Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Yet another reason Catholics oppose contraception but affirm natural family planning (NFP)...

...is the relationship between technology and morality.

Some people respond to the fact that all Christians opposed contraception less than 100 years ago (see yesterday) by saying that technology has changed and we need to understand morality in light of technology. The pill didn’t exist back then; times have changed.

A Catholic would respond that this is precisely backward. Technology needs to be understood in light of morality. We have developed nuclear weapons; does their existence change the moral prohibition against mass slaughter? We have developed ways to harvest stem cells from living embryos; does this justify ending human life for scientific experiments? We have developed medical means to reduce the likelihood of becoming pregnant; does this change the nature of the sexual act?

To all of the above, the Catholic Church says “no”. Just because we “can” doesn’t always mean we “should”.

We have also developed an understanding of how women’s bodies work; particularly their fertility. We now understand how to tell if a woman is fertile or not with a high degree of accuracy (at least as effective as the pill). Does this mean we can use this technology to avoid intercourse when it’s likely to result in pregnancy? Yes, it does because this technological advance doesn’t manipulate the intended nature of sexual union (more on that tomorrow).

Technology isn’t always bad in the Church’s eyes. The Church embraces medicine, communications, and all the rest. However, morality never changes because it’s rooted in God. Just because we can do things now that used to be impossible doesn’t automatically make them moral.

This is yet another reason Catholics reject contraception but affirm NFP.

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