Eastern Othodoxy and Contraception

August 6, 2009

Eastern Othodoxy and Contraception
Contemporary VS. Traditional Views
By Taras Baytsar

Teaching on contraception among Orthodox Churches

The voices of the various Orthodox churches have been muted in addressing the issue of contraception and “family planning.” Even when church leaders have spoken, their communication is often inconsistent with early Church traditions and teachings, or contradictory from one period to the next or among Orthodox theologians. While the desire to avoid controversy is understandable, controversy can not be avoided at the cost of error or indifference.

By way of example, consider the statements made by distinguished theologians of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople — the oldest and most respected of the Orthodox churches. In his monumental book, The Orthodox Church, Bishop Kallistos Ware, probably one of the Church’s most famous contemporary authors, wrote:

“Concerning contraceptives and other forms of birth control, differing opinions exist within the Orthodox Church. In the past birth control was in general strongly condemned, but today a less strict view is coming to prevail, not only in the west but in traditional Orthodox countries. Many Orthodox theologians and spiritual fathers consider that the responsible use of contraception within marriage is not in itself sinful. In their view, the question of how many children a couple should have, and at what intervals, is best decided by the partners themselves, according to the guidance of their own consciences.” 1

However, in an earlier (1963) edition of this book, Bishop Ware clearly and unambiguously states:

“Artificial methods of birth control are forbidden in the Orthodox Church.” 2

In support of Bishop Ware’s 1963 expression of the position of the “Orthodox Church” comes no less a personage than the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople. In 1968 the Roman Pope Paul VI wrote the encyclical letter Humanae Vitae in which he reaffirmed the Latin Church’s rejection of contraception. After reviewing the encyclical, the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras wrote to the Pope to assure him of the Orthodox Church’s “total agreement” with the encyclical’s contents:

“We assure you that we remain close to you, above all in these recent days when you have taken the good step of publishing the encyclical Humanae Vitae. We are in total agreement with you, and wish you all God’s help to continue your mission in the world.” 3

Similar inconsistencies and ambiguities can be found within the Russian Orthodox Church. Father Alexander Men, one of Russia’s best known and widely read theologians, addressed the morality of contraception in this way:

“This is not my own opinion. I have consulted with our bishops and they are of the opinion that a person has a right to practice birth control. Otherwise, they may bring more children into the world than they can support, in which case they will become animals rather than human beings.” 4

A modified version of this view was also endorsed in August, 2000 at the Jubilee Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, to whit:

“Among the problems which need a religious and moral assessment is that of contraception. Some contraceptives have an abortive effect, interrupting artificially the life of the embryo on the very first stages of his life. Therefore, the same judgments are applicable to the use of them as to abortion. But other means, which do not involve interrupting an already conceived life, cannot be equated with abortion in the least.” 5

Thus, while it is clear that the Russian Orthodox Church allows contraception, it bans the use of those which are abortifacient, and which may have a primary or secondary effect of
destroying life.

Back to Basics

Although the positions stated above are only a few of the many that have been taken over the years by Orthodox Churches and theologians on the issue of contraception, it suffices to illustrate the basic point that much work remains to be done in accepting God’s truth. It is obvious that — of two contradictory views — only one can be true. And that one can be found only with reference to the Bible, early Church teachings and the Church Fathers.

From the earliest days of the Church, the Holy Scriptures have been the bedrock of Orthodox Christian dogma and tradition. And the supreme authorities for interpreting the Scriptures have always been with the divinely inspired Fathers of the Church. The revealed truth given to them by the Holy Spirit can not replaced or over-ruled, and their authority as supreme Doctores et magistri of the Church cannot be discarded without risk of heresy. This was clear from the very beginning of the Church:

“…The very Tradition, teaching and faith of the catholic Church from the very beginning, given by the Lord, was preached by the Apostles and preserved by the Fathers.” 6

The true meaning of “Tradition” lies in the keeping and defense of revealed truth… truth that can not be changed, because “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Those who hear His call to live according to His Truth need only look for it in the Holy Tradition of the Church.

The Bible

The central Biblical theme is the covenant between God and His people — a covenant based on God’s love for His people, which is compared (by the Prophet Hosea) to that of a husband and wife. In Ephesians 5, St. Paul restated this concept by comparing God’s covenant with His church to that of the bond of matrimony.

The fruits of that marriage that is, the giving of birth to God’s children, is also a principal source of a woman’s salvation. According to St. Paul, if she “continues in faith and love and holiness with modesty” (I Timothy 5, 15), she “will be saved through bearing children” (I Timothy 2, 15). Time and again the Bible emphasizes “fruitfulness” in child-bearing as one of God’s greatest blessings and rewards for righteousness and a clear sign of His approval.

“Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord” (Psalm128, 1-4); Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Ps.127, 3)

Conversely, the Bible condemns those who frustrate or reject God’s blessings by unnatural forms of birth control. In Genesis we read:

“Then Judah said to Onan, ‘Go into yours brother’s wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.’ But Onan knew that offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and He slew him also.” (Gen. 38, 8-10)

Onan had used the contraceptive method called “withdrawal,” and deliberately ejaculated outside the woman. For centuries thereafter Christians used the term “Onanism” to refer to unnatural forms of birth control, and the message of God’s displeasure did not escape them.

While many defenders of contraception would argue that Onan’s sin was not in his fruitless ejaculation but in disobedience to his father and the law of the Levirate, John Kipley, a leading Western moral theologian, sums up the Tradition of biblical interpretation, as follows:

“The interpretation that Onan’s sin was only the violation of the Levirate custom is a recent accommodation for the practice of unnatural forms of birth control. It is not upheld by the text or the context. On the contrary, the Onan account provides a powerful biblical basis for the traditional Christian teaching that unnatural forms of birth control are immoral. This interpretation is reinforced by certain New Testament passages, and it is certainly confirmed by centuries of usage.” 7

Has the Early Church Addressed Contraception

It is customary to ascribe the current confusion, ambiguity, and error on the subject of contraception to an alleged paucity of teachings transmitted by Church Fathers, as illustrated by one of the most authoritative orthodox theologian’s of the 20th century, Paul Evdokimov:

“In the age of Church Fathers, the problem of birth control was never raised. There are no canons that deal with it. The ancient collections of penitential discipline are no longer entirely applicable; moreover they say nothing on the subject… ” 8

This argument, however, does not stand up to close scrutiny of the historical record. Contraception is not a contemporary invention. It has been known for thousands of years and in all areas of the world. We have testimony from the ancient Roman physician, Soranos of Ephesus, who in his 2nd century Gyneciorum Libri provides detailed descriptions of various contraceptive methods. Studying ancient documents on this subject, modern researcher Paul Veyne has concluded that:

“Abortion and contraception were common practices, although historians have distorted the picture somewhat by overlooking the Roman use of the term “abortion” to describe not only surgical practices that we would call abortion but also techniques that we would call contraceptive…All classes of the population certainly made use of contraceptive techniques.” 9

The Fathers of Church would most certainly have been aware of the common birth control practices of their day and among the faithful. As guardians of Christian values and the sanctity of marriage they would have been called upon to address sensitive and important issues involving married life, sexual intimacy, abortion, and the use of contraceptives.

Early Church Recognition of the Evils of Contraception

The historical record shows that even the very earliest Ecumenical Councils and Synods had to deal with the problem of abortion and contraception. The Fathers of those Councils were unequivocal in their condemnation, as illustrated by the following written affirmations:

“Concerning women who commit fornication, and destroy that which they have conceived, or who are employed in making drugs for abortion, a former decree excluded them until the hour of death, and to this some have assented. Nevertheless, being desirous to use somewhat greater lenity, we have ordained that they fulfill ten years [of penance], according to the prescribed degrees.” [Synod in Ancyra can. XXI (A.D. 314.)] 10

“Those who give drugs for procuring abortion, and those who receive poisons to kill the foetus, are subjected to the penalty of murder.” [Council in Trullo can. XCI. (A.D. 692)] 11

“Let her that procures abortion undergo ten years’ penance, whether the embryo were perfectly formed, or not.” [Can. II of St. Basil the Great] 12

In A.D. 191 St. Clement of Alexandria (a Greek theologian of considerable influence on the theological development of the early Church) referred to Onan’s evil act in these words:

“He broke the law of coitus.” 13 He went on to explain that “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted.” 14

Origen — theologian of the early 3rd century Alexandrian Church — considered by many to be the most accomplished biblical scholar of the early church — refuted the teachings of the pagan philosopher Celsus by reference to God’s people in the Old Testament:

“nor were there among them women who sold their beauty to anyone who wished to have sexual intercourse without offspring, and to cast contempt upon the nature of human generation.” 15

In the early Church it was clear that to have sexual intercourse without being open to offspring was to commit an evil act.

In A.D. 307 the Latin philosopher and apologist, Lactantius Firmianus, attested to the Christian belief that abstinence is the only licit means of limiting family size. He spoke of those who

“…complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power… or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife… the genital [generating] part of the body, as the name itself teaches, has been received by us for no other purpose than the generation of offspring..” 16

In A.D. 375, the Greek theologian St. Epiphanius of Salamis (who later became Bishop of Salamis) wrote against those who:

“…exercise genital acts, yet prevent the conceiving of children. Not in order to produce offspring, but to satisfy lust, are they eager for corruption.” 17

St. John Chrysostym and other great Church Fathers

No Christian can challenge the moral and theological authority of the great St. John Chrysostum, the 4th century Patriarch of Constantinople. In a homily he preached in 391 A.D., this illustrious Father of the Church condemned both contraception and abortion:

“Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility [oral contraceptives], where there is murder before birth? You do not even let a harlot remain only a harlot, but you make her a murderess as well… Indeed, it is something worse than murder, and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation. What then? Do you condemn the gift of God and fight with his [natural] laws?… Yet such turpitude… the matter still seems indifferent to many men; even to many men having wives. In this indifference of the married men there is greater evil filth; for then poisons are prepared, not against the womb of a prostitute, but against your injured wife. Against her are these innumerable tricks”. 18

In another homily, St. John Chrysostom went on to say:

“The procreation of children in marriage is the ‘heritage’ and ‘reward’ of the Lord; a blessing of God (cf. Psalm 127:3). It is the natural result of the act of sexual intercourse in marriage, which is a sacred union through which God Himself joins the two together into ‘one flesh’ (Genesis 1-2, Matthew 19, Mark 10, Ephesians 5, et. al.). The procreation of children is not in itself the sole purpose of marriage, but a marriage without the desire for children, and the prayer to God to bear and nurture them, is contrary to the ‘sacrament of love.'” 19

The great 4th century Latin Father St. Ambrose of Milan (who was responsible for the conversion of St. Augustine), wrote against abortion and contraception. John Noonan records, “St. Ambrose spoke of potions used in marriage in the course of his commentary on Genesis, …he exclaimed, The rich “lest their patrimony be divided among several, deny their own fetus in their uterus and by a parricidal potion extinguish the pledges of their womb in their genital belly, and life is taken away before it is transmitted.'” 20 John Noonan went on to explain that: “To users of potions preventing life, [Ambrose] applied the condemnation ‘parricide.’ From the context where protection of inheritance is the object of these acts, it is probable that any use of the potions in marriage is what is condemned.” 21

Another 4th century Latin Father, St. Jerome, also treated the subject of contraception. As a student of St. Gregory the Theologian and translator of the Vulgate edition of the Holy Bible, St. Jerome was well qualified to reflect the established dogma of the Early Church. Condemning the immorality of the Roman women of his time, he wrote, “Others, indeed, will drink sterility and murder a man not yet born.” 22 This repeated reference to “drinking sterility” by the Fathers is an obvious reference to pharmakeia or oral contraceptives. Noonan comments: “Evidently contraception was known and practiced in fashionable Catholic circles. Jerome denounces it in strong terms…” 23

Then there is the witness of St. Augustine, probably the most authoritative doctor of the Western Church. St. Augustine, in one of his letters, wrote:

“It is one thing not to lie [with one’s wife] except with the sole will of generating: this has no fault. It is another to seek the pleasure of the flesh in lying, although within the limits of marriage: this has venial fault. I am supposing that then, although you are not lying for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. They give themselves away, indeed, when they go so far as to expose their children who are born to them against their will; for they hate to nourish or to have those whom they feared to bear. Therefore a dark iniquity rages against those whom they have unwillingly borne, and with open iniquity this comes to light; a hidden shame is demonstrated by manifest cruelty. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility, and, if these do not work, extinguish and destroy the fetus in some way in the womb, preferring that their offspring die before it lives, or if it was already alive in the womb to kill it before it was born. Assuredly if both husband and wife are like this, they are not married, and if they were like this from the beginning they come together not joined in matrimony but in seduction. If both are not like this, I dare to say that either the wife is in a fashion the harlot of her husband or he is an adulterer with his own wife.”

A Greek penitential, ascribed to St.John IV Nesteutes (St. John the Faster), the 6th century Patriarch of Constantinople, states:

“If someone to satisfy his lust or in deliberate hatred does something to a man or woman so that no children be born of him or her, or gives them to drink (pharmakon), so that he cannot generate or she conceive, let it be held as homicide.” 25

Conclusion

We have seen the witness from Holy Scriptures, early Councils and holy Fathers of the Church. All of them attest to the immorality of contraceptives. St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Hippolytus of Rome, St. Epiphanius of Salamis, St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and many teachers and Doctors of the Church; proclaim the constant teaching of the Faith about this issue. They witness to the unchangeable nature of Tradition about artificial birth control.

The Church has proclaimed throughout all the ages that procreation is the primary end of marriage. She has continually preached the beauty of marital intercourse as a participation in God’s creative work. The Church has always highly regarded the bearing and raising of children. The Father’s of the Church attested that the joyful unitive aspect of marriage flowed from marital intercourse when it is open to new life. The Church’s constant teaching on Marriage and sexual intercourse is a gift we should rejoice in and continue to proclaim today.

Endnotes

1. Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church, 2nd edition, Penguin, 199E p.296.
2. Ibid., 1st edition, p.302.
3. Patriarch Athenagoras telegram to Pope Paul VI, 9 August 1968, reprinted in Towards the Healing of Schism, ed. & trans. E.J. Stormon ,1987, p. 197.
4. A. Men’, Kul’tura i dukhovnoe vozrozhdenie, (Moscow 1992), pp. 445-450.
5. “Bases of Social Concept of Russian Orthodox Church,” confirmed on Jubilee Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow, August 13 – 16 2000) retrieved from http://www.russian-orthodox-church.org.ru/sd00e.htm.
6. St. Athanasius the Great, First Letter to Serapion, 28; (d. 373 A.D.)
7. John F. Kipley, Birth Control and Christian Discipleship, Couple To Couple League, 2001 pp. 23-28.
8. Paul Evdokimov, The Sacrament of Love (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 1995) p.174.
9. Paul Veyne, A History of Private Life, Vol. I: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1987), p.12.
10.Canons of Council of retrieved from: http://www.synaxis.org/ecf/volume37/.
11. Canons of Council in Trulo, retrieved from: http://www.synaxis.org/ecf/volume37/.
12. Canons of St. Basil of Coesarea, retrieved from http://www.synaxis.org/ecf/volume37/.
13. St. Clement of Alexandria, Comments on Genesis 6, (PG 69:309).
14. St. Clement of Alexandria, Pedagogus (The Educator) 2.10.91.2, (GCS 12; 212).
15. Origen, Contra Celsum, Bk: 5, chp. 42, retrieved from : http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/
16. Lactantius Firmianus, Divine Institutions 6.23.18, (CSEL 19: 567).
17. St. Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion (Medicine Chest) 26.5.2-6, (GSC 25: 294-298).
18. St. John Chrysostom, Homily 24 on Romans, (PG 60: 626-627), quoted in book: John T., Jr. Noonan, Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists, Harvard Univ. Press, 1986, p.98.
19. St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Ephesians 20, PG.
20. St. Ambrose, Hexameron 5.18.58 (CSEL 32: 184).
21. John T., Jr. Noonan, Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists, (Harvard Univ. Press, 1986) p.99.
22. St. Jerome, Letter 22, to Eustochium 13, (CSEL 54: 160-161).
23. Noonan, Ibid., p.101.
24. St. Augustine, “Marriage and Concupiscence” 1.15.17; quoted by John T., Jr. Noonan, Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists, Harvard Univ. Press, 1986,p.136.
25. Penitential (PG 88:1924A): quoted. by John T., Jr. Noonan, Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists, Harvard Univ. Press, 1986 p. 168n.
26. John Breck, The Sacred Gift of Life: Orthodox Christianity and Bioethics (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1998) p. 9.

 

SOURCE: http://www.hli.org/seminarians_eastern_orthodoxy_contraception.html

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Catholic Opposition to Contraception Not Sensible

April 26, 2009


Q. I also would like to raise the question of a person continually reproducing offspring that they cannot afford to clothe and feed. Do you think that God would approve of us conceiving a child that we cannot feed, clothe, or nurture?

A. Regulation of family size is completely under the control of the parents. It is very simple–abstinence. That is how responsible people have since the beginning of history have been able to regulate their family size when necessary. Self control/self mastery is a Christian Virtue. It is our post-Christian culture that has come to believe that having sex is an inalienable right!

Q. I believe that every child is a precious gift from God, but do you believe that God intentionally allows a child to be born to drug addicts or child abusers?

A. No. He created our fertility. Our job is to seek to live virtuous and holy lives and love Him. Drug Addicts and child abusers and children born to them are the result of the sinful choices man makes with his free will. Does God intend these choices? Absolutely not. But He does allow it. You will have to take that up with God.

Q. I believe this becomes a question of our free will. Yes he wants us to be frutiful and multiply. Yes he wants us to have children and teach them about God, but he would want us to use our brain and not create children that may be loved from the depth of our heart, but cannot be provided for.

A. I could not agree more. So, self denial is called for in order to regulate family size.

Q. More often than not, this actually leads to a family having more children than they can possibly afford and can lead to money issues which can lead to abuse of an innocent child.

A. It is not cause and effect. Yes, poverty can stress parents. But I live in Southern California and travel down to Mexico where there is a lot of poverty due to government corruption. And, yes, a friend of mine and her family left their father in Mexico because he was abusive…but they were NOT poor. Although, of course, I don’t doubt it can happen in poor families also. But do you know what I see in Mexico and here in the US among poorer Mexicans? Love and celebration of family. Because of their poverty they value that which is eternal –people/family and friends. No doubt this will change, unfortunately the longer they are here. But poverty does NOT cause abuse, sin does that. Poverty oddly enough gives better clarity about what has lasting value.


Natural Family Planning Contradicts Scripture

April 24, 2009

Bread From Heaven: “Because the pleasure of the marital embrace was created by God for babies & bonding.”

Q. If the “marital embrace” is only for babies and bonding and and “Anytime the pleasure of the sexual act is obtained while actively, purposely or incidentally excluding either of these goods, it is a grave sin.” Is it a sin to have the “marital embrace” if there is no chance of conception such as after a woman has reached menopause?

A. No. That is natural and a part of God’s created order. It is still open to conception, although highly unlikely. But, don’t forget Sarah and Elizabeth both conceived in their old age by the will of God.

Q. But according to the statement, sexual activity after menopause would be “purposely or incidentally excluding either of these goods” since “incidentally” means not intentionally.

A. That is a very good point. Then, perhaps, incidentally is the wrong word but I used it with homosexual activity in mind. Because they are not engaging in the activity in order to avoid conception but only pursuing pleasure, the act prevents conception b/c it is unnatural. I am open to suggestions. And I will think about how to reword that. Thank you very much.

Q. So, that would cause all sexual intercourse between husband and a wife that does not work towards conception a sin.

A. No, that is not what the Church teaches at all. If it were, then infertile couples, women with necessary hysterectomies, women in menopause, men with no or low sperm count etc. would have to be celibate. This is not the case. The purpose of the marital embrace is for babies and bonding, both. Conception must not be removed from it for selfish reasons.

Q. Family planning or abstaining from sex during the fertile times which is written as ok, contradicts these scriptures because you are not to deny your spouse sex except when both have agreed for prayer.

1 Corinthians 7:3 The husband should not deprive his wife of sexual intimacy, which is her right as a married woman, nor should the wife deprive her husband. 4 The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband also gives authority over his body to his wife. 5 So do not deprive each other of sexual relations.

A. In our culture the right to sex is deemed to be absolute. Self-denial of sexual pleasure is thought to be ridiculous (except perhaps beastiality, incest, and pedophilia -the last taboos) At one time, not too long ago we had many more taboos -pre-marital sex, adultery, homosexuality, masturbation, oral sex, pornography, even contraception in addition to beastiality, incest, and pedophilia. How much longer before these also become normative in our culture?

What translation are you using? Most of the respected translations do not interpret the Greek as “not deprive”. The negative is nowhere in the sentence. Rather it is stated positively.

The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. (NASB)

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. (NIV)

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. (KJV)

Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. (NKJV)

Husbands and wives should be fair with each other about having sex. (Contemporary Eng. Version)

To the wife, the husband the debt let him pay and likewise also the wife to the husband. (Literal Greek)

The Husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. (RSV)

should not deprive” should not be interpreted “as all demands for sex should be met lest one feel deprived

Your interpretation of I Cor. 7:3 is influenced by our culture. Because, the Protestant churches began to accept contraception in the early 1900’s they have lost the Christian perspective of sexual intimacy–Total Self-Giving. When a married couple indulges in the pleasure while practicing contraception they cannot be totally self-giving to their spouse. One or both are saying, with their bodies, while using a contraceptive, “I reject your fertility.” This subtle spiritual reality plays itself out in various subtle ways. For instance, the one with the strongest sex drive is freed to be more demanding of having sexual needs met and the other can begin to feel used. This is not conducive to a long and happy marriage.

For the difference between NFP and Contraception please click HERE

To read Humanae Vitae click HERE


Condom Protection is OVERRATED

January 17, 2009


The following discussion comes from the comment section on What Scripture Condemns Contraception?

WHO (World Health Organization): Condoms are the only contraceptive method proven to reduce the risk of all sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. They can be used as a dual-purpose method, both for prevention of pregnancy and protection against STIs.

BFHU:Condoms are the only contraceptive method proven to reduce the risk of all sexually transmitted infections

Right there we have an overstatement of fact that leads to a false sense of security. Condoms don’t do a thing to protect from HPV , Herpes or any STI that is spread by skin to skin contact in the genital area b/c it is spread by skin contact that is not necessarily covered by a condom. HPV can cause cervical, penile, and anal cancer and infertility. That is pretty serious.

WHO: Prevention of pregnancy

Estimated pregnancy rates during perfect use of condoms, that is for those who report using the method exactly as it should be used (correctly) and at every act of intercourse (consistently), is 3 percent at 12 months.

BFHU: And we KNOW everyone does not use condoms PERFECTLY. Can we in good conscience promote a method of public safety that we know good and well is so very open to user error?

WHO: The most frequently cited condom effectiveness rate is for typical use, which includes perfect and imperfect use (i.e. not used at every act of intercourse, or used incorrectly). The pregnancy rate during typical use can be much higher (10-14%) than for perfect use, but this is due primarily to inconsistent and incorrect use, not to condom failure. Condom failure – the device breaking or slipping off completely during intercourse – is uncommon.

BFHU:

As they state the pregnancy rate is 10-14 % with typical use. This is what we really have to base public policy on b/c it is more realistic than perfect use. Now, think about this. A woman can get pregnant only one day out of the month but she can be infected with HIV or STI’s EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE MONTH. What does that do to the 10-14% statistic? I don’t know scientifically  but it has to increase the chance of getting infected.

Is the condom really a responsible recommendation to African and third world villagers? Or is the condom promoted by people who don’t really care about the lives of these children, moms and dads in the third world. What they care most about is the big picture–decreasing STI’s and the population of the world. They are callous towards the precious lives of these individual and powerless people b/c they are only focusing on the big picture

The UN answer to the poor in countries during famine and food shortages is: We will give you food but FIRST you need to use homonal birth control.

The poor answer: “Please, we love our babies. Our families make us rich. We just need food to feed them.”

UN: No, use the pill and abort if you want food from us.

The WHO is politically aligned in my mind with the UN. Maybe I am wrong…..

WHO: Disease prevention

Laboratory studies have found that viruses (including HIV) do not pass through intact latex condoms even when devices are stretched or stressed.

BFHU: There is a statement but what are the ref. to back it up? Has this study been repeated many times with the same result? What was the methodology. Even if it is true we KNOW that condoms do break. I still think it is IRRESPONSIBLE to promote this and only care about the overall reduction in infection rates and not concern oneself with protecting every single person. This is a utilitarian approach to the problem. It is not a loving approach.

WHO: In Thailand, the promotion by the government of 100% condom use by commercial sex workers led to a dramatic increase in the use of condoms (from 14% in 1990 to 94% in 1994); an equally dramatic decline in the nation-wide numbers of bacterial STD cases (from 410,406 cases in 1997 to 27,362 cases in 1994); and reduced HIV prevalence in Thai soldiers.

BFHU: Again, clearly we are looking at a utilitarian approach once again. Maybe that is the best governments can do but Churches and the faithful must love and care about every individual. We are NOT free to be utilitarian. Also, sex workers and soldiers would be more motivated to use condoms under such risky situations than the common populace. So, these stats do not accurately represent what happens with typical use in the general population.

WHO: The most convincing data on the effectiveness of condoms in preventing HIV infection has been generated by prospective studies undertaken on serodiscordant couples, when one partner is infected with HIV and the other is not. These studies show that, with consistent condom use, the HIV infection rate among uninfected partners was less than 1 percent per year. Also, in situations where one partner is definitely infected, inconsistent condom use can be as risky as not using condoms at all.

BFHU: These studies done where one partner was infected have been pretty successful but again they are HIGHLY MOTIVATED. They KNOW they are dealing with a deadly disease. The typical user can tend to downplay the risk in any given situation and use condoms inconsistently. And as your quote said, this can be as risky as not using condoms at all.

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Wycliffe: In my comment above I did not single out the Catholic church, the abstinence argument is more forceful from the evangelical right wing Protestant U.S (and U.K to a certain extent) churches.

BFHU: Well, the Catholic Church feels just as strongly. All contraception use in sex is condemned. This ban is NOT lifted in this case.

Wycliffe: Not convinced that abstinence as the only moral choice;

BFHU: I am.

Wycliffe: For this depends on too many things for there to be a dogmatic answer, take the following examples biblically that is:

1.The text does not mean what it appears to say…
2.The text means what it says but is wrong…
3.The text means what it says, but needs interpretation depending upon context…
4.The text,means what it says but can be made personal…..
5. The text means what it says and must be interpreted literally….

This of course goes on and on and I only use as an example of how moral decisions are made when reading scripture, not withstanding secular reason, experience, culture, biology, science….

BFHU: You are putting up a smokescreen now. Give examples of each of your points above. Our elder brothers in the faith, the Jews and all Christians condemned contraception until 1930. I trust the ancient and transcendent faith of the Jews and the Christians. I trust this culture not at all.

For the record this commenter never responded to my request for clarity and documentation of the above assertions.

Readers may find my post Who Said this About the Evils of Contraception interesting.


LifeSiteNews: “Contraceptive Hormones Mutating Fish in St. Lawrence River”

September 20, 2008

Exactly how many times must this study be replicated and in how many different places before the mainstream media starts to take note and report it?

Where exactly are the “environmentalists”?

Contraceptive Hormones Mutating Fish in St. Lawrence River

By Hilary White

MONTREAL, September 18, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Estrogen from birth control pills in highly populated areas of Canada is washing into the water table and flooding the St. Lawrence River, a new study has found. University of Montreal researchers said that the St. Lawrence River near Montreal has an alarmingly high level of estrogens that are mutating male fish.

Downstream from the island of Montreal, one of Canada’s most Read the rest of this entry »


Humanae Vitae – Two Stories

August 14, 2008

Two stories — Pope Reminds Spouses of their “Responsibility To Generate New Children and Archbishop: For the Clergy Obedience to Church “Requires Preaching About the Moral Evil of Contraception”

Married readers – consider tucking the kids in early this evening and trying  some generation.

5 bob to the Western Confucian.


New Booklet Outlines Frightening Facts about Contraception

August 3, 2008

New Booklet Outlines Frightening Facts about Contraception

“Most people have no idea of the abortifacient nature of the birth control pill,” says author

 

By Michael Baggot

HESPERIA, CA, April 29, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Without a single reference to a Church document or a passage of Scripture, a new booklet from author Victor Claveau demonstrates that popular contraceptives, considered hallmarks of our modern culture and signs of civilized man’s technological conquest of nature, kill at least 6 million US children a year, subject women to a host of harmful side effects, subvert the meaning of sex and family life, and have played a key role in a black genocide.

Claveau’s 28-page “‘Birth Control and Abortifacients’ begins with a detailed analysis of the various standard methods of contraception, noting their abortifacient action and harmful side effects on women.

Claveau pays particular attention to the popular birth control pills that have been widely accepted, even by professedly “pro-life” women, as a means to reduce the sort of unwanted pregnancies that often end in abortion. Read the rest of this entry »