Pro-life The precedent of the Congo Nuns by Jeffrey Miller November 1, 2007 written by Jeffrey Miller November 1, 2007 does it exist? 12 comments 0 FacebookTwitterGoogle +Pinterest Jeffrey Miller previous post Happy Birthday next post Blogging my inner geek You may also like Three cheers for Dr. Downs May 5, 2007 That was then February 21, 2008 From our bulging "Reporters our are intellectual betters"... January 25, 2010 How embarrassing November 4, 2007 Day Five November 2, 2006 Joy of Motherhood July 22, 2004 Minnesota passes right-to-know law April 15, 2003 Fashion to kill unwanted spouses February 13, 2008 The religious right made me do it July 19, 2006 USF is in the process of … December 15, 2008 12 comments John November 1, 2007 - 12:11 pm Jeff, Can you put up the PDF for the Liturgical Referee again? I need to print it. We had a local priest spend a long time at the end of Mass last night teeling the 2 or 3 people who knelt during Mass that they were wrong. Thanks, John Reply Heidi November 1, 2007 - 8:52 pm John, So glad the priest was focusing on what was REALLY important. 😉 Reply Sharon November 2, 2007 - 1:25 am Until I see a Vatican document confirming the permission to use contraceptives I don’t believe it. Reply Sr. Lorraine November 2, 2007 - 5:08 pm I preface this by saying that I fully support Catholic teaching on contraception. However it is important to know why the Church teaches contraception is wrong, in order to see about these rape cases. In an article in the Nov. 1996 issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review, John Grabowski indicates that the Vatican has approved the use of contraceptives for women religious in danger of rape (as long as they’re not abortifacient), but he doesn’t cite the exact source. The situation envisioned would be something like war or imminent danger, like the slaughters in Rwanda which were often accompanied by rape. Such a case is merely protecting oneself from an aggressor and is morally licit according to Catholic teaaching. Consider how Pope John Paul in the theology of the body explained the immorality of contraception. He used ideas like the language of the body in which spouses give themselves wholly to each other. By withholding their fertility with contraception, they are not making a complete gift of self. But a rape is in no sense a conjugal act. It is an act of aggression from which a woman has the right to protect and defend herself, and that includes contraception as long as no abortifacient method is used. The theology of the body as Pope John Paul explained it sheds a lot of light on this whole matter.He doesn’t discuss rape but his discussion of contraception is bound up with the sacramental sign of marriage. Humanae Vitae states “each and every marriage act must remain through itself open to the transmission of life.” Note he says “marriage act.” Rape is an entirely different thing. Reply Sr. Lorraine November 2, 2007 - 5:58 pm The only reference I could find on the internet was this from an AP News story about abortions after rapes in Kosovo. Bishop Elio Sgreccia of the POntifical Academy for Life apparently referenced the Congo nuns: The Associated Press reports that the UN’s announcement was followed by a strongly worded statement from Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, vice president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Opposing the aid, the Monsignor called the pill a “real abortion technique.” When reporters raised questions about the distribution of contraceptive pills to nuns in the Congo in the 1960’s, the Vatican official rejected any comparison, describing the Church’s action in the Congo as a “legitimate defense.” Reply bill bannon November 2, 2007 - 9:46 pm Sr. Lorraine Stay on the internet…please. Reply ellen November 3, 2007 - 10:22 am So, what does one tell a child who was conceived as a result of a rape? Do we say that from all eternity God knew each one of us and had a plan for our lives – but the child of rape was not meant to exist? Do we say that for the rest of us, it is God’s positive Will that we exist, but that it is merely His permissive Will that allows conception to occur as a result of rape? Does this mean that if conception is prevented after a rape that that act of contraception is a good act ordered to the salvation of all the people involved (except the child who is prevented from coming into existence, of course). Is this the only case when the conception of a child is an “evil”? These are genuine questions and the answers are very important to me. Reply bill bannon November 3, 2007 - 10:57 am Ellen There is no child just as there is no child if the ordinary Catholic woman declines sex to her husband due to extreme tiredness from a cold etc during the fertile period. Otherwise, Catholic women would never be allowed to truthfully say a reasonable no to sex: “no…not tonight hon…I think I coming down with a virus”….because they could be preventing a child that could have been. There is no child until there is a child. Reply ellen November 3, 2007 - 11:53 am The wife who declines marital relations for good reason does not prevent the conception of a child by artificial means. After intercourse has taken place, contraceptive action prevents the conception of the child which might naturally occur. The argument is often put forward that abortion must be allowed if conception occurs as a result of rape because it is “unbearable” for the mother to carry the child. I do realize that we are talking about contraception and not abortion, but isn’t the reasoning similar in that the conception of the child is considered “unbearable”? Yet many women do carry such children to term and grow to love them. Reply bill bannon November 3, 2007 - 12:12 pm Ellen And some women go into post partum depression bringing into life a child that looks like themselves and their husband. What would happen to those women in particular if they actually gave birth to a child that looked like their attacker? They may well vanish into permanent mental illness so I don’t think the actions of the strongest women are the answer to every problem. I Corinthians 7:5 does not make the strongest couples the standard as to the obligation toward sexual contact and thus the South African Bishops allowed Catholics to use condoms when one person had AIDS IF..IF…they used the condoms on infertile days which means there was no separation of the unitive and the procreative since there is no procreative on the infertile days. The Bishops did not tell themselves that some couples can endure with no sex….they have an obligation to see what Scripture says about self control and it says that some people have little and they are Catholic…not pagans…not Hugh Hefner…CAtholics. I Corinthians 7:5… “Do not deprive each other, except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, to be free for prayer, but then return to one another, so that Satan may not tempt you through your lack of self-control.” The Bishops and the Pope have an obligation to preserve and pass on the Bible and interpret it…but they cannot override it and at times they do historically….that is why you cannot find wifely obedience in the catechism even though it was insisted on in Casti C. in section 74 and 6 times in the New Testament. But I digress…. into another ball of wax. Reply Sr. Lorraine November 3, 2007 - 1:39 pm Thanks, Bill! To go back to Ellen’s question about what to tell a child conceived as a result of rape, perhaps this might help: Every existing person is an image of God and so is a great good, no matter how that person was conceived. God loves each person immensely and nothing can change that. Still, God has given us a moral law governing our use of sex so that when children are conceived they will have the love and support of their parents. Rape and other sexual sins violate the moral law. But God doesn’t suspend the laws of nature, so that children can be conceived as a result of some sin. That doesn’t make the child any less an image of God or any less valuable. But we can’t say that just because the person who resulted from the act is good, the act itself was good when it was in fact a sin. To prevent conception after a rape is not contraception in the moral sense. This is because contraception–in the moral sense that the Church teaches–is to artifically separate the unitive and procreative meanings of a conjugal act. An act of rape has no unitive meaning, so there can be no separation of unitive and procreative meanings in an act of rape. To prevent conception in this case is to protect oneself from the after effects of an act of aggression. This is legitimate because of the right of self-defense. But as I mentioned abov e, if conception has in fact occurred, it is not morally permissible to abort the child. Ellen, I hope this might shed some light on your question. Reply Robin L. in TX November 5, 2007 - 8:59 am I imagine that the Law of Unintended Consequences _might_ be asserted should a contracepting nun be ovulating at the time of rape, and the pill cause the resulting child to be aborted, but I wouldn’t want that possibility on my conscience. If I were a nun, knowing that the pill can be abortifiacient, I would rather choose to give any child of rape the gift of life, and share him or her with a couple who can’t have a child. In Christ’s peace and joy, Robin L. in TX Reply Leave a Comment Cancel Reply Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.