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Friday, December 17, 2010

Latin Expert Weighs In

In an attempt to make sense of Pope Benedict's recent odd remarks on condoms, several Catholics, including Jimmy Akin, Janet Smith and Father Martin Rhonheimer, have made the indefensible argument that the Church has never actually said if condom use between non-married sexual partners was problematic.

Catholic theologian and Latin expert Ron Conte demolishes their position in a carefully written analysis of the Latin phrasing the neo-dissenters use to justify their positions.

Janet Smith's Latest Error

Just as an aside, Janet's article is well worth reading, if only to demonstrate how a once mighty defender of the Catholic teaching on contraception has now fallen into gross error. Take this gem, for instance:
"It is even more difficult to determine the morality of actions that may serve in some way to facilitate actions that are intrinsically evil, such as giving handouts to alcoholic beggars."
Theologically, this sentence is absurd.
Is it the handouts that are intrinsically evil?
Is it being an alcoholic that's intrinsically evil?
Being a beggar?
Being an alcoholic beggar?
Is being an alcoholic beggar an action? Or is it a state of being?
Did she mean to say being an alcoholic beggar was intrinsically disordered?
If so, which part - the alcoholic part or the beggar part? Or both together?

Contraception Not Always Evil
Then we are given this to chew on:
"Even if contraception is not intrinsically evil for fornicators, I believe that it would be wrong for some fornicators to contracept. Certainly for those who are engaged or planning on marrying, a pregnancy would not necessarily have seriously bad consequences."
[Choke. Cough. Gasp.]
Janet admits the possibility that contraception is not intrinsically evil?
Since when is an action intrinsically evil for some people but not for others?
How would THAT work, exactly?
But that's where the good priest leads us, and Janet follows blindly along behind.
After all, pregnancy might, in some, cases be a "bad consequence"!
What the heck was God thinking to give such a gift to anyone?

And people will follow this witchcraft because it came out of Janet's mouth.
Newsflash: No one really cares whether "Catholic theologians" have come to a consensus. The Magisterium is quite clear.

Pregnancy Is Evil

Worse, notice how everyone is now assuming that the Church has only spoken on contraception within marriage? And notice where that assumption takes us?

Pregnancy is a "bad consequence," it's now "morally responsible", or at least more morally responsible, to fornicate in such a way that you avoid pregnancy, etc.

The only way Janet can think to walk out of the trap is to implicitly agree that pregnancy is evil, and that the evil consequence will "wake up" the fornicators.

How long before the dissenters transfer this line of thinking from outside of marriage to marriage itself?

But they already have.

You see, dissenting theologians have long given lip service to the idea that the marital act has to be both unitive and procreative. However, in their warped understanding, the unitive aspect of the act is a state of mind. The physical reality has no bearing on the unitive aspect.

"Any sexual act outside of marriage is not unitive!" they cry.
Thus, Humanae Vitae and Casti Conubii must not be talking about contraception between fornicators, because it only addresses unitive acts.

Similarly, artificial birth control is not the sin of contraception unless the actors intentionally separate the two aspects of marital relations, unitive and generative. Fornication, by definition is not a unitive act, so birth control practiced by fornicators is not a sin.

What Did You MEAN To Do?

For them, that spiritual state is ALWAYS supplied by the intention of the sexual actors.
If the actors don't intend it to be unitive, then it isn't.
If they both intend it to be unitive, then it is.

So, even if you are putting up chemical/physical walls (e.g., the condom or the hormonal contraceptive), if you intend unity, then you have it. That's where Janet pulls the rabbit out of the hat to argue that pregnancy is "not always necessarily bad" if the fornicators intend unity, that is, if they intend to get married.

This is the fruit of Westianism, which says that our intentions are the only real arbiter of what is good and what is bad. If we don't intend to have sex with that naked women in the magazine, then we can look at her all day long. Christian nudism is fine as long as we don't have wrong intentions.

But if intentions are the only thing that define the morality of an act, then there is no such thing as an intrinsically evil act at all. An act can never be evil in itself, we must always first examine the intentions of the actors.

"Unity" becomes a state of mind that occurs irrespective of any physical state that may obtain.

Now, this is really a self-refuting proposition. The people who hold this position, like the Westians, insist that only the biological act of sex can bring about the fullness of the unitive meaning.

But when you point out that the biology isn't actually unitive in the case of contraceptives or that, physically speaking, the act of marriage is just as unitive as fornication or rape, they suddenly change their minds. Logically, they are forced to insist that the contraceptives don't interfere with the unitive meaning in marriage, while the unity of the bodies in the acts of rape and fornication aren't really unitive.

So sex is necessarily unitive except when it isn't.

You have to be a special kind of stupid to believe that.
Or a Ph.D.
But I repeat myself.

Eugenics: Killing The Children of Rapists

Simply pointing to the fact of the "two-backed beast", as the unwashed describe the sexual act, is considered to be "biologism", rank ignorance, willful overlooking of the spiritual dimension. How dare anyone think that physical reality should have anything to do with theology?

Thus, for them, contraceptives are permitted in rape because rape is not a unitive act, therefore not a sexual act, therefore using contraceptives before/during/after rape isn't a contraceptive act because the victim doesn't intend unity.

God forbid any of these ignorant "biologists" point out that human life is a gift from God, that the soul is immediately created and infused by God, that the rapist's sperm can do nothing to accomplish procreation unless God intervenes.

God forbid that rape be recognized as an inherently sexual act that really can bring about the procreation of a new human being.

All of you out there conceived in rape, shut the hell up.
Your opinions are inconvenient to our theology.
We must twist God to make Him fit our narrow theological categories, and you must have pity on us for He is the worst "biologist" of them all!

What Does the Church Teach?

So, let's repeat the constant teaching of the Church again, in sequence, to make sure we have it right.

1) The procreation of human life is ALWAYS a gift from God. ALWAYS.

is the one who immediately creates and infuses the human soul which makes conception possible. That human soul is a gift to the world. S/he is ALWAYS a good.

2) Any deliberate act taken to frustrate the procreative possibility inherent in heterosexual sexuality is an intrinsically evil act.

That means that it does not matter what your intention is.

Using any kind of physical barrier (condom, IUD, etc.) or chemical barrier (hormonal drug, pill, patch, shot, implant, etc.) to frustrate the procreative power of sex is an act taken against God's procreative power and is proscribed.

You can fight all you want and in any way you want to stop him ejaculating in you, but once he's done that, it's done.

If God wants a conception, then He will immediately create and infuse a human soul into the union of egg and sperm and that will be a conceptus, a new human being, a child.

If He doesn't, He won't. If He doesn't infuse that human soul, there will be no conception, the egg-sperm union will fail, decay and disappear. There will be no conceptus, no embryo. There will be no new human being, no child.

A rapist who uses a condom in a heterosexual rape increases his sin.
A prostitute who uses a condom in a heterosexual encounter increases his/her sin.

3) Pregnancy is never an evil, nor is it bad, nor is it a bad consequence.

If the Pope opined differently on any of these points in his irrelevant capacity as private theologian, then poor Benedict holds an erroneous private theological opinion. He isn't the first Pope to suffer this malady and he won't be the last. It doesn't matter because, if he does indeed hold any of these errors, he can't teach his private error to the universal Church in an official capacity as that would violate the Magisterium, which is not capable of being violated.

Even if an angel from heaven (or a Janet Smith or a Pope) comes preaching a different Gospel, s/he is wrong.


Estase said...

This kind of reasoning leads to the position that abortion is conditionally good. After all, if you can contracept for "a good cause", why not abort to save the life of the mother? Didn't a nun just get excommunicated for authorizing a deliberate abortion in such a circumstance in a Catholic hospital?

Steve Kellmeyer said...


And the hospital has just had the "Catholic" title stripped away.

So, that line of reasoning worked out well for them, I guess.