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  #1  
Old 13th September 2015, 01:19 PM
zzzz zzzz is offline
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Default contraceptive pill / pregnancy

Hello Mr. Conte,

I read your questions and answers about sexual ethics in the internet (here : http://www.catechism.cc/articles/QA.htm#07). It's quite clear in general. However, there's something I don't understand :

First, let's consider that we speak, in all this thread, about non-abortifacient contraception. And I'm not sure if non-abortifacient contraceptive pill actually exists, but let's assume it does, for the sake of the argument. Because it's the principles that matter.

You say that the marital act is moral even during the pregnancy, because the act is still inherently directed toward procreation. But it implies that "to be directed toward procreation" is an intrinsic property of this act, independently of the woman's actual capacity to conceive (she obviously can't conceive while pregnant).

However, when you say that it's wrong to perform the act while the woman takes the contraceptive pill for medical purpose, you say it's because, in this case, the act is not directed toward procreation. But it implies, this time, that the property of being "directed toward procreation" actually depends on the woman's actual capacity to conceive (indeed, if you say that it's not directed toward procreation, it's obviously because the pill prevents the woman to conceive).

So, in one case, you consider that the property of being directed toward procreation doesn't depend on the woman's actual capacity to conceive. But in the other case, you consider it actually depends on it.
How can we get out of this contradiction?

Also, are you sure that the Church said explicitly that it's wrong to perform the act while the woman takes the contraceptive pill for medical purpose? Or is it rather something you deduce by yourself from the general prohibition of contraceptive acts?
My thought is that "to be directed toward procreation" is an intrinsic property of the act, independently of the woman's actual capacity to conceive (if not, to perform the act during pregnancy would be wrong, and the Church always said it isn't wrong). Therefore, to perform the act while the woman takes the contraceptive pill for medical purpose is not inherently evil, and it can be justified by the principle of double effect.
Of course I may be wrong, and if you find a document of the Church that proves I'm wrong, I will accept it.
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  #2  
Old 13th September 2015, 02:26 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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A contraceptive pill does NOT exist that is solely contraceptive, and not also abortifacient. So your argument serves only to justify abortion by chemical means.

You are also mistaken on another point. The woman who cannot conceive because of pregnancy, or old age, has not CHOSEN to be infertile. It is natural, just as the increase and decrease in fertility during her cycle is natural. Choosing to take a contraceptive pill AND choosing to have sexual relations while on that pill deprives sexual relations of the procreative meaning, by choice.

The Magisterium infallibly teaches that abortion and contraception are each intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral. Therefore, I do not need to cite a document for each intention (e.g. a medical purpose) or each circumstance in order to condemn abortion, or abortifacient contraception, or mere contraception.

Quote:
Therefore, to perform the act while the woman takes the contraceptive pill for medical purpose is not inherently evil, and it can be justified by the principle of double effect.

The principle of double effect NEVER justifies an intrinsically evil act. And intrinsically evil acts are always immoral, regardless of the purpose for which the act was chosen. So a medical purpose never justifies abortion or contraception.

Moreover, you err gravely by first proposing a non-existent chemical contraceptive with no abortifacient effects, and then jumping to a justification of abortifacient contraception.

Yes, it is wrong to use contraception even for a medical purpose. An actual example would be spouses using a condom to prevent transmission of a disease. But using abortifacient contraception, even for a medical purpose, is more gravely immoral, since over time multiple prenatals are killed. And these deaths are absolutely avoidable by refraining from relations while on the pill, or by seeking a different treatment.

Basically, you are justifying spouses killing their own unborn children, so that they don't have to give up sex while taking a medication.
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  #3  
Old 13th September 2015, 06:41 PM
zzzz zzzz is offline
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No, I never wanted to justify abortifacient contraception. I don't know why you think I did it. I only argued for the morality of a non-abortifacient contraceptive pill for medical purpose. If it doesn't exist now, perhaps it will exist in the future. As I said, my concern is only theoretical. I don't actually know someone who need a contraceptive pill for medical purpose.

I know that the principle of double effect never justifies an evil act. I know that contraception is intrinsically wrong. What I understand by contraception is a genital-to-genital sexual act not directed toward procreation. A thing of which I am not sure, however, it's if performing the act while the woman takes a non-abortifacient contraceptive pill for medical purpose would count as a genital-to-genital sexual act not directed toward procreation (it's not because we call it "contraceptive pill" that the answer is obviously yes). As I said, it depends on where the property of being directed toward procreation is : in the act itself, or in the fact that the woman is able to conceive. If it's in the act itself, I can not see the difference between pregnancy and the use of non-abortifacient contraceptive pill for medical purpose.
You tried to answer this difficulty by saying that the difference is that the pregnant woman has not chosen to be infertile. Indeed, she didn't choose directly to be infertile, but she chose to have a baby, therefore she indirectly chose to be infertile. And that's exactly the same case as the non-abortifacient contraceptive pill for medical purpose : she didn't choose directly to be infertile, she chose to heal.
So I still don't see the difference between the two cases.
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  #4  
Old 13th September 2015, 07:12 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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The Magisterium teaches that contraception is intrinsically evil, and that intrinsically evil acts are never justified by intention or circumstances. The intention of the subject who acts is the purpose for which the subject performs the act. The circumstances of the act include its consequences. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically evil.

If you continue to claim otherwise, you will be banned from this group for rejecting this teaching of the Magisterium.

"she chose to heal" -- that is the intention of the act. Intentions never justify intrinsically evil acts, such as abortion or contraception.

No, choosing to have a child is not the same as choosing to use a contraceptive of any kind. That claim is absurd. The intended ends of the two cases are both good: to have a child, to heal. But the one act is inherently good: procreating a child, and the other act is intrinsically evil: use of contraception. A good purpose can never justify an evil act.

The medical purpose of saving the life of the mother never justifies direct abortion. And this example proves that even a good medical purpose cannot justify an intrinsically evil act.

What is happening in this discussion is that you "zzzz" have not bothered to learn the basic teachings of the Church on ethics. You have constructed your own foolish rules for what makes an act good or evil, and you want me to explain Catholic teaching to you, but based on your own disordered premises and false conclusions.

You claim that you came here to learn, but you can't learn until you set aside your own ideas and your own thinking.
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  #5  
Old 15th September 2015, 02:26 PM
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I just made some research about the medical use of contraceptive pills, and now I think I understand why it is actually evil to perform the act while the woman takes a non-abortifacient contraceptive pill for medical purpose. But not thanks to you.

First, you didn't unserstand my problem, or what I said. I already knew and agreed with the principles you say here :
Quote:
The Magisterium teaches that contraception is intrinsically evil, and that intrinsically evil acts are never justified by intention or circumstances. The intention of the subject who acts is the purpose for which the subject performs the act. The circumstances of the act include its consequences. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically evil.
So I never denied the fact that contraception is never moral as a means or a purpose. And I never denied the fact that an intrinsically evil act is never moral as a means or a purpose. I'm not a heretic.
The thing of which I was not sure was if to perform the act while the woman takes a non-abortifacient contraceptive pill for medical purpose actually implies that contraception is used as a means.
Indeed, I thought there was a cause (to take the pill) and two distinct and separate effects (to heal, and infertility), without a causal relation between those two effects. In this case it would be moral, I think, to apply the principle of double effect (because in this case, infertility would be an unwanted collateral effect). However, I made a little research, as I said, and I found that when a woman takes a contraceptive pill for medical purpose, it's actually the infertility that causes the fact of healing . So it means that infertility is actually sought as a means. Therefore, to perform the act while the woman takes a non-abortifacient contraceptive pill for medical purpose actually implies to use contraception as a means. So it's evil.

Also I would precise that in my previous messages I never claimed it was not evil (nor denied it). I was simply (and legitimately) not sure.
And if you become angry and start accusing people, without proof, of what you think they think or did (like when you say that I "have not bothered to learn the basic teachings of the Church on ethics and constructed my own foolish rules for what makes an act good or evil") instead of remaining calm, you will not convert a lot of non-catholic people.
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  #6  
Old 15th September 2015, 05:28 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Your most recent post still contradicts Church teaching on intrinsic evil and contraception. But you have badly misunderstood that teaching, so you don't realize the contradiction. You are trying to find an answer to your own question, but one that is consistent with your own faulty premises and misunderstandings.

Quote:
So I never denied the fact that contraception is never moral as a means or a purpose. And I never denied the fact that an intrinsically evil act is never moral as a means or a purpose. I'm not a heretic.
The thing of which I was not sure was if to perform the act while the woman takes a non-abortifacient contraceptive pill for medical purpose actually implies that contraception is used as a means.

The teaching of the Church is that intrinsically evil acts are immoral due to the moral object. It does not matter if the intrinsically evil act is an end or a means. And the choice of an act with an evil moral object is immoral regardless of whether the good effect is obtained by means of the bad effect or not.

You mistakenly think that a woman can take a pill (and remain sexually active) if the medical effect is independent of the contraceptive effect. The evaluation of whether the good effect is obtained by means of the bad effect matters when evaluating the circumstances. But you are still failing to evaluate (or even acknowledge the existence of) the moral object.

An act with an evil moral object is not justified by the principle of double effect even if the good effect is not obtained by means of the bad effect. The deliberate choice of an intrinsically evil act (an act with an evil moral object) is always wrong, period. Not, always wrong only if it is a means. Not, sometimes wrong depending on purpose.

To determine if an act is intrinsically evil, you must determine the moral object of the deliberately chosen act. This moral object determines the moral nature of the act, whether it is an inherently disordered act, or an inherently ordered act. I don't think you have any idea what a moral object is.

So the problem is that you are posting your ideas about an issue of grave morality, without understanding the basic teachings of the Church on intrinsic evil. If you understand these teachings, then why don't you post below the answers to these questions:

1. What is a moral object?
2. What makes an object good or evil?
3. Why does an evil moral object make the act intrinsically evil?
4. What happens if an act has more than one moral object, one good and one evil?
5. When does the principle of double effect justify an act with an evil moral object?
6. When is it moral to cooperate with the act of another person, when their act is intrinsically evil?
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  #7  
Old 17th September 2015, 10:10 PM
zzzz zzzz is offline
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Quote:
1. What is a moral object?
2. What makes an object good or evil?
3. Why does an evil moral object make the act intrinsically evil?
4. What happens if an act has more than one moral object, one good and one evil?
5. When does the principle of double effect justify an act with an evil moral object?
6. When is it moral to cooperate with the act of another person, when their act is intrinsically evil?

So, here are my answers (of course, I may be wrong somewhere, as you say) :

1. It's what we choose. But precisely, in the hypothetical case we are dealing with, the contraceptive effect is not intended. It's only a bad consequence, independent from the good consequence. What is chosen is to take the pill, to heal, and to have a sexual union. None of those things is bad in itself. So that's why it seems to me it's a case where the principle of double effect may apply.

2. good = the natural purpose of things is respected/evil = the the natural purpose of things is not respected

3. Because our choice is evil precisely when we choose an evil thing.

4. Then it's evil.

5. The principle of double effect only justifies evil effects, not evil objects. So I think the answer is : never

6. If a cooperation is by definition an intended thing, then never.
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Old 17th September 2015, 10:32 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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1. The moral object is the end, in terms of morality, toward which the knowingly chosen act is inherently directed. By choosing any concrete act, we necessarily choose the act, its ordering towards its object, and that object. But you cannot choose an object independent of the act; the object is intrinsic to the act because the act is intrinsically ordered toward the object.

2. moral objects are good when they are ordered toward the love of God above all else and the love of neighbor as self. Love is the basis for judging each of the three fonts of morality to be good or evil. When a moral object is deprived of a good required by the love of God and neighbor, then the object is evil, and the choice of any act ordered toward that end is evil.

3. because the chosen act is ordered toward an evil proximate end (object).

4. Then it's evil. (correct)

5. Never. (correct)

6. The principle of cooperation does not depend solely on intention. It is wrong to intentionally cooperate with whatever is evil in another person's act. It is also wrong if your act is inherently ordered toward assisting the other person's act in achieving an evil moral object. And it is wrong if your act does more harm than good (to put it succinctly).

Your act can be moral, even if the other person's act is intrinsically evil, if you have only good in your intention, and only good in the moral object of your chosen act, and if your act does not do more harm than good.

zzzz -- You speak as if morality were based only on intention and circumstances. Your description of intrinsically evil acts and the moral object is entirely wrong. Every intrinsically evil act is immoral regardless of intention or circumstances. The moral object is not the end intended by the person, it is the end inherent to the chosen act.
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  #9  
Old 19th September 2015, 09:39 PM
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You say :
Quote:
The moral object is not the end intended by the person, it is the end inherent to the chosen act

If by "the end inherent to the chosen act" you mean what necessarily results from the chosen act, then I don't understand how the principle of double effect can be moral. Indeed, this principle justifies a bad effect that results from the chosen act.
Can you explain?
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  #10  
Old 19th September 2015, 10:08 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zzzz View Post
You say :
If by "the end inherent to the chosen act" you mean what necessarily results from the chosen act, then I don't understand how the principle of double effect can be moral. Indeed, this principle justifies a bad effect that results from the chosen act.
Can you explain?

The end inherent to the act is not necessarily the same as the end result.
All three fonts are a type of end:
1. the intended end
2. the end inherent to the act
3. the consequences (end result)

Example:
1. Alice intends to kill her neighbor Bob (intended end)
2. Alice chooses an act ordered toward the direct killing of an innocent (object)
3. Alice succeeds and Bob dies (end result). Other consequences also occur: harm to his family, the loss of the state of grace in Alice, etc.

It might seem as if the death of Bob is the end of all three fonts. But each font is ordered toward that end in different ways.

And for some examples of acts, the three ends are dissimilar:

1. physician intends to save a mother's life
2. he chooses an act ordered toward directly killing the innocent prenatal
3. the child dies; the mother lives

He does not intend the death of the prenatal, but the act he has chosen is nevertheless ordered toward that end. Suppose that he fails to kill the prenatal. The chosen act was still ordered toward that end, so it is still immoral.

Example:
One couple chooses to use contraception, but the contraception fails and they conceive a child. They chose an act ordered toward thwarting procreation (intrinsically evil), but a child was procreated. The act is evil, even though the result (procreation) was good.

Another couple chooses natural marital relations open to life, but no child happens to be procreated on that occasion. The chosen act was ordered toward a good end, but that end did not result.

It is not the attainment of the moral object that makes the act good or evil, but rather the intentional choice of the disordered act.

The PDE justifies an act when:
1. only good is intended
2. the chosen act has only good in the moral object
3. the good effects equal or outweigh the bad effects

The good and bad effects are not the moral object, although in some examples of acts, the moral object is related to the effects. You intend to steal an object, you choose an act ordered toward depriving the owner of that good, and you succeed in doing so.
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