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For a Lady Pope

Why do Christians no longer follow the Vatican?

The Church’s interference in a couple’s life is no longer acceptable.

For the majority of loyal believers, the Catholic Church’s teachings on contraception have lost all credibility. The articles written on the subject on this site speak for themselves. It is clear that the Church’s doctrine on contraception is completely ill founded. Many theologians have attested to this fact.

The rift between the Church authorities and the ordinary mortal is ever increasing. Since the publication in 1968 of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, large numbers of the faithful have been leaving the Church on tiptoe.

Within a couple, it is up to the partners themselves to decide how many children they will have. Only they can decide if they’ll use contraception or not. The Church’s hierarchy, made up of bachelors, has no right to enter couples bedrooms and interfere in their private lives.  It is not for the Church to act as a chaperone.

Of course the Church can lay down certain guidelines, but it should allow all Christians the freedom to use artificial contraception whenever they want, without any connotations of guilt. It should allow family psychologists to also advise couples in the way they seem fit.

 

The Church’s propositions are unreasonable.

The Church asks couples to use natural means of contraception rather than artificial methods and throughout the centuries it has condemned the use of artificial contraception more violently than it has acts of paedophilia and incest.

The Church states that, in order to avoid pregnancy, one should only use natural contraception. In other words sexual relations should only take place during the woman’s infertile cycle implying that couples should be abstinent at all other times.

This means one has to know about the different phases of the woman’s menstrual cycle. This knowledge can come from either using the menstrual calendar (the so-called Onan method), or from taking temperatures, or from the application of the Billings method, which is based on the observation of the woman’s cervical mucus, telling a woman when she is fertile and abstinence is called for.

These methods are not 100% reliable. 3% to 10% fail.

One natural method that has been used for millions of years is the withdrawal method, otherwise known as coïtus interruptus. The Church continues to reject this method and considers it as artificial as the use of contraceptive pills, diaphragms, etc. Furthermore the Church doesn’t make any distinction between hormones, which prevent ovulation, sterility, which prevents the fertile ovule from attaching itself to the uterus, or condoms, which provide an efficient physical barrier for preventing male and female gametes to meet.

Another natural method that the Church has recommended instead of coïtus interruptus is coitus reservatus, the practice of limited penetration. The man penetrates the woman, moves backwards and forwards a few times and withdraws without releasing any seminal fluid, not even after withdrawal. Looking like a fool never killed anybody.

 

The Church hasn’t taken heed of sensible advice

From 1963 to 1966, God knows how many theologians tried to convince the Vatican to change course. The German theologian, Bernhard Häring, said that, “to state that sexual relations were only to take place for means of procreation, that is the union of the sperm and the egg, is illogical and, for much of the time, simply isn’t feasible.” He stated that what was really important was, “not whether a couple uses one or other means, but how the spouses come to the decision to responsibly transmit life.Häring also disagreed with the Church’s claim that couples who used contraceptive, even once, were mortal sinners, whilst those who selfishly used the natural method to prevent pregnancy or reduce the number of offspring, were not mortal sinners.

Many believers simply can’t accept the logic of differentiating between couples who use the so-called natural method to avoid having children and those who use artificial contraception for the same purpose.

What difference is there if the seminal liquid spreads over the ovule during a woman’s infertile period when the ovule cannot be fertilised and if it is released outside of the woman, thus also preventing the ovule from being fertilised?

If the first case isn’t a mortal sin, why is the second? (the cyclical, Casti Connubii, even goes as far as to call it a crime). In both cases the intention is the same and the acts practically identical. The Church is encouraging the formalism of the scribes and Pharisees.

We know from a moral standpoint that it is the intention that counts. Didn’t Jesus say, “You’ve learnt what is said; it is a sin to commit adultery. But I am telling you that he who looks at a woman with the idea of seducing her is already committing adultery in his heart.” (Matthew 5,27-28).

If we carry this idea over to the use of contraception, we can say that he who makes love to his wife during the periods when she is infertile is acting in exactly the same way as he who uses artificial contraception.

The Church should concentrate instead on encouraging men to use a certain restraint in their sexual behaviour, to respect women, to contain themselves, to control their impulses, to know where the limits are and to leave their adolescent urges behind. Unfortunately this type of speech, which condemns hedonism and the attitude of “everything, and everything now” is one hardly ever heard these days.

The same goes for women who should learn not to provoke men, who should refuse to be seen as objects and who should be intransient when it comes to respect for who they are, physically as well as mentally.

A speech of this type would be widely accepted, but the Church needs to be coherent and not put women down, relegating them to second place. The Church needs to set the example and allow women to share ecclesiastical power so that their voices can also heard. The pyramid of power and monarchy cannot continue as it is.

 

The children of God can no longer be treated as uneducated idiots

The Church’s stubbornness is suicidal. The crisis raised by Humanæ vitæ shows that the Church’s magistral authority doesn’t listen to its believers and, in particular, to those laymen who were hand-picked to be part of the pontifical committee in charge of submitting the report about contraception to the Pope.

Why so stubborn? Part of the reply lies in the dread that Popes have of contradicting previous Popes.  To correct what was said in 1930 by Pope Pius XI, who stated that the use of artificial contraception was a crime, would mean declaring that he hadn’t been inspired by the Holy Spirit. It would mean admitting that the Holy Spirit is not always coherent.

The Popes certainly haven’t formally declared their infallibility on the problem of contraception but they have made their authority on all things moral very clear and we haven’t heard many bishops or cardinals shouting out that the Church has made a mistake. They would be sanctioned if they did so.

However these day,s believers are both educated and informed. They can no longer be treated as primitive ignoramuses.

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