TOB Tuesday: Humanae Vitae
This post is late, I kinda got busy then forgot and then… oh well. Again TOB Tuesday follows our weekly Monday discussion and we are using Christopher West’s Into the Heart series.
The session focused on Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on human life. We went into what it covers, that it focuses on the problems of birth regulation, that they separate the body from the soul, that it focuses only on the biological aspects of a human which is by no means nearly enough. It outlines how God gave us the law of life as our inheritance.
We are called to responsible parenting, which does not mean rendering the sexual act sterile -which would be a violation of the sacramental sign of marriage – that it be both unitive and procreative. The unitive part most of us understand and Christopher West explained that the very nature of the communion within the conjugal act, activates the process in which God has chosen to bring forth human life! Again here we are partaking in the great creative glorious power of the Lord, and this, THIS is the method He chose!!!
When the unitive and procreative meanings are separated there is no union of persons and who would want that in a one-flesh union? When we deprive the conjugal act of this very inner truth, it also ceases to be an act of love. We spay and neuter ourselves, which just serves to say that we cannot control ourselves and have reduced ourselves to the level of base animals. Artificial Birth control is not in keeping with human dignity – self-control is the only birth control that is in keeping with human dignity.
One other point I found fascinating was that the seed of the man is not just biological fluid, it is the very essence of the masculine soul, which I think infers it is the essence of fatherhood. Yesterday evening we went to another talk which was centred on Humanae Vitae and the speaker mentioned that every time a mans seed was spilt it was a potential of fatherhood, every single time, there is never a time when one could say oh well only at certain times, it is every time, so it matters not what contraception is used, because only abstinence is 100% effective in not having the potential of fatherhood.
Each conjugal act should be treated with the responsibility of fathering and mothering, it has to come with the understanding that there is a possibility that this act will result in a child even if the probability is 0.01% for whatever reason. But humanity has decided to do away with that, to take responsibility out of the sexual act, to make it an act of lust, of using. This does not mean the church wants everyone to have 100 babies, as for a man every act is fertile this is not so for women.
The Church says for just reason spouses may abstain from sex, it is not a obligation to have sex, and spacing children according to needs and circumstances is a couples duty. CW said the church here is elevating biology to the level of love, for what we do with our bodies we do with our spirits and sexuality has never been just biological so why treat it thus? It’s about receiving the gift of a couples periodic infertility (through a woman’s cycle) from God, rather than grasping infertility for pleasure and to try and separate our bodies from our spirits.
Yesterdays talk, (boring though it was) had some marvellous points, the speaker said that artificial birth control is like biochemical violence that takes over a woman’s body and programs it from her natural ebbs and flows into a fixed 28 day cycle, that if any other medication (as is fertility is a disease) had caused as many deaths and side effects as this one has, it would have been banned long ago, but not the pill; after all people can’t control themselves, have a right to pleasure etc. and they should not be punished with a baby…
I pray for a new understanding of how rejecting Humane Vitae has affected our church, of understanding that self-mastery is a good thing, of understanding how abstinence is not only practical but a great party of chastity no matter which vocation or stage of life and for living pure and holy lives.
Now, none of this is possible without the grace of God, so dear Lord, shower your grace upon us.