Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Conspiracy against life"

Here are two questions from my post “Procreation, naturally” (3.10.09).

1) Is the use of Viagra, Cialis et al considered acceptable?

The general rule of thumb is that anything that assists marital intercourse in reaching its procreative potential is morally acceptable; anything that substitutes for intercourse (i.e.. adding a “third party” into the act of conception) is not morally acceptable. The conjugal act must be unitive and procreative.

2) Can FG please elaborate on "sterilization?" I.e., is it limited to only having tubes tied or a vasectomy? –Thanks

Rev. William Saunders has elaborated on sterilization in the following online article, mainly addressing the difference between direct sterilization (immoral) and indirect sterilization (moral). To view the full article, please click on today’s title.

Direct sterilization means that the purpose of the procedure is to destroy the normal functioning of a healthy organ so as to prevent the future conception of children. The most effective and least dangerous method of permanent sterilization is through vasectomy for a man and ligation of the fallopian tubes for a woman. Such direct sterilization is an act of mutilation and is therefore considered morally wrong. Regarding unlawful ways of regulating births, Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968) asserted, "Equally to be condemned... is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary" (#14). The Catechism also states, "Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law" (#2297).

However, indirect sterilization is morally permissible. Here surgery, or some protocol, e.g. drug or radiation therapy, is not intended to destroy the functioning of a healthy organ or to prevent the conception of children; rather, the direct intention is to remove or to combat a diseased organ. Unfortunately, such a surgery or therapy may "indirectly" result in the person being sterilized. For instance, if a woman is diagnosed with a cancerous uterus, the performance of a hysterectomy is perfectly legitimate and moral. The direct effect is to remove the diseased organ and preserve the health of the woman's body; the indirect effect is that she will be rendered sterile and never able to bear children again. The same would be true if one of a woman's ovaries or if one of a man's testes were cancerous or functioning in a way which is harmful to overall bodily well-being. Keep in mind, to be morally right, the operation or protocol must be truly therapeutic in character and arises from a real pathological need...

Pope John Paul II warned in his encyclical The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae) of "scientifically and systematically programmed threats" against life. He continued, "...We are in fact faced by an objective 'conspiracy against life,' involving even international institutions, engaged in encouraging and carrying out actual campaigns to make contraception, sterilization, and abortion widely available. Nor can it be denied that the mass media are often implicated in this conspiracy, by lending credit to that culture which presents recourse to contraception, sterilization, abortion, and even euthanasia as a mark of progress and a victory of freedom, while depicting as enemies of freedom and progress those positions which are unreservedly pro-life" (#17)…


At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given that the target audience for Cialis and similar drugs are late middle-aged men whose presumedly similarly-aged wives are past childbearing age, wouldn't the use of those drugs be iffy? There obviously is no procreation involved.

At 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quoted from the Dignitas Personae:

13. "Certainly, techniques aimed at removing obstacles to natural fertilization, as for example, hormonal treatments for infertility, surgery for endometriosis, unblocking of fallopian tubes or their surgical repair, are licit. All these techniques may be considered authentic treatments because, once the problem causing the infertility has been resolved, the married couple is able to engage in conjugal acts resulting in procreation, without the physician’s action directly interfering in that act itself. None of these treatments replaces the conjugal act, which alone is worthy of truly responsible procreation."

I really don't understand this thinking. Once an embryo is created, I can understand the validity of medical intervention; it saves a life. But if there is no living embryo because of a problem with the way God made a particular person's anatomy and/or physiology, and conception can only occur with medical intervention prior to or after sexual intercourse, how is that medical manipulation not interfering with God's plan? It seems to me that science becomes a third party, and in a sense nullifies the idea that conception can be or is the result of sexual intercourse between two people; conception can be or is the result of medical intervention and sexual intercourse. It sounds like the rules are being bent to justify our desires rather than that of Christ. I didn't think we could bend God's rules and still be in a state of Grace.

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the anon of 9:20-

Wouldn't that theory make the argument that people past childbearing years should have intercourse? We should always be open to procreation within the sexual act, but it isn't the only purpose of the sexual act, is it?

At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the 12:26 post, I obviosuly meant "should NOT have intercourse"

At 4:33 PM, Blogger fran said...

Anon 10:47-

Maybe this is not the best analogy, but think about it like this. If I am "created" with poor eyesight, I can certainly seek medical intervention, to correct or improve my eyesight, right? Similarly, if I am unable to conceive a child, due to some physical limitation, seeking the assistance of a medical specialist [within the parameters which you quoted] to help correct or improving those conditions for conception is justified too.

Such intervention does not directly interfere with, manipulate or necessarily result in the creation of life, it merely improves the woman's physical set of circumstances which may or may not lead to conceiving a child.

At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Cialis- and Viagra-related spam that shows up in my junk email on at least a thrice-daily basis is enough to cause me to take a dim view of the products!

At 8:06 PM, Blogger CynthiaBC said...

The Viagra jingle is very catchy.

I had to tell my daughter that, no, she could NOT go around singing Viva Viagra. Particularly not in church parking lots.

I am glad that she hasn't asked what Viagra is for.


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