Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reading Humanae Vitae

I was avoiding housework spending a FEW minutes browsing, and found a reference to In Humanae Vitae, the much-derided encyclical from Pope Paul VI, in 1968.

The person linking the English translation said that the entire thing was only about 4 pages long.  This intrigued me, and I decided to read the actual document, rather than what I had previously depended on, excerpts and commentaries.

It's worth reading, especially in light of recent developments with the Catholic Church and Obama's HHS.
We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)

Those who argue for toleration of a lesser evil are rebuked:
Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.

That boldfaced part is in line with Pope Benedict XVI's comments about an HIV-infected person using condoms - it is the lesser evil.

Following sections discuss the other consequences of contraception, which affect the quality of the relationship and the nature of the parents' response to a "failure" of contraception.  It's WELL worth reading.

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