Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

5/25/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

One consequence implied but not expressly mentioned by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae vitae was the logical link between the acceptance of contraception and homosexual sex.  In her essay on the subject entitled "Contraception and Chastity," however, the Catholic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe saw it clearly:  "If contraceptive intercourse is permissible," she wrote in the early 1970s, "it becomes perfectly impossible to see anything wrong with homosexual intercourse."

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/25/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: contraception, Humanae vitae, homosexuality, human sexuality, Pope Paul VI, Elizabeth Anscombe, Andrew M. Greenwell


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Ideas have consequences, as the title of Richard Weaver's famous book points out, especially if the ideas become acculturated and internalized and so part of the conventions of a social body. 

One such idea is the idea that artificial contraception, which is to say the intentional severance by technical means of the sexual act and procreation (which are naturally united in an unhampered normal sexual act) is a good.  This necessarily means that sex artificially unmoored from its procreative aspect is a good, and this further necessarily implies that any sex, including sex naturally unprocreative such as homosexual sex, is good.

The Church, of course, teaches that artificial contraception is never, under any circumstances, a good.  Intentional and knowing use of artificial contraception is, in each and every case, an intrinsic evil.  The general reason behind this is that it is wrong, against the natural moral law and the nature of the sexual act, intentionally to sever the procreative aspect of human sexuality from the unitive aspect of human sexuality.  (See generally The Catechsim of the Catholic Church # 2366- 70 and Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) No. 12, 14)
 
But that idea has been rejected by Western societies--frequently by supposed Catholics themselves--and the Church appears to be the lone voice crying out in the wilderness.  But as John T. Noonan wrote in his book on the history of contraception, the "idea that offspring were to be avoided," and sex nevertheless justified as good, was an idea that was to have morally and socially "dangerous" consequences.

Once the idea that artificial contraception was a good had become acculturated, we found ourselves in a "contraceptive culture."  What naturally follows is that all cultural structures--the media, schools, advertisers, social services--promote that culture so that it becomes internalized, habitual, a second nature to the individual in that culture.

Once the contraceptive culture has also become internalized by the people, they form what has been referred to as a -contraceptive mentality.  When that occurs, not only has culture as a whole adapted to see contraception as a good, making it a social convention, but it has become internalized, habitual, on a one-by-one basis and we have trouble even seeing outside the conventions of the day. 

The natural law can thus be silenced, as it was in slave-holding societies where the population had developed a slave owning mentality, or in Nazi Germany, where there was an anti-Semitic mentality, or, in the example that St. Thomas Aquinas gives, among the Germanic tribes where thievery was considered morally acceptable.  (S.T. IaIIae, q. 94, art. 4, c.)

This contraceptive mentality views as normal the separation of sexual intercourse from procreation.  It never even enters the head of someone with a contraceptive mentality that there is something despicable in severing the unitive aspect of sexual intercourse from its procreative aspect by artificial means. 

Not only does someone with a contraceptive mentality not see or even intimate the evil, he or she may perversely see himself or herself as exercising responsible parenthood or responsible sexuality by using artificial contraception.  The ability to access authentic conscience is dulled, and--without grace--ordinarily unreachable.  Reason alone has a hard time breaking through a contraceptive mentality because reason's quiet voice is both drowned out by the load noise of lust and muffled by the walls of social convention.

The last step in this progression is when the idea that has become acculturated and internalized becomes a legal right.  Then the full public force of law is behind the idea, forcing it on one-and-all.  We have reached such a nadir in this country, where we view contraception as a right, one even to be funded by the common treasury, one even imposed upon religious consciences that hold to the natural moral law and traditional religious teaching which considers it an intrinsic evil.  Such a society has become habituated to evil.  It is a vicious society.
   
It was, and is, na´ve to think that a contraceptive culture and contraceptive mentality do not have social consequences.  These were quite foreseeable.  It did not take a prophet, merely a logician, to see that inviting artificial contraception into the stream of moral normality would result in serious moral dislocations regarding sexuality.  Once marital sex may be severed from procreation and considered good, it logically follows that any sex between anyone is considered a good.

In his encyclical Humane vitae, Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the Church's traditional teaching that the intentional use of artificial contraception was intrinsically evil.  But he also asked the world to reflect on what would be the consequences of accepting artificial methods of birth control: "marital infidelity," "general lowering of moral standards," loss of "reverence due to a woman," and an increase of governmental power "to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife" are among those consequences he identified.

One consequence implied but not expressly mentioned by Pope Paul VI was the logical link between the acceptance of contraception and homosexual sex.  In her essay on the subject entitled "Contraception and Chastity," however, the Catholic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe saw it clearly: 

"If contraceptive intercourse is permissible," she wrote in the early 1970s, "then what objection could there be after all to mutual masturbation, or copulation in vase indebito, sodomy, buggery . . .  when normal copulation is impossible or inadvisable (or in any case, according to taste)?" 

And if such sexual conduct is acceptable to couples, she observed, then it follows that homosexual sex must be acceptable.  "[I]f such things are all right, it becomes perfectly impossible to see anything wrong with homosexual intercourse."

It does not happen all it once.  There is a sort of social inertia that slows the logic down, but in a few generations the logic plays itself out.  "I am not saying: if you think contraception all right you will do these other things; not at all.  The habit of respectability persists and old prejudices die hard."

But it remains true that once the premise is accepted--that sexual intercourse and procreation are separate things, not intertwined, and can therefore be separated by technical means with moral impunity--Anscombe recognizes that one will "have no solid reason" to argue against homosexual sex.   "You will have no answer to someone who proclaims as many do that "homosexual sexual acts "are good too."

The Christian teaching regarding human sexuality is well-reasoned and well-integrated.  You cannot throw one part out as inconvenient or not to your liking without ruining the entire structure. 
For this reason, once artificial contraception was admitted as a good and rejected as a moral evil, all Christian sexuality was implicitly rejected.  "Because, if you are defending contraception," Anscombe says, "you will have rejected Christian tradition" on the matter and accepted the morality of the heathen. 

Indeed, the Christian tradition against contraception that Anscombe mentions was deep enough to have escaped the intellectual scalpels of the Protestant reformers who had no scruple in carving out large parts of Christian tradition.  The Catholic Church's traditional teachings were carried over by the Protestant reformers, largely as a result of their traditional interpretation of the incident involving Onan found in the 38th chapter of Genesis. 

For example, in his Commentary on Genesis, John Calvin says that a woman who "drives away the seed out of the womb, through aids," is "rightly seen as an unforgivable crime."  Similarly, Luther in his Lectures on Genesis called contraception "unchastity," equivalent to sodomy, "more atrocious than incest and adultery."  In his Notes on the Bible, Wesley called contraception one of those sins that "dishonor the body," are "vile actions," and "very displeasing to God."

The fact is a contraceptive people, a contraceptive culture, and persons with a contraceptive mentality have rejected Christian moral tradition.  A contraceptive people, a contraceptive culture, and persons with a contraceptive mentality have "no solid reason," to argue against the proponents of homosexual sex and same-sex "marriage."  They have "no answer" to a same-sex couples who want their sex--a sex which is similarly infertile as the couple who uses contraception--to be considered a good.  

This inability by persons with a contraceptive mentality that are part of a contraceptive culture to craft an answer or give a solid reason to homosexuals who insist on their sex as good and their unions as good explains the collapse of opposition to homosexual sex in general and same-sex "marriage."

The chickens of the contraceptive mentality have come home to roost. 

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Marriage & Family

Oldest women in the world expecting quadruplets sparks IVF debate Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

65-year old Annegret Raunighk, the oldest woman in the world expecting quadruplets, is being frowned upon by many and has sparked debates all over Germany for her in Vitro fertilization pregnancy, considered by politicians and medical experts as "irresponsible and ... continue reading


Parents credit God for successful all-girl quintuplets birth Watch

Image of The Busby family welcomes healthy all-girl quintuplets.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Last week, the United States first ever all-girl quintuplets were born to Danielle and Adam Busby. The babies were all born successfully without complications and were described as healthy, according to The Blaze. However, the Busby couple were allegedly advised to ... continue reading


Abuse victims cry out over horrific experience at St. Joseph orphanage in Australia Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse in Rockhampton is currently investigating child abuse accusations thrown at the people who have ran Neerkol St. Joseph's Orphanage. The victims of abuse at the questioned orphanage have revealed last ... continue reading


Pastor's wife arrested after allegedly trying to 'raise' 2-year-old 'possessed' child from death after a 25-day fast Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After reportedly holding a failed "rising ceremony" with other church members, Aracely Meza, a pastor's wife, is now in jail. The Iglesia Jesus El Rey member was charged with injury to a child by omission, according to The Blaze. The 2-year-old child, identified as ... continue reading


'Airwrecker,' 'Vejonica,' 'Mazen': Extremely bizarre baby names that actually exist Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In just about 24 hours, a Reddit thread was able to garner more than 18,000 comments, asking its users to submit the weirdest and most horrendous names they had ever known. Without much clarity as to why some parents choose them, there are testimonies posted in the ... continue reading


6 of the most important factors to consider before settling down Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Marriage is a wonderful thing that binds two people together, for better or for worse. Before taking your relationship to the next level, thanks to Crosswalk.com, here are a few factors you should think about and consider before getting married. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES ... continue reading


Viral advertisement on homeless awareness wows viewers with two-sided story Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There's always a second side to every story. Depaul International, a homeless charity, invites people to take a step back and see the other side of the story, as their advertisement creased on a wall corner presents two sides on how people see and should see ... continue reading


Separated after childbirth, told that baby died: Mother and daughter reunited after 49 years Watch

Image of After 49 years, mother and daughter meet again.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A mother was told that her twin babies had died at childbirth, only to meet one of them alive 49 years later. As it turns out, her daughter was alive and got mysteriously adopted. The family will begin an investigation regarding the false information given by the Homer ... continue reading


7 dangerous apps your kid is already using Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Although it is not advisable for young children to have access to the Internet, there are some instances parents give their children smartphones, readily equipped with the Internet. There are applications available that have features that put can put your child in ... continue reading


Former FLDS cult member horrifically mobbed by hundreds of sect followers while picking up children after gaining full custody Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After finally gaining full custody of her children last week, former Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS) cult member was harassed by the sect's followers and prevented from picking her children up. After a seven-hour standoff the police finally intervened. ... continue reading


All Marriage & Family News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
13 It is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
2 Children of men, how long will you be heavy of ... Read More

Reading 2, First John 2:1-5
1 My children, I am writing this to prevent you from ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 19th, 2015 Image

St. Alphege
April 19: Archbishop and "the First Martyr of Canterbury." He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter