On another thread, I had attempted to flush from hiding the Social Pathologist's moral conviction regarding the Church's teaching on artificial contraception, since he is a Catholic and a physician. So as not to fall in danger of going too far off that thread's topic, he has responded by email, and kindly granted me permission to post those remarks here. As follows:
* * * You wanted to know where I stood in regard to artificial birth control. I don't wish to give anyone the impression I'm something that I am not, but I'll briefly outline my position as follows.
1.) Sexual relationships should only occur in the context of marriage as traditionally understood: period.
2.) Directly intended abortion is wrong.
3.) Sterilization is wrong.
4.) While I am unsympathetic to the Church's position on contraception, I see that it is logically consistent and I am bound to support it.
5.) On the matter of non destructive IVF--That is, sperm fertilizing one egg outside the married couple and then transferring it to the uterus-- I disagree with the Church but am bound to support its position. Otherwise, I broadly support the Church's opposition to IVF.
6.) In the same way that charging at fair interest was once considered by the Church as usury, I believe that Pius VI prudentially erred in classifying ovulatory regulants, i.e., The Pill, as contraceptives. Therefore I feel I can prescribe these agents in some form of good conscience, though I have my moments.
7.) Saying that, I do not prescribe the low dose pill. I believe its inherent "sloppiness" in its suppression of ovulation leads to a reliance on its secondary methods of contraception--barrier to sperm and possible inhibition of implantation--and it is therefore morally unjustifiable. I rarely prescribe it for medical reasons as well.
8.) I'm not a big fan of NFP for the same reason that Zippy isn't; It makes you unhappy.
If you judge a tree by its fruit, Humanae Vitae was a dreadful document, the faithful left in droves after it and a general culture of disobedience was instituted. As I see it, there are two possible reasons:
a) The faithful were flawed: the traditionalist interpretation.
b) The Document and its reasoning were flawed. Error is just as likely to be seen in moral rigidity as it is in moral laxity. I'm generally inclined to think that the Church repeated the mistake of Galileo, confusing metaphysical truth with practical matter. The document was right in affirming contraception wrong, but it was wrong in its classification of what was contraceptive.
Anyway those are my thoughts on the matter.* * * *
[By "the mistake of Galileo" I assume he means the Church's mistake in the reasons brought to bear for its disciplining of that man.]
My initial reaction is that there is much here I ought to take strong issue with, but I'd rather hear others' reactions first. There is also much to unravel, that is, to draw him out on. But he's offering a summary of his thoughts, not a treatise, so perhaps that can happen in comments. Since we have a happy diversity (never thought I'd hear myself say that) of contributors here (and readers too), I thought their various perspectives might be of interest.
Most importantly, the Social P. is a valued commenter here, as at other places, and while rigor and some measure of passion are welcome, courtesy and respect for another's honesty are required.