Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Year of Mercy

The Zika virus is a threat to anyone bitten by the mosquito that carries it. It is especially worrisome to women (and therefore couples) who are pregnant or may be trying to become pregnant. Doctors have also found that having sex may cause transmission of the virus (link HERE).

Governments, including the US, are warning about the virus and in that vein are suggesting the use of barrier contraceptives.

Of course, this raises the hackles of anyone who thinks that contraception is an intrinsic evil. There can be no exceptions to the rule. But these persons ideas are formed by Natural Law, in turn formed by celibate males. Look, for example, at St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the major players in the direction of thought on this subject. In his greatest book, Summa Theologica, the question is asked whether women should have even been made in the first generation of things, since she is so inferior. In Part I, Question 92, Article 1, Aquinas replies:

I answer that, It was necessary for woman to be made, as the Scripture says, as a "helper" to man; not, indeed, as a helpmate in other works, as some say, since man can be more efficiently helped by another man in other works; but as a helper in the work of generation… But man [as opposed to woman] is yet further ordered to a still nobler vital action, and that is intellectual operation. Therefore there was greater reason for the distinction of these two forces in man; so that the female should be produced separately from the male; although they are carnally united for generation. Therefore directly after the formation of woman, it was said: "And they shall be two in one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

In other words, women are good for reproduction and nothing else. Whereas I find myself thinking that God gave me a brain just for the very reason of thinking. And I imagine other women are able to think also. Well, you get my point.

It is certainly appropriate for the Church Leaders to give guidelines in some things and make definitive pronouncements in others, but they need to discern which is which. We all need to learn more discernment. (If we all knew exactly what God wanted we wouldn’t have all these different denominations.)

If the Catholic Church learned to talk with women who take contraceptives instead of hurling the words “intrinsically evil” at them, they may learn a few things. The Church leaders want women to have as many children as possible, while the women may be hearing a different calling from God. And we might all come to an understanding that barrier contraception is a lot more like NFP than abortifacient contraception. Perhaps we could come to more of a resolution than having most Catholic women either hiding their actions or leaving the Church.

Let us remember that Mary, mother of Jesus, was called directly (through an angel) by God. He did not consult with her religious leaders or her parents or even her husband to be. And she answered God directly (through an angel). She did not consult with her religious leaders or her parents or her husband to be. And though the Church insists she was the perfect mother, it also insists she never had sex with her husband nor produced more than one child.

It has been declared the Year of Mercy by Pope Francis. Let the couple seek God's will, which will be what is best for them. To the Church, teach discernment instead of dictating. It is time to be merciful indeed.

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