The only reason I can think of is for social connections with friends and family which has nothing to do with beliefs at all.

    If it doesn’t matter anyway at what point the soul comes into the picture, why did you bring it up in the first place?

    It matters very much for someone that argues that human life (immortal soul) should be respected but then calls a brain dead person a bag of meat. They need to offer some religious belief that shows the link between a functional brain and an immortal soul and they also have to offer some explanation of what functional means. The Catholic Churches philosophy is simple. We don’t know exactly when the immortal soul infuses with the physical being so we should respect all stages of the physical being that could poses this immortal soul. You seem to believe in an immortal soul and agree it should be respected. What I don’t understand is how you reason functional brain = immortal soul and no brain = no immortal soul. I’m not familiar with any religion that makes this connection. If it’s based on Christianity what teachings/traditions from the time of Christ offer any evidence to this link?

    Indeed. He places more value on the mere unknown possibility of there being a soul in a single-celled entity than on the ramifications that this would have on the woman in whose body this entity resides.

    The ramifications of pregnancy? That’s the exact kind of mentality that contraception brings that the Church is trying to prevent. You make it sound like getting pregnant is like being in a train wreck.

    It is a perspective that holds out no compassion for women, and disregards their lived experience, which is unfortunately not surprising, due to the Church’s exclusion of women from the power structure.

    Based on our conversations so far, comparing your compassion for life versus what the Catholic Church is teaching, I’d say the Catholic Church is presenting a stronger case for who is more compassionate. The Catholic Church is taking the “safe” route and presenting the case for life due to the unknown even if it means great sacrifice. On the other hand you are throwing caution out the window for the sake of choice and convenience even at the possible cost of an immortal life with great potential to live a good life in this world. You haven’t presented any case otherwise.

  • invalid-0

    The whole point of being Catholic should be that one is in full communion with the teachings of the Church. If someone thinks it’s corrupt and un-Christlike then why aren’t they some form of Protestant? You say be cause they are loving enough? Then for one thing they must see some value in the Church. If they are so loving then they should be following the rules while trying to change them at the same time. They totally disrespect and negate the authority of the Church. That doesn’t sound like love to me. As a young teenager I didn’t always agree with my parents but I also did what they told me out of respect and love.

    If your parents were alcoholic, or mentally ill, you would know that there is a limit to how much you can respect them by doing as they ask you—and that getting them into some sort of treatment program, even if they’re not willing to go along with it, would be a show of your enduring love for them.

    It cuts both ways, Brett. It doesn’t often go the “student teaching the master” route often, for obvious reasons, but there are times and circumstances where that is part of the relationship.

    If a Catholic believes they are free to come up with their own teachings then the Catholic Church is anything they want it to be. That goes against the very nature of what “Catholic” means. For such a person you need to explain to me then what value they see in the Catholic Church to continue to call themselves Catholic and not some form of Protestant. The only reason I can think of is for social connections with friends and family which has nothing to do with beliefs at all.

    It’s not about “coming up with their own teachings.” I can say that “Catholicism is really about lazing about and smoking pot,” but I will never convince even myself of the truth of that. You think it’s some sort of trite “anything goes” philosophy, but it’s not. It’s about the Catholicism that comes from within. Are you going to tell me that no one outside of the Church hierarchy is capable of real, Catholic, moral insight? That no one without the Vatican imprimatur can have a valid view on what is consistent with the teachings of Christ, or isn’t?

    It matters very much for someone that argues that human life (immortal soul) should be respected but then calls a brain dead person a bag of meat. They need to offer some religious belief that shows the link between a functional brain and an immortal soul and they also have to offer some explanation of what functional means.

    Science has done this for us. We don’t know what the soul really consists of, but we know that if there is no brain activity, then there is no person, period. And “respecting” the minuscule possibility of an immortal soul comes at the cost of immense disrespect for other souls whose presence is not in question.

    The ramifications of pregnancy? That’s the exact kind of mentality that contraception brings that the Church is trying to prevent. You make it sound like getting pregnant is like being in a train wreck.

    How someone feels about their pregnancy is their prerogative. For some people, yes, it is very much a train wreck. For others, it is a great blessing. The Church seeks to avoid this diversity of opinion because it is an acknowledgement of women’s moral agency and status as full human beings. Again, because there are no women to advocate for this within the power structure of the Church.

    Based on our conversations so far, comparing your compassion for life versus what the Catholic Church is teaching, I’d say the Catholic Church is presenting a stronger case for who is more compassionate. The Catholic Church is taking the “safe” route and presenting the case for life due to the unknown even if it means great sacrifice. On the other hand you are throwing caution out the window for the sake of choice and convenience even at the possible cost of an immortal life with great potential to live a good life in this world. You haven’t presented any case otherwise.

    This is the compassion of today’s Catholic Church. What is being “thrown out” is any value women’s lives have to themselves, to their families, and to their communities.

    This discussion has been fun, but let’s wrap it up here. The Church will continue to evolve, and I’m pretty sure that the Church of the year 2500 or 3000 is going to be disagreeable to you in a number of ways, much as today’s Church would be disagreeable to many who lived during the Middle Ages. With the loving hand of millions, billions of Catholics the world over, I hope that the future Church will value and respect the role of women as much as it does men, and that the milestone of the first female Pope will eventually come to pass.

  • invalid-0

    If your parents were alcoholic, or mentally ill, you would know that there is a limit to how much you can respect them by doing as they ask you—and that getting them into some sort of treatment program, even if they’re not willing to go along with it, would be a show of your enduring love for them.
    It cuts both ways, Brett. It doesn’t often go the “student teaching the master” route often, for obvious reasons, but there are times and circumstances where that is part of the relationship.

    Well that’s where this analogy breaks apart. A person does not choose their parents but they do choose their beliefs. If anyone is of an age to get their parents treatment then they are also of age to leave home and to not follow their rules at all. At that point the entire character of the parent is lost for the child and they do not feel obligated to follow any of their rules. None of their parents rules have any value. In the analogy of the Catholic church, none of the Churches rules have value beyond what the person themselves so decide. The child can’t just decide that their parent is no longer their parent. That will never change. But a person can decide to not be Catholic.

    Are you going to tell me that no one outside of the Church hierarchy is capable of real, Catholic, moral insight? That no one without the Vatican imprimatur can have a valid view on what is consistent with the teachings of Christ, or isn’t?

    No because that is what the Protestant denominations set out to do. Their were irrevocable differences between them. The sole difference that created this irrevocable split was the one over where the authority of God lies. The Bible alone based on an individuals understanding aided by the Holy Spirit (Protestant) or the Bible and the traditions and interpretations of the Church (Catholic). You still haven’t shown why someone with this position would not want to leave the Catholic church and become Protestant. What does the Catholic Church offer this person that the Protestant church does not?

    Science has done this for us. We don’t know what the soul really consists of, but we know that if there is no brain activity, then there is no person, period.

    Science can not answer matters related to immortality and faith. As Jesus said, He can make the rocks cry out if he wants to. If your faith tells you that the creator imparts the immortal soul when the brain is functional and takes it away when it’s not functional, so be it. How you can base this upon some Christian belief you still haven’t shown. You also still haven’t answered what you mean by functional. Does someone with autism have a functional brain? What about someone with Alzheimer’s or any other kind of dementia? Define “functional”!

    And “respecting” the minuscule possibility of an immortal soul comes at the cost of immense disrespect for other souls whose presence is not in question.

    Can you not see the good in the call of people to willing be self sacrificial for the possible sake of others (immortal souls) and the bad in the acceptance of one who is possibly attacking an innocent immortal soul for the sake of their own respect? I do not see how you can not, as you have not relented in proclaiming how terrible pro life activists are for attacking pro choice activists as though they aren’t allowed to have a choice. If you can not see after our discussion how your argument for pro choice follows the same line that you are denouncing the pro life activists for employing then I can’t offer any more words to help you see that.

    This discussion has been fun, but let’s wrap it up here.

    I have enjoyed our discussion as well. Before we wrap it up though, I’m still interested in what you think the Catholics that go against the Church’s teachings see worthwhile in the Catholic Church that is not found in Protestant denominations. I’d also really like to understand what basis you have for the belief that immortal soul = functional brain and what you mean by functional. You place so much faith in these assumptions so I would really like to know what your basis for this faith is. You say it’s science. Excuse my ignorance, but I really don’t understand how science answers the question of life after death and where and when the immortal soul resides. You have not answered these questions…

  • invalid-0

    The child can’t just decide that their parent is no longer their parent. That will never change. But a person can decide to not be Catholic.

    For many people, Catholicism is an unshakable part of their identity. They can’t just decide not to be a Catholic, any more than they can’t just decide not to be a grandparent, or a good person at heart. Even more so if they feel that Catholicism is the only true religion.

    You still haven’t shown why someone with this position would not want to leave the Catholic church and become Protestant. What does the Catholic Church offer this person that the Protestant church does not?

    I don’t know. But you see the same sort of argument play out in other venues. When Bush was re-elected in 2004, many liberals said they’d had it, and were moving to Canada. Others said, no, they’re going to stay in the country they were born in, the country they loved, and would fight to make it better. You can easily cast it as a choice between “fighting for what’s right” and “giving up.”

    How you can base this upon some Christian belief you still haven’t shown.

    Because we’re not talking about something that can be directly discerned from the teachings of Christ. This is all papal doctrine, laws written by men who have digested and interpreted Christ’s teachings. Considering that the Vatican is on record as stating that same-sex couples do “violence” to the children they raise, there is little reason to believe that their interpretation is free of prejudice and a lack of perspective resulting from the nature of the Church organization itself.

    You also still haven’t answered what you mean by functional. Does someone with autism have a functional brain? What about someone with Alzheimer’s or any other kind of dementia? Define “functional”!

    “Functional” as in being capable of supporting even minimal human awareness. Someone with dementia still has it. Someone who has suffered a stroke, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, still has it. Someone in a persistent vegetative state does not. A zygote, certainly does not.

    Can you not see the good in the call of people to willing be self sacrificial for the possible sake of others (immortal souls) and the bad in the acceptance of one who is possibly attacking an innocent immortal soul for the sake of their own respect?

    Brett, I have to contrast the extreme deference shown to the mere possibility of an immortal soul in the earliest stage of human formation, to the sheer disregard shown to the soul in whose female body this dilemma takes place. This soul’s existence is not in doubt, and the effects and consequences of pregnancy are extremely significant for her, especially if that is not what she desires—doesn’t that count for anything?

    You’re saying self-sacrifice is a good thing. Why doesn’t the Church sell its massive Vatican wealth to aid the poor? Why don’t most Catholics in developed nations part themselves from their wealth, and put their lives in service of the poor, as the Bible exhorts? Because at the end of the day, self-sacrifice is a choice. If you are coerced or browbeaten or forced into it, the act loses its power. Do you think Mother Teresa would have been as revered as she was if everyone were required to do what she did?

    I do not see how you can not, as you have not relented in proclaiming how terrible pro life activists are for attacking pro choice activists as though they aren’t allowed to have a choice. If you can not see after our discussion how your argument for pro choice follows the same line that you are denouncing the pro life activists for employing then I can’t offer any more words to help you see that.

    The argument follows the same line only if you hold the unknown possibility of an immortal soul in a microscopic “body” to be equally important to a definite immortal soul, in a fully-grown female body, who decided to have sexual relations. I hold that this doctrine holds women’s lives to be less important than an exercise in counting how many angels can dance on the head of a pin—and many Catholics agree. Why do you think the Church nearly reversed its ban on artificial contraception in the 60s?

    Before we wrap it up though, I’m still interested in what you think the Catholics that go against the Church’s teachings see worthwhile in the Catholic Church that is not found in Protestant denominations.

    I think they see that their faith has a good, solid core, with some unfortunate trappings built around it, and that they can make an effort to remove those trappings and make the faith realize its true potential. I mean, hell, you have devout, gay Muslims. They have a task ten times bigger than dissident Catholics, and run a very real danger of being killed, yet they stick with their faith.

    I’d also really like to understand what basis you have for the belief that immortal soul = functional brain and what you mean by functional.

    Not that the soul equals a functional brain, but that without a functional brain, a soul cannot be tied to a body. Can you say that a living but headless body has a soul? I say no, because how can a soul ever take up residence inside that body, let alone animate it? If the answer were yes, then what if you start taking out individual organs, one by one, while keeping the body alive? At what point does the body become just living meat?

    We know that if there is no brain, then there is no person. There’s a lot we don’t understand about the brain, but we know that you need it in order to be you. If you’re brain-dead, but your body remains alive, then you’re dead in the way that matters to most people. If the soul is to represent a force of nature that is relevant and meaningful to us, then it makes no sense to presume that it can exist in a body without the support of the brain.

    • invalid-0

      Even more so if they feel that Catholicism is the only true religion.

      If they feel Catholicism is the only true religion then it is illogical to argue that they don’t agree with the Catholic Church’s beliefs.

      I don’t know. But you see the same sort of argument play out in other venues.

      Which exactly agrees with what I said was the only reason I could see why someone like this could remain Catholic. They identify with the Catholic Church on some social level not because it follows their beliefs. They try to change the Church so they can make it something that its not so suit their own interests and desires.

      Because we’re not talking about something that can be directly discerned from the teachings of Christ. This is all papal doctrine, laws written by men who have digested and interpreted Christ’s teachings.

      The importance of the human body is not something just made up by papal doctrine. The Bible clearly demonstrates that the body is the highest and most respected form of physical matter in this world. Our bodies are temples, the dwelling place of the soul and the Holy Spirit. If anything, science through the discovery of DNA, shows that the very beginnings of conception present us with a product which is uniquely human in nature. It doesn’t have the potential to become anything but human. DNA also tells us that this product contains within it everything that is needed to form a unique one of a kind human.

      Brett, I have to contrast the extreme deference shown to the mere possibility of an immortal soul in the earliest stage of human formation, to the sheer disregard shown to the soul in whose female body this dilemma takes place. This soul’s existence is not in doubt, and the effects and consequences of pregnancy are extremely significant for her, especially if that is not what she desires—doesn’t that count for anything?

      The pregnant woman’s desires count very much! However nothing can count higher than the human soul and the body that it’s infused with. To argue otherwise is to say murder is morally acceptable.

      You’re saying self-sacrifice is a good thing. Why doesn’t the Church sell its massive Vatican wealth to aid the poor? Because at the end of the day, self-sacrifice is a choice. If you are coerced or browbeaten or forced into it, the act loses its power. Do you think Mother Teresa would have been as revered as she was if everyone were required to do what she did?

      I have never argued that anyone should be forced to do anything. The laws and authority of the USA aren’t forcing anyone to do anything either. They simply present consequences should someone willfully go against them. The law does not force anyone not to murder. If it did their wouldn’t be any murders. People choose to murder and also to face the consequences should they get caught. The Catholic Church is no different. If you want to argue that the Church is a cult then you would have a basis to go on.

      Why don’t most Catholics in developed nations part themselves from their wealth, and put their lives in service of the poor, as the Bible exhorts?

      You say how brave and loving Catholics of wealthy nations are for standing up against the Church on contraception and abortion but then bash that same group for not giving up their wealth and following the teachings of the Church? Do you not see that it’s the same group of people?

      The argument follows the same line only if you hold the unknown possibility of an immortal soul in a microscopic “body” to be equally important to a definite immortal soul, in a fully-grown female body, who decided to have sexual relations. I hold that this doctrine holds women’s lives to be less important than an exercise in counting how many angels can dance on the head of a pin—and many Catholics agree.

      It’s only equal if the pregnant woman’s life is in danger due to the pregnancy. If I was presented with an opportunity in which I could possibly save someones life even if it meant I would be greatly humiliated in the process, my hope is that I would choose the humiliation. The Biblical teaching on this is very clear.

      Not that the soul equals a functional brain, but that without a functional brain, a soul cannot be tied to a body.

      I understand the argument but from a Christian perspective what revelation from God supports this? God’s revelation supports the body as a temple, the dwelling place of God and the soul and to treat it as such at every stage, even in death. A dead body can be desecrated.

      Can you say that a living but headless body has a soul? I say no, because how can a soul ever take up residence inside that body, let alone animate it? If the answer were yes, then what if you start taking out individual organs, one by one, while keeping the body alive?

      I say yes. An immortal soul does not need to be infused to something physical to exist. It wouldn’t be immortal otherwise. Even if we can’t observe an immortal soul through our physical senses does not mean it can not exist in this world. That is why it is taken on faith and revelation. What revelation do you have to suppose otherwise? If your faith is not based on some kind of revelation then it is much stronger than mine.

      At what point does the body become just living meat?

      When the soul is not present. Even then the body is held sacred and not just meat.

      We know that if there is no brain, then there is no person. There’s a lot we don’t understand about the brain, but we know that you need it in order to be you. If you’re brain-dead, but your body remains alive, then you’re dead in the way that matters to most people. If the soul is to represent a force of nature that is relevant and meaningful to us, then it makes no sense to presume that it can exist in a body without the support of the brain.

      If that is the case then the soul you speak of can not be immortal. If it needs to be tied to the physical senses in order to exist then is ceases to exist (dies) when it can no longer be felt, seen, smelled etc. As I said in the very beginning of this debate, if one does not believe in an immortal soul then I agree for them their is no moral argument that abortion is wrong. The closest concept of “morality” for someone like that is a social debate over what actions can we do to provide the most enjoyable life for the majority of the people.

  • invalid-0

    If that is the case then the soul you speak of can not be immortal. If it needs to be tied to the physical senses in order to exist then is ceases to exist (dies) when it can no longer be felt, seen, smelled etc.

    I take that back. That description is essential how I define Hell. The immortal soul can exist in such a case. I describe Hell as when the soul has for eternity no way to be connected to anyone but is for ever aware of himself and his existence. That is not to suppose that a soul infused in this world to a body which can never connect to this world is in this condition. Such a soul may be joined to God in some manner which allows them to be connected to other souls. They may also simply be “asleep” and not aware of themselves or time. Time does not exist for an eternal being. Or God could have very well taken the soul from the body in his knowing the body will never awaken. I recognize that part of my faith as a mystery to which only God himself knows. My meaning doesn’t change though. An immortal soul does not need these physical senses in order to exist in this world. It is a mystery and the Bible clearly demonstrates the sacredness of the body at every stage.

  • invalid-0

    If they feel Catholicism is the only true religion then it is illogical to argue that they don’t agree with the Catholic Church’s beliefs.

    They can hold that it is the one true religion and that the Church’s earthly institution is corrupt. Those two positions are in no way contradictory—one does not exclude the other.

    Which exactly agrees with what I said was the only reason I could see why someone like this could remain Catholic. They identify with the Catholic Church on some social level not because it follows their beliefs. They try to change the Church so they can make it something that its not so suit their own interests and desires.

    Maybe some Catholics have that motivation. And maybe some are more earnest than you care to give them credit for. The fact that that is the only reason you can imagine speaks to the extent of your experience, not that of Catholics working to reform the Church.

    The importance of the human body is not something just made up by papal doctrine. The Bible clearly demonstrates that the body is the highest and most respected form of physical matter in this world. Our bodies are temples, the dwelling place of the soul and the Holy Spirit. If anything, science through the discovery of DNA, shows that the very beginnings of conception present us with a product which is uniquely human in nature. It doesn’t have the potential to become anything but human. DNA also tells us that this product contains within it everything that is needed to form a unique one of a kind human.

    A single sperm and egg have that very same potential, yet they are not valued in the same way. Every cell in our body is uniquely and inescapably human, yet they are not valued in the same way. And Catholics of good conscience can disagree with you (and papal doctrine) on whether a zygote or blastocyst is a sufficiently substantial seat for a human soul.

    The pregnant woman’s desires count very much! However nothing can count higher than the human soul and the body that it’s infused with. To argue otherwise is to say murder is morally acceptable.

    Except that the claim that a human soul is involved is questionable. On the other hand, your desire (and the modern Church’s desire) to “play it safe” on that point, even at the cost of spiritual violence to the woman (in requiring her to submit to a pregnancy she may not want), is crystal clear.

    I have never argued that anyone should be forced to do anything. The laws and authority of the USA aren’t forcing anyone to do anything either. They simply present consequences should someone willfully go against them. The law does not force anyone not to murder. If it did their wouldn’t be any murders. People choose to murder and also to face the consequences should they get caught. The Catholic Church is no different. If you want to argue that the Church is a cult then you would have a basis to go on.

    We’re not talking about anyone being “forced” to do anything. We’re talking about Church laws requiring their followers to do something in order to be in good standing with the Church. The Church does not require the disgorgement of wealth for one to be a good Catholic. You asked, “But isn’t self-sacrifice a good thing?” Well, sure, but that’s not the same thing as saying that one must submit to it or else be deficient as a Catholic.

    You say how brave and loving Catholics of wealthy nations are for standing up against the Church on contraception and abortion but then bash that same group for not giving up their wealth and following the teachings of the Church? Do you not see that it’s the same group of people?

    It’s not necessarily the same group of people—there are a lot of people in Catholicism, after all. But my point isn’t that they are bad Catholics for not giving up their wealth. My point is, most of them are good Catholics, despite not doing so. The Church requires the vow of poverty from its clergy, but not from its laity.

    It’s only equal if the pregnant woman’s life is in danger due to the pregnancy. If I was presented with an opportunity in which I could possibly save someones life even if it meant I would be greatly humiliated in the process, my hope is that I would choose the humiliation. The Biblical teaching on this is very clear.

    So if an IVF clinic were burning, and you had a choice between saving a thousand frozen zygotes, or two college-age lab workers…?

    I understand the argument but from a Christian perspective what revelation from God supports this? God’s revelation supports the body as a temple, the dwelling place of God and the soul and to treat it as such at every stage, even in death. A dead body can be desecrated.

    You didn’t need a revelation from God to tell you about the importance of DNA—why do you want one for the importance of the human brain to our personhood?

    I say yes. An immortal soul does not need to be infused to something physical to exist. It wouldn’t be immortal otherwise. Even if we can’t observe an immortal soul through our physical senses does not mean it can not exist in this world. That is why it is taken on faith and revelation. What revelation do you have to suppose otherwise? If your faith is not based on some kind of revelation then it is much stronger than mine.

    I’m not saying that the immortal soul can’t exist without a body (because duh, then the soul wouldn’t be immortal). I’m talking about what is required of a physical body in order for an immortal soul to be present in it. What is the difference between a human being, and a pulsing, breathing, but ultimately inert bag of meat?

    If that is the case then the soul you speak of can not be immortal. If it needs to be tied to the physical senses in order to exist then is ceases to exist (dies) when it can no longer be felt, seen, smelled etc.

    I’m not positing that the soul may cease to exist, but that it may or may not be present in a physical body—because that’s the point that actually matters here. If you say that a soul can be present in a headless-but-living body, then you’re talking about a different kind of soul from what most people have in mind.

    In any event. The real reason why most Catholics, and indeed most people, disregard the whole “contraception is murder!” argument is because of the turn that our conversation has followed. Look at us! We’re discussing souls, and Church doctrine on souls. We’re not discussing things that feel, things that can suffer, things that are “human” in a sense that is meaningful to us. We’re taking a matter of ostensible moral concern, and reducing it to a discussion of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. And every time I bring up the potentially-pregnant woman—you know, the person who would be most affected by all our pontificating here—you sweep her aside as irrelevant (while paying lip service to her desires as “counting very much!”). The soul shell-game is more important than the very real impact it will have on her life. It’s intellectual, institutional misogyny at its finest.

    Feel free to continue railing against hormonal birth control as the moral equivalent of murder. However, if someone presses you for your reasoning, and you respond with philosophical and metaphysical minutiae while completely disregarding the impact on people’s daughters, sisters, mothers, and close friends… then don’t expect to find yourself in good company. Even under the Catholic mantle.

    I’m done with this thread.

    • http://car-japan.blogspot.com/ invalid-0

      The youth does not get children, girls smoke and drink, human values towards material vary, the quantity of abortions continues to grow (despite active propagation of safe sex and a variety of modern means of contraception), and teenagers are more often brought up by street, than parents. Whether can dismissed or compelled for five years to retire later, only what it the man, the worker deprived of the child the husband (at divorce, at full ignoring of the equal matrimonial rights, in 90 % of cases children are transferred to mother), to expostulate on female chauvinism?

  • invalid-0

    Acting to vaccinate children may seem like it’s a family decision at times but in reality regulatory has already weighed in on each individual vaccine to say that it is an acceptable risk to take to achieve the benefits.

  • acroma

    العاب بنات حديثة و جديدة للبنات فقط
    العاب اطفال فقط
    العاب حربية و استراتيجية
    العاب رياضية منوعة
    العاب متنوعه
    العاب اكشن قتالية
    العاب ذكاء
    العاب تلوين شخصيات و رسومات
    العاب حيوانات
    العاب ديزنى و كرتون نتورك
    العاب سوبر ماريو و سونيك
    العاب كرتون و انمى افلام و مسلسلات
    العاب تلبيس اولاد فقط/>
    العاب سيارات و السباق
    العاب العروسة سيو دولز
    العاب باربي barbie
    العاب بنات براتز و براتس جيرلز
    العاب ديكور و ترتيب الغرف و الاثاث
    العاب طبخ الطعم و تحضير الاكلات
    العاب قص الشعر و كوافير البنات
    العاب مشاهير للبنات تلبيس و مكياج
    العاب مكياج و ميك اب بنات
    العاب هانا مونتانا

    العاب باربي

    العاب تلبيس

    العاب طبخ

    العاب ميك اب مكياج

    العاب سو العروسة سيو

    العاب براتز فتيات براتس قيرلز

    العاب بنات و فتيات منوعة

    العاب ديكور و ترتيب الغرف
    اخبار
    افلام
    افلام كرتون و مقاطع انمى
    كليبات المرأه عالم حواء
    كليبات و مقاطع متنوعة
    مقاطع فضائح
    مقاطع فيديو دينية اسلامية
    مقاطع فيديو رياضية

    مقاطع مضحكة

    يوتيوب
    العاب
    العاب بنات
    العاب

    عالم حواء
    العاب بنات
    العاب g9g
    العاب