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Offline Pax Vobis

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Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
« Reply #45 on: October 18, 2018, 02:08:52 PM »
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    So are you still arguing that periodic continence is contraception, or are you arguing that it's sinful for a different reason?
    NFP is called "catholic contraception" for a reason, because the INTENT of NFP is the same as contraception - to avoid children.  This is why NFP is wrong - the intent is to subvert the purpose of relations.

    Secondly, it is false to call NFP 'periodic continence'; this term means the same thing as "abstinence" and refers to a voluntary celibacy of the couple.  It would be better to call NFP "STRATEGIC continence" for the couple using it is PURPOSEFULLY trying to avoid children by using science to avoid God's command to bear children.

    Offline Mithrandylan

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #46 on: October 18, 2018, 02:20:37 PM »
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  • NFP is called "catholic contraception" for a reason, because the INTENT of NFP is the same as contraception - to avoid children.  This is why NFP is wrong - the intent is to subvert the purpose of relations.

    Secondly, it is false to call NFP 'periodic continence'; this term means the same thing as "abstinence" and refers to a voluntary celibacy of the couple.  It would be better to call NFP "STRATEGIC continence" for the couple using it is PURPOSEFULLY trying to avoid children by using science to avoid God's command to bear children.
    .
    As to the nomenclature, you'll have to take it up with literally all of pre-conciliar Catholic theology.  I didn't make up the term.  The Novus Ordo made up the term "NFP" just like they make up a lot of terms, no doubt because they realize that what they're teaching-- or at least how they're teaching it-- is something different.
    .
    Yes, periodic continence is used to avoid having children.  You must have missed the part where it can be lawful to not have children.  Even when you're married.  Check the last two pages, we just covered all of that.  Positive versus negative precepts.  There are conditions under which the precept to procreate can be suspended, just as there are conditions under which the precept to go to mass can be suspended.
    .
    And I don't understand why you only quoted that one question of mine, since you didn't actually answer it (you're of course free to, even though it was addressed to Ladislaus).
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    Offline Pax Vobis

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #47 on: October 18, 2018, 02:50:28 PM »
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  • Mith, I'm not arguing with you.  And yes, I did answer the question.  Periodic contraception is not wrong because we're arguing it's contraception; it's wrong because the intent is to SYSTEMATICALLY and STRATEGICALLY have relations while avoiding children.  Unless one has permission from their priest for some grave reason, then it's wrong.  NFP, as it's practiced today by most couples, is 'catholic contraception'.

    Offline Mithrandylan

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #48 on: October 18, 2018, 02:56:14 PM »
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  • Mith, I'm not arguing with you.  And yes, I did answer the question.  Periodic [continence] is not wrong because we're arguing it's contraception; it's wrong because the intent is to SYSTEMATICALLY and STRATEGICALLY have relations while avoiding children.  Unless one has permission from their priest for some grave reason, then it's wrong.  NFP, as it's practiced today by most couples, is 'catholic contraception'.
    .
    Alright, yes, I certainly agree that periodic continence is unlawful without a sufficient (i.e. grave) reason.  And that "NFP" is aptly and colloquially dubbed "Catholic contraception."  Sorry, thanks for the clarification.
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    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #49 on: October 18, 2018, 03:01:52 PM »
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  • Positive versus negative precepts.  There are conditions under which the precept to procreate can be suspended, just as there are conditions under which the precept to go to mass can be suspended.
    .
    And I don't understand why you only quoted that one question of mine, since you didn't actually answer it (you're of course free to, even though it was addressed to Ladislaus).

    Of course there's not an absolute precept to have children.  One could in fact abstain from marital relations by mutual consent for various just reasons ... e.g. for spiritual reasons, penance, etc.  Under those conditions, one would not be procreating.  But that's a separate issue.

    What we're talking about is engaging in marital relations for the secondary ends of marriage (to be generous, because it's most often just for pleasure) while deliberately attempting to preclude the primary end.  That is the disorder condemned by Pius XI.

    Pius XI laid down two conditions, 1) that the inherent potential of the act itself cannot be deliberately frustrated (i.e. ruling out contraceptives of any kind) and 2) that the primary end can never be subordinated to the secondary ends (ruling out modern NFP at least).

    Pius XII in his Allocution cited #1 but omitted #2.  He was clearly not teaching anything authoritatively, and certainly not to the Universal Church ... as his language was filled with references to these "theories", and so it's obvious he's merely speculating.  Beside that, as has been pointed out, rhythm back then was a 50-50 proposition at best, so it simply made conception LESS likely, whereas modern NFP is touted to be as effective as artificial birth control.


    Offline Mithrandylan

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #50 on: October 18, 2018, 03:07:06 PM »
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    Pius XI laid down two conditions, 1) that the inherent potential of the act itself cannot be deliberately frustrated (i.e. ruling out contraceptives of any kind) and 2) that the primary end can never be subordinated to the secondary ends (ruling out modern NFP at least).

    .
    I addressed this in my previous reply to you (reply no. 32) https://www.cathinfo.com/general-discussion/questions-on-sex-and-specifically-the-role-of-procreation/msg630779/#msg630779
    .
    Those are my reasons for not regarding the distinction as valid or based in Pius XI's teaching.  What is your rebuttal to my reasons?
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    Offline Pax Vobis

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #51 on: October 18, 2018, 03:25:40 PM »
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  • Mith, if a couple practices NFP "naturally" are you arguing that Pius XI said that the ends are ordered, so there is no intrinsic sin?  Based on your comments in reply 32, it seems you are.  And I would agree.

    However, if a couple is practicing NFP to avoid children, without grave reason, then EXTRINSICALLY, they are sinning.  Doesn't matter if their intrinsic relations are moral; their external motives are immoral.

    Eating meat is not an immoral act.  If I eat meat on Good Friday, without a grave reason, I sin due to the motive of laziness or of ignoring the Church's laws.  Circumstances/motives can change a moral/neutral act into an immoral one.

    Offline Mithrandylan

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #52 on: October 18, 2018, 03:37:12 PM »
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  • Mith, if a couple practices NFP "naturally" are you arguing that Pius XI said that the ends are ordered, so there is no intrinsic sin?  Based on your comments in reply 32, it seems you are.  And I would agree.
    .
    You've got it in a nutshell.  What Pope Pius actually says-- if you compare the Latin to the traditional English translation found in pre-conciliar Denzinger and used by the theologians-- is that if the act is performed naturally, then the ends are duly ordered.  The two go hand in hand with the one following from the other, they're not two separate conditions like Ladislaus is contending (but in his defense, I think he's basing his reading off of a translation which could be read that way, he didn't make it up out of whole cloth).
    .

    Quote
    However, if a couple is practicing NFP to avoid children, without grave reason, then EXTRINSICALLY, they are sinning.  Doesn't matter if their intrinsic relations are moral; their external motives are immoral.
    .
    If they lack a sufficient reason to use it, then they sin, just like if you lack a sufficient reason to miss mass, you sin (this is the common thread in all positive precepts: when you're commanded to do something, you sin in not doing it unless you have a sufficient reason not to).  
    .
    The whole reason I was talking about intrinsic/extrinsic was to help illustrate that whatever periodic continence is, it isn't forbidden by Pius XI's Casti Conubii, since Casti Conubii only concerns itself with what is intrinsic to the act (i.e., onanism and contraception proper).  This is a point which is less relevant at this stage of the conversation (at least between you and I, since we seem to agree on it) but which was relevant earlier when at least to me it sounded as though some people were arguing that periodic continence is condemned in Casti Conubii.  It isn't.  Which doesn't (by itself) prove that its lawful, but disarms the most common argument that it's unlawful, for sure.
    .
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    Offline Pax Vobis

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #53 on: October 18, 2018, 03:52:06 PM »
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  • To sum up, we can say that NFP/periodic continence is not against the natural law.

    But, the purpose/intent of NFP/periodic continence is what determines its morality.  Without grave reason, its use is just as immoral as contraception (i.e. both are mortal sins).

    Offline Mithrandylan

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #54 on: October 18, 2018, 04:01:25 PM »
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  • To sum up, we can say that NFP/periodic continence is not against the natural law.

    But, the purpose/intent of NFP/periodic continence is what determines its morality.  Without grave reason, its use is just as immoral as contraception (i.e. both are mortal sins).
    .
    Yup.  I'm not sure that it would always be a mortal sin to abuse it (not that that makes it advisable-- we must avoid all sin in any event, I'm just not personally sure if it would always be a mortal sin).  It easily could be and probably would usually be, just looking at face value.
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    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #55 on: October 18, 2018, 05:28:24 PM »
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  • Now, of course the primary ends must be subordinated to the secondary ends-- we agree on this.  My point is that Casti Conubii regards this subordination as manifest when the act occurs naturally.  There is no distinction to be had between the intrinsic preservation of the act and the ordering of ends.  They are one and the same.  If the ends are properly ordered, it means the act is preserved, and if the act is preserved, it means the ends are ordered.

    I think you are skipping over the crucial distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic.  Casti Conubii, when it teaches on marital relations, concerns itself very squarely with what is intrinsic to the act.  Motives, intentions, and so forth are all extrinsic.  Even if one is motivated insufficiently (for lawful use of periodic continence), the sin committed is not one against nature.

    With all due respect, this is complete nonsense.

    First, I suspect it was just a typo when you wrote that "of course the primary ends must be subordinated to the secondary ends".  Presumably you mean the other way around.

    [Mith:] "Motives, intentions, and so forth are all extrinsic.  Even if one is motivated insufficiently ..., the sin committed is not one against nature."

    So what if the sin committed isn't against nature?  Of course, to a degree, any subordination of the primary end is "against nature" to some extent, since the naturally-intended end of the act is procreation.  But, the term contra naturam isn't applied strictly this way.  So what?  Unmarried couples who fornicate also do not sin against nature (in this sense), but they sin mortally nonetheless.

    Certainly the relations that takes place in the context of NFP are not against nature.

    But I've already addressed this.  We're human beings, not animals, and our intentions clearly inform the morality of our actions.  Morality is primarily in the intellect and will.  Our Lord taught precisely this when He said that the man who lusts after a woman commits adultery in his heart.  If I pocket a $100 bill that belongs to someone else, thinking mistakenly that it's mine, I commit no sin ... even though objectively (intrinsically speaking) I have committed theft.  Conversely, if I pocket a $100 bill that in fact belongs to me, thinking mistakenly that it belongs to someone else, I commit a grave sin.  Motives have everything to do with the morality of our actions.

    Here are the ends that a couple might intend or seek or pursue in marital relations:

    I) Procreation
    II) Secondary Ends (mutal affection, allaying of concupiscence, etc.)
    III) Carnal Pleasure

    There are many venial-sin degrees of subordination, where people might be "insufficiently motivated" to use your term.

    It's a rare thing for a couple to have perfect motivation which would be:  "We are doing this primarily to have children, but in doing this together it also happens that we grow closer to each other, and the pleasure is part of that closeness and the act of procreation itself."  That doesn't happen too often, only in the case of the great saints, such as Sts. Joachim and Ann in conceiving Our Lady.

    Most couples are primarily thinking of end II or even end III.  Depending on the degree of disorder, we're talking about imperfection or varying degrees of venial sin.  But there's a whole continuum of imperfection and even sin here.

    But even when a couple are entirely focused on III and give I and II no thought whatsoever, perhaps considering II a consequence of III, there isn't grave sin there.

    Why?  Because there's still the principled virtual intention present in the intellect and will by virtue of the fact that the couple know they're married and lawfully engaging in marital relations, the primary end of which is to conceive children.  Similarly, a priest can be said to have a virtual intention when consecrating during Mass.  He doesn't have to explicitly think the proposition:  "I hereby intend to consecrate this  bread."  He has virtual intention because he knows in his intellect that he's offering Mass, during which transubstantiation happens as a result of his saying the words of consecration.  Same kind of thing happens with a married couple in the heat of passion when they're not giving the primary end a second thought.  Now, a husband could even, for example, think, "boy, I really hope she doesn't get pregnant, because that would be hard for us financially right now" -- and not commit a mortal sin.  This would be a graver degree of venial sin, but in his intellect he still acknowledges ... and does not actively prevent ... the primary end, even if emotionally he doesn't want it.  Similarly, I could get up on Sunday morning really tired and say, "I really don't feel like going to Mass." ... but then you go anyway because in your intellect and will you intend to meet your obligation, even if you don't particularly like doing it that day.  In fact, there could be greater merit in that than if you go because you are just loving the experience.  BECAUSE human actions are informed of their morality in terms of the intellect and will, rather than the emotions.

    Even if an infertile couple have relations or a fertile couple have relations in an infertile time, they still intellectually acknowledge and accept in principle that the primary end of the activity is procreation ... even if that end is not possible to ACHIEVE or to actualize for them.  You could have a couple intending procreation but not have it work out for them at any given time.  They still INTENDED the end, at least in principle, even if they could not attain it in actu.

    None of these types of examples you cited has any bearing on the morality of NFP.  With NFP, unlike all these scenarios, where the motivation or intention is either imperfect, present only virtually, or partially disordered (to the extent of venial sin), the couple actively rejects and seeks/intends to thwart the primary end.  This is a completely different animal than these other situations.  You're rejecting it in your intellect and will and actively attempting to exclude it.  That entails a mortally sinful rejection of the primary end.  You are seeking the secondary ends (or usually just mere carnal pleasure) TO THE POSITIVE EXCLUSION of the primary.  That's mortal sin.  It's one thing for the primary intention to be lacking (to a degree) negatively, as long as it's present virtually (in the intellect and will), but quite another thing when a couple intends to exclude it completely.

    And that's where we address the 1880 Holy Office ruling.  Recall that rhythm in the day meant a lower likelihood of conception and not a complete elimination of the possibility.  Consequently, it's a venial-sin degree of insubordination that the Holy Office stated could be tolerated (very carefully, under strict circumstances, so as never to give the impression of allowing a lesser evil in the prevention of a greater) ... a matter to be handled very delicately by Confessors in the case of someone who might otherwise practice Onanism.  If it were not sinful to a degree, there would be no need for the advice of caution and delicacy in allowing the practice.  But lessening the likelihood of conception entails a PARTIAL rather than COMPLETE (therefore a venially-sinful vs. mortally-sinful) subordination of the primary end.  With NFP we're talking about its elimination.



    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #56 on: October 18, 2018, 05:36:39 PM »
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  • To sum up, we can say that NFP/periodic continence is not against the natural law.

    But, the purpose/intent of NFP/periodic continence is what determines its morality.  Without grave reason, its use is just as immoral as contraception (i.e. both are mortal sins).

    I'll get back to this another time, but I do not even accept a "grave reason" exception to the rule, for that would be an end justifies the means ... another reason I don't buy the reasoning of Pius XII.  There has to be a demonstration of how in a grave circumstance the principle no longer holds.  One cannot set aside the principle in an exception.  Why?  Because it's harder to uphold then?  That's like saying you can't commit a mortal sin but it's OK if you're doing it to save your job or save your life ... end justifies the means.  You have to explain how those circumstances affect the actual nature of the activity so that it has somehow taken on a different moral aspect.  I don't see it with the NFP "grave reason" exception.

    Offline Pax Vobis

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #57 on: October 18, 2018, 05:58:01 PM »
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  • I agree with you.  I was just using the “common understanding” of what Pius XII said.  I think that these “grave reasons” were a type of “sentimental theology” watering-down of the natural law, just like “invincible ignorance” is a watering-down of EENS for emotional reasons.  

    Offline Mithrandylan

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #58 on: October 22, 2018, 04:57:02 PM »
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  • With all due respect, this is complete nonsense.

    --snipped--
    .
    I think that's dramatically overstating the point.  I provided quite a bit of evidence to support my view. It might be wrong but it's hardly nonsense, nevermind of the "complete" variety. 
    .
    On the whole issue of subordinating ends, you've not addressed my central assertion which is that the subordination is manifest when the act occurs naturally.  The subordination which Pius XI insists upon is a subordination of intrinsic ends, while the entirety of your argument is about the subordination of extrinsic ends.  So while you're "using the language" you're using it in a way that none of the theological material does.  I don't think you should even use the word subordinate to describe what you're arguing, given it etymologically suggests a proper ordering, while what you're talking about is probably better described as "mental prioritization."  At any rate, I'd like to see you support your view rather than just assert it.  That would make for a more commensurate exchange.
    .
    I do agree-- just to assure you-- that in principle, motives can be more or less noble and that they can even be sinful. 
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    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: Questions on sex and specifically the role of procreation
    « Reply #59 on: October 22, 2018, 05:36:53 PM »
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  • On the whole issue of subordinating ends, you've not addressed my central assertion which is that the subordination is manifest when the act occurs naturally.  The subordination which Pius XI insists upon is a subordination of intrinsic ends, while the entirety of your argument is about the subordination of extrinsic ends.

    There's only ONE intrinsic end of the physical activity, not multiple ends.  That's why I said this was nonsense.  There's no other intrinsic end for this to be subordinated to.  Clearly he's speaking about the extrinsic ends (the formal motive).  When he listed the secondary ends, they were all extrinsic ends.  So the discussion of subordination clearly involves the extrinsic ends.

    That's why there are TWO principles ...

    1) the inherent potential of the action (i.e. the intrinsic end) ... the material act
    2) the subordination of ends (secondary to the primary extrinsic) ... the formal motives

    Primary formal motive lines up wit the intrinsic end of procreation.  Secondary formal motives are only extrinsic.

    Just because someone will to allow the act to have its natural completion does not mean that he does not will to frustrate the PURPOSE behind this natural completion, the formal motive, which is procreation.  Genital organs have no intellect or will, and can therefore neither sin nor be virtuous.  That's all in the intentions.

     

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