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)…

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