If Contraception, Why Not Gay Marriage?

In his book Heretics, G. K. Chesterton writes,

There are some people — and I am one of them — who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy’s numbers, but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy. We think the question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether in the long run, anything else affects them.

Chesterton is making the point that one’s general system of values is an all-important factor in the choices he makes. For example, someone who subscribes to Ayn Rand’s “philosophy of selfishness,” or to Peter Singer’s judgment that infanticide is permissible because of utilitarian values, or to Christopher Hitchens’s view that religion is the most dangerous thing on earth, or to theologian Rev. Richard McBrien’s claim that popes have no authority in morals, can be expected to act in certain ways and take certain positions when confronted with choices. If we know their world view, we do not have 100 percent certainty about particular choices they might make under particular circumstances — but we do have high probability.

The Catholic analytic philosopher G. E. M. Anscombe (1919-2001), whose 1958 article “Modern Moral Philosophy” instigated new movements in “virtue ethics” and renewed interest in natural law, astonished her academic colleagues at Cambridge University in 1979 by publishing Contraception and Chastity, a defense of the Catholic Church’s position on contraception. Anscombe’s influence is still being felt in the United States via the Anscombe Society at Princeton University.

Analytic philosophy is famous for investigating logical connections, even in ethics, and Anscombe draws out the inescapable deductions that can be made from a value system accepting contraception:

If contraceptive intercourse is permissible, then what objection could there be after all to mutual masturbation, or copulation in vase indebito, sodomy, buggery, when normal copulation is impossible or inadvisable (or in any case, according to taste)? … But if such things are all right, it becomes perfectly impossible to see anything wrong with homosexual intercourse, for example. I am not saying: if you think contraception all right you will do these other things; not at all. The habit of respectability persists and old prejudices die hard. But I am saying: you will have no solid reason against these things. You will have no answer to someone who proclaims as many do that they are good too. You cannot point to the known fact that Christianity drew people out of the pagan world, always saying no to these things. Because, if you are defending contraception, you will have rejected Christian tradition…. For in contraceptive intercourse you intend to perform a sexual act which, if it has a chance of being fertile, you render infertile. Qua your intentional action, then, what you do is something intrinsically unapt for generation (emphasis added).

In other words, Anscombe is saying that, if you believe you have a right to non-procreative sexual intercourse, you have no right to criticize non-procreative sex by others — for example, by a gay couple. You may justify your personal practices on the basis of your genuine mutual love and commitment to lifelong fidelity. But homosexuals may be even more intensely in love with each other and even more firmly committed to mutual fidelity. They may even be more open to procreation than you are, through adoption or through in vitro fertilization. To want to have sex without the possibility of offspring, and condemn others for similarly non-procreative sex, would be blatantly inconsistent.

According to polls, more than 80 percent of Catholic married couples are using various kinds of contraceptives in order to prevent or separate births. But there is no necessary connection between control of births and contraception. Natural family planning (NFP), which is approved by the Church and often used by couples who want to identify a woman’s fertile periods in order to have children, can also be used to space out births without contraceptives. NFP has been shown in various studies to be just as effective as the contraceptive pill. Systematic development and improvement of the Billings method of NFP over the years has been carried out at Creighton University. The Pope Paul VI institute at Creighton has a good history of assisting married and unmarried women with irregular cycles and other problems.

A variety of objections to gay marriage have been offered. Some oppose it because it arbitrarily redefines marriage, or because it is not suitable for children to have gay parents, or because it will involve greater taxpayer burdens for Medicare and Social Security down the line, and so forth. But if we are part of that 80 percent of Catholics who are also involved in non-procreative sex, we cannot take the “high road” and be opposed to gay marriage because of “immorality.” At the very least, Catholics who choose artificial contraceptive methods, in the interests of consistency, should modify their opposition to gay marriage. If and when they follow the Church’s teaching on contraception, which has not changed over two thousand years and was reiterated by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, they will have a more secure moral justification for their opposition.

Howard Kainz


Howard Kainz is professor emeritus at Marquette University. He is the author of several books, including Natural Law: an Introduction and Reexamination (2004), The Philosophy of Human Nature (2008), and The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct (2010).

  • Gian

    Is Do not lie with mankind as with womankind not a sufficient reason?

  • Deacon Ed


    I once was giving a talk to our parish RCIA program about the Church’s teaching on marriage and contraception. One older woman (Catholic) whose husband was entering the Church could not understand why the Church who “wanted married couples to have lots of babies” would be against in vitro fertilization (which her married daughter had).

    I explained to her and the group that the unitive and procreative aspects of sexual intercourse were integral to the meaning of marriage. Explaining to her that removing one of these elements amounted to tampering with the essential nature of the act, it began to make sense.

    In vitro fertilization and contraception share this common problem – one essential element to the act is removed (the unitive in the former and the procreative in the latter). Contraception and homosexual acts also share this same problem, but in both instances the procreative is missing.

    The basic problem – no one nowadays knows what marriage is and what its purposes are. How can it be otherwise when half of marriages end in divorce? Don’t believe me? Ask as many married Catholics as you can what marriage is and its purposes. Better yet….don’t ask!

    • Michael PS

      Oh, there is no mystery about the purpose of marriage – it is to establish the juridical bond between men and their children. Even a pagan jurist, like Paulus, could see that: “the mother is always certain,” he observes, “but marriage points out the father.” His wife’s children are his, because she is his.

      That led the French Senate to declare that “Preserving the presumption ” is est pater quem nuptiae demonstrant “, [Dig. 2, 4, 5; 1] adopted in all European legislation as Ms. Frédérique Granet-Lambrechts, professor at the Robert Schuman University of Strasbourg, told your reporter, Article 312 of Civil Code provides that a child conceived or born during the marriage has the husband for its father.
      The presumption of paternity of the husband rests on the obligation of fidelity between spouses and reflects the commitment made by the husband during the celebration of marriage, to raise the couple’s children. The report presenting the order to the President of the Republic rightly points out that ” it is, in the words of Dean Carbonnier, the ‘heart of marriage,’ and cannot be questioned without losing for this institution its meaning and value.””

      No wonder both the law professors (154 of them in the 1999 symposium) and the courts of that strictly secular country decisively rejected same-sex marriage, whilst allowing a robust system of civil unions for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. In fact 90% of PACS (civil unions) are between opposite-sex couples.

      « le cœur du mariage, ce n’est pas le couple, c’est la présomption de paternité » [“The heart of marriage is not the couple, but the presumption of paternity.”]

  • Michael PS


    Hardly, unless you are prepared to accept all the other prohibitions in Leviticus 18. Now, Canon 3 of the 24th Session of the Council of Trent says: “If any one says, that those degrees only of consanguinity and affinity, which are set down in Leviticus, can hinder matrimony from being contracted, and dissolve it when contracted; and that the Church cannot dispense in some of those degrees, or establish that others may hinder and dissolve it ; let him be anathema.”

    In other words, it is formal heresy to affirm that the Church cannot dispense with some of the prohibitions in Leviticus 18, although the Council studiously refrained (because the Fathers were not agreed) from listing those that were and those that were not dispensable. In practice, Pope Alexander VI ,of famous memory, had granted dispensations to King Ferdinand of Sicily to marry his aunt of the half-blood and to Emanuel I, King of Portugal to marry his deceased wife’s sister. Likewise Pope Julius II had granted a dispensation tot he future Henry VIII of England to marry the widow of his deceased brother and the Council of Trent had these precedents before them, in making their decree.

    Again, Leviticus 18 says nothing of women, unless we follow the Jewish sages in holding that lesbian acts are included in the prohibition in verse 3 “You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live…”

    After all, it is only the teaching, tradition and authority of the Church that determines which of the prohibitions in the Book of Leviticus are binding on Christians and which are not.

    The only logical distinction is between those act that are apt for generation and those that are not. As Miss Anscombe says in the essay cited, “It can’t be the mere pattern of bodily behaviour in which the stimulation is procured that makes all the difference!”

    • Two things Michael: The Church cannot dispense from Romans chapter one which says that gay actions are against the natural use…both genders. Secondly, Miss Anscombe should have taken her husband’s surname/ should have called herself Mrs./ and should not have smoked cigars. I’m done for the day.

      • Michael PS

        I never suggested the Church could dispense from Romans 1. I did say that Leviticus 18 was a doubtful authority, at best, for laws binding on Christians. Leviticus 18:13 (“Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: because she is the flesh of thy father,”) forbids marriage with a paternal aunt, (and “avot” in Hebrew includes the half-blood i.e. a daughter of one’s father’s father) yet, in 1496, Pope Alexander VI granted a dispensation to Ferdinand II of Sicily to marry Joan, the daughter of his grandfather, Ferdinand I and his second wife, Joan of Aragon.

        How far the dispensing power goes, I do not know: every Canonist in Christendom denounced Alexander VI’s dispensation, but he appears to have been vindicated by a ecumenical council, reluctant to bastardise the House of Bourbon to gratify the Reformers,l and, in reliance on the Tridentine decree, in the 18th century, a similar dispensation was granted to Duke Victor Emmanuel of Savoy, to marry his niece.

        As I say, in such matters, scripture is a poor guide, compared to pontifical and curial practice.

      • Rafael

        What is the theological problem with cigars?

  • Charles F

    Indeed contraception acts to destroy the very bond of marriage. Many who practice it see the discord and separation spread throughout matters of marriage. Very few that practice contraception throughout their marriage can sustain it. Usually eventually one or both members desire children as their path to married life reflects and may have revealed sooner with closer discernment, and the marriage must take on its full meaning, or unfortunately sometimes dissolve, to allow that. It is a great rejection of love to contracept and damages ones relationship.

    However, in these marriages there is still a conscious understanding of the procreative properties of the marital bed. There is a conscious concern for spouse’s fertility (or infertility since we’re talking purpose/desire, not just results). They unfortunately stop it using ever more destructive – physically and spiritually – means to do so as they bump up against the various failure rates. There is a desire for unitive response (or rejection) to their love. Their fates are tied together, if not fully or eternally.

    In effect contraceptive marriages appear to be similar to homosexual marriages. But they are not any way similar at all. Homosexual marriages require little attention to a spouse’s fertility. What little there is is really a reflection in just one spouse. And contrary to heterosexual marriage and its unitive and eternal effects, the spouse’s desire for motherhood/fatherhood seeks to destroys the relationship as it reveals the great lie of homosexual relationships. Even if the homosexual couple performs a series of manipulations to have a child then the child, again, contrary to heterosexual marriage and its unitive and eternal bonds, serves to undermine the relationship. Just as a child feels separated and less than their parent begets a child in a new union. The adoptive homosexual parent never feels fully part of the family. Some homosexual couples have tried to ameliorate this fact by willful ignorance – such as Elton John and partner refusing to in

    • Charles F


      inquire which one of their sperm succeeded in fertilizing the egg in a petri dish.

      As you look closely at these relationships contraceptive marriages is indeed a fraud, rejecting love and fostering separation, but they reveal much of a true marriage. Not just in physical effect – which is plain as day and most commonly focused on – but also its reflection of love and concern for the full nature of ones spouse.The point is that: It is a marriage in not just the physical sense, but also in the emotional and transcendent sense that homosexual marriages can never be. Repeat: never can be. And with great love and support even contraceptive marriages can be fully reconciled and understand the full fruits of their marriage.

  • Briana

    Let’s keep in mind that birth control can always potentially fail, so perhaps this hasn’t completely annihilated arguments against gay marriage. It HAS severely weakened them, but has not obliterated them. So if we were to work this into our arguments, we still have a chance.

  • BGilroy


    Far from it, I think the article says that for someone to go on and on about how it’s grand to lie with womankind as one does with mankind, all the while criticizing their neighbor who lies with a man as he would a woman (and ignoring the ole steak in the eye) doesn’t show a tremendous amount of thoughtfulness and perspective.

  • Michael PS

    One obvious difference between same-sex couples on the one hand and opposite-sex couples, even those who are incapable of procreation on the other, is the question of “imitated procreation.” In France, this idea has long been at the centre of discussion about same-sex joint plenary adoption: an infertile opposite-sex couple can “make as if they have procreated” [« faire comme s’ils avaient procréé »] In other words, they present to the child, and to the wider community, the model of the natural (procreative) family, which, some experts assert, makes the establishment of the parental bond between the adopters and the adopted child possible or, at least, easier and spares adopted children the additional difficulty of having to integrate into a “non-standard” family, however loving.

    In essence, a married couple (man and woman) are united in a parental alliance that affords a child, natural or adopted, an indivisible filiatition. It is precisely their legal bond to each other that makes their joint commitment to the child an objective, juridical reality, recognized and enforced in the public sphere, that is, by the law.

    This, in itself, disposes of the silly arguments that one sometimes hears, about infertile opposite-sex couples.

  • James Duffy

    There is often a big difference between official Vatican edicts and what Catholics believe at the grassroots level. Having been raised in an upper-middle-class, suburban Maryland Catholic family in the 1960s and 1970s, I’ve found that Catholics tend to be more socially progressive and supportive of social justice than, say, your average Baptists. Most Catholics practice artificial birth control. My own very Catholic mother, after four children, decided to have a tubal ligation. She considered it a personal decision. And when it comes to treating their Gay friends and family members with dignity and acceptance, Catholics are often MUCH more progressive than many Protestant denominations.

    • Cord Hamrick


      What point are you making with your post?

      I ask because, while the word “progressive” generally has bad (because Orwellian) connotations, here you seem to be using it sometimes to indicate approval…but not every time.

      On the one hand you call artificial birth control “progressive.” Since this is hypocritical and reflects either ignorance of one’s faith or willful self-damnation, I assume that that use of “progressive” is negative. On the other hand, you call treating gay friends and family members with dignity “progressive”; but this is entirely in accord with Church teachings and you presumably approve of it as well. So there, “progressive” suggests a positive connotation?

      Please clarify, if you don’t mind.

      • James Duffy

        Wow. I didn’t expect some kind of Spanish Inquisition.

        • Marc Mason

          No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

        • Elizabeth

          His (Mr. Hamrick’s) questions are reasonable. Will you answer them?

  • Donna

    But then, if technology changes the possibilities , the position becomes vunerable. Scientists have produced lab mice with female fathers and no male genetic contribution. (Google “Kaguya mouse”. ) If this gets to humans, and two women can have a genetic daughter, would that suddenly ‘normalize’ a lesbian couple adopting ?
    (BTW, I’m playing devil’s advocate here, and don’t think any of this is a good idea.)

    • Donna

      I was trying to answer Michael PS, and messed up the connection.

      • Michael PS

        No, for they would still be employing an artificial technique and would not be able to model the normal (reproductive) family

        As the eminent psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Pierre Lévy-Soussan, told the Pércresse commission: “It is in the child’s best interests to join a nuclear family that is already socially accepted so that he or she does not have to take on the additional task, following a history of abandonment, of adapting to a family that is, for whatever reason, ‘non-standard’.” He believes that in order to be successful, adoption must lead to a psychological filiation that “allows for a nexus of the three elements that are basic to any society: the biological, the social and the subjective dimensions specific to human beings. The psychological strength of this construction exceeds the purely biological connection of filiation and provides it with security. The security and ‘truth’ of this filiation are based on childbirth, on a potential or actual procreative relationship between a man and a woman, allowing the fictional filiation through the encounter with the other sex, alive and of the same generation. The fictional filiation can then be experienced as true, consistent and reasonable.”The difference in sex between the two members of the parental couple thus seems to him indispensable if the adoption “graft” is to take.

  • Teej

    It seems to me that Natural Family Planning is a form of contraception that cannot be as easily distinguished from artificial forms as some Catholics would like to do. Humanae Vitae teaches that the procreative and the unitive are indispensable ends of the sex act. People who engage in the use of NFP are by virtue of doing so having sex only when they “know” that procreation cannot occur (the fact that the author makes the point that NFP is more effective, according to certain studies, than artificial birth control makes clear this intention). One is not “open” to procreation when they only have sex when they cannot conceive. If you are going to oppose artificial contraception, I see know reason how you can support NFP since the motivation is identical.

    • Statman

      Humanae Vitae actually addresses this in paragraph 16 (quoted below). The bottom line is that the morality of an act is based on both the action itself and the motivation, not just the motivation.

      “The Church is coherent with herself when she considers recourse to the infecund periods to be
      licit, while at the same time condemning, as being always illicit, the use of means directly
      contrary to fecundation, even if such use is inspired by reasons which may appear honest and
      serious. In reality, there are essential differences between the two cases; in the former, the
      married couple make legitimate use of a natural disposition; in the latter, they impede the
      development of natural processes. It is true that, in the one and the other case, the married couple
      are concordant in the positive will of avoiding children for plausible reasons, seeking the
      certainty that offspring will not arrive; but it is also true that only in the former case are they able
      to renounce the use of marriage in the fecund periods when, for just motives, procreation is not
      desirable, while making use of it during infecund periods to manifest their affection and to
      safeguard their mutual fidelity. By so doing, they give proof of a truly and integrally honest love.”

      • Teej

        I know, hence my additional comment immediately following my initial post. My point is that if procreation is an end of sex, I don’t see how a couple remains open to the occurrence of that end when they engage in the given action that will bring about that end only when they know that the end will not occur.

        • Teej

          Nix the above… it was worded badly. will respond when I actually have more time.

        • Statman

          Again, HV para 16:

          “To this question it is necessary
          to reply with clarity: the Church is the first to praise and recommend the intervention of
          intelligence in a function which so closely associates the rational creature with his Creator; but the affirms that this must be done with respect for the order established by God.”

          In other words, if you have a serious reason to pursue a particular result, you still must adhere to the principle that the ends don’t justify the means. This is true in all aspects of our lives, not just marriage. God has given us the intellegence to figure out this aspect of his creation, so we are licitly able to use it.

          The Church has figured out that there are legitimate reasons for some couples to have children right now (economic, physical & psychological reasons all apply if serious). To not allow NFP would be to condemn couples who have those reasons to have to pursue parenthood anyway. Thus, the Church falls to the position that such decisions be made in prayer and with respect to God’s order of creation instead of selfishly and with means specifically designed to frustrate His design.

          Hope this helps. Peace.

        • Teej, it’s a good and common question, but maybe this will help clear it up for you?


          Sexual intercourse is always ordered toward procreation, but the Church has never said that avoiding pregnancy is intrinsically immoral. It’s an “ends and means” issue, and you might be confusing ends and means.

    • Kathryn

      Not entirely true here; NFP can and has been used to help low-fertilty couples achieve pregnancy. Contraception can’t do that.

    • Sam Schmitt

      I see no reason how you can support NFP since the motivation is identical [to contraception].

      Identical motivation does not make two acts morally equivalent. My motivation for earning money through a job and stealing may be the same, but they are obviously morally different.

  • Teej

    Even forgoing the issue of motivation, eliminating the possibility that one of the ends can be achieved is to undermine, according to HV, the wholeness of the sex act.

  • Melissa

    When used properly, NFP does not create a contraceptive mentality. God gave women naturally infertile periods in her cycle for a reason: to give us the opportunity to space pregnancies when we have a grave reason for doing so (determining whether one has a “grave reason” is a matter of conscience that couples must work out with their priest and the guidance of the Holy Spirit). Thus, to say that contraceptive sex is the same as NFP is false. There are no artificial barriers being used by the NFP couple. Furthermore, the method encourages dialogue, chastity, and self-control — virtues that are not encouraged by artificial contraception. Artificial contraception is all about getting what you want when you want it and without any concern or care about the consequences; artificial contraception completely removes all respect for or appreciation of the procreative function of sexual intercourse. In short, it is an aberration. Now, NFP can be abused, of course; however, even in the cases where couples are delaying pregnancies for non-crucial reasons, they are still respecting the procreative act by exercising the virtue of chastity.

    • Melissa,
      Now put yourself in mainland China in a province that is brutal on the one child policy (October of 2010 saw the forced abortion by the government of a woman’s second child).
      You are 22 years old and have one child and if you have one more or 5 more children by virtue of your body and NFP by your mid 40’s, each child will be ripped from you by the government and you’ll be fined again. What do you do? And before you say abstain in a Josephite marriage, are you aware that I Cor. 7 says there are two groups of Christians: those who can abstain since they can take or leave marriage (verse 27) and those who are to marry rather than burn with desire and who ought not abstain overlong lest the devil enter into their marriage (verse 5). What if you are of the latter group in China…..you are not to abstain overlong lest satan enter your situation and NFP is less effective for you as opposed to other women. Could you spend over 20 years sanely….thinking your next child will be killed…or your next several children will be whereas
      a male sterilization would end that tribulation. Keep in mind that while Pope Pius XI called sterilization “mutilation”, actually 29 Popes cooperated with the castrati system whereby boys between 9 and 12 were castrated with the hopes of singing in the papal churches. New Advent seems to have blocked out the topic but major encyclopedias will have the account. The Vatican began it before opera and had it 78 years past opera when Pope Leo XIII stopped it. One Pope is said to have wanted to stop it before Leo but such singers filled the churches with laity more so than churches without the castrati.
      My own position is that the Church should not bind especially the Chinese in such matters unless the Popes are willing to step forward and do a clearly infallible encyclical on this. Humanae Vitae was introduced at its press conference as “non-infallible” twice by Msgr. Lambrushini who was not corrected in subsequent weeks publicly by Paul VI which would have been requisite if Paul VI did not tell him to do so in the first place. Ergo Paul VI told him to state it which would explain the twice stated aspect also.
      What would you do as a Chinese? Don’t answer here but think on these outside the USA cases where money and safety nets like social security fir widows don’t exist.

      • Ann

        Bill, you are completely off topic but I can’t resist. the Chinese one child policy is a perfect example of the contraceptive mentality-that we are gods and can control creation. God is the creator and artificial birth control is working against the creator. The Chinese govt. has put itself in the position of a god with the one child policy. It is artificial contraception that gave China the methods to enforce this horrendous policy. Had newer and “better” methods of artificial contraception not been developed and pushed by the UN on developing economies, China would not have a one child policy. The way I see it your question is really the best argument for NFP. As to your question, of course the answer is that we follow Church teaching. It doesn’t matter how hard it is to do so. Church teaching is still true and good. If we know the truth and fail to follow it, then we have to fall on God’s mercy. And I know that you will ridicule this reply but go ahead take your best shot.

        • Ann
          But is the teaching true for sure? Are you aware of the dogmatic nuances involved? Prominent theologian Germain Grisez e.g. holds that the teaching is infallible in the universal ordinary magisterium but even he noted in an interview that with the silence of Bishops, the laity has no obligation to agree with him, Germain Grisez. It’s not just silence though. Preceding 1997 John Paul polled the world’s bishops on moral issues in an effort to state infallibly about them without doing ex cathedra. The Bishops successfully agreed with him on the infallibility of abortion and euthanasia and killing the innocent as universal ordinary magisterium. It was printed of each in Evangelium Vitae but absent was birth control even though it was addressed non infallibly in EV. The poll as papal correspondence of John Paul is private until 2080 but any student of these issues knows that John Paul tried for but failed to get Bishop agreement on birth control. It would have saved a future Pope from doing an ex cathedra encyclical which requires great research.
          Some very good theologians of the 20th century did not agree with Germain Grisez (and several were more prominent than he) that this
          matter is clearly true…(and not just odd theologians
          like Hans Kung and Charles Curran) but also a
          previous enforcer of the papal position from the 1950’s, Fr. Bernard Haring, who changed under force of difficult situations he saw other than my example. No Pope gainsaid his dissent. Karl Rahner was another who publicly urged laity to
          follow a studious prayerful conscience as per
          Catholic moral theology manuals and Rahner had a postmortem symposium of his theology at the Lateran at which Archbishop Amato of the CDF called him an orthodox theologian.

          It’s simple. Let a Pope step forward and do an ex cathedra encyclical whose purpose partly is to clarify a disputed issue. Benedict instead is writing books on the gospel Christ. John Paul instead wrote TOB lectures which are below the dogmatic status of even an encyclical. He had ample time to do an ex cathedra encyclical and he did not ( do not cite rumors that Ratzinger told him not to…the rumor never made sense). With 96% dissent in the US (USCCB site) not 80% as the article says, ex cathedra alone could make a dent in this problem.
          But it would require a Pope to face problems like the fact that unitive had little parlance until modern times. From Augustine til the 19th century, it was procreation and concupiscence that the main texts talked of….not procreation and the unitive. That is why conservatives fought the natural methods when they began to be approved increasingly in the late 19th and early 20th century.
          And very few Popes have written on this matter at all….maybe ten out of 265. Look at footnote 4 of HV…Paul VI found less than Noonan did. It was in canon law forever but so was support of slavery of a child born to a slave mother….Aquinas gives the cite in his supplement. It was in early Councils though and in penitentials. The question is….was it always based on celibate psychology which resembles the psychology if the one group in I Cor.7…..the ones who can take or leave marriage (verse 27). Celibates alone wrote on this topic until modern times and celibates are like the marrieds of I Cor.7:27. As Bernard Haring pointed out….what of the marrieds of I Cor. 7:5.

          • Melissa

            Ann and Kathryn have already presented strong arguments explaining why a rampant contraceptive mentality in regards to human sexuality has gotten China into the mess it’s in. They’ve argued admirably against what could best be described as a red herring in this particular argument. Before I give the objection the attention that all logical fallacies deserve — that is, none — I would just like to add that contraception *is* officially considered an offense to the sacrament of matrimony, as defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2370), and the cultivation of chastity is encouraged for both married and non-married people (CCC 2349). Moreover, “periodic abstinence, that is, the methods of birth regulations based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality” (CCC 2370). Thus, as far as the Church is concerned, this matter is closed. The debate is over: artificial contraception is an offense and Natural Family Planning methods are acceptable. As a side note, research has shown that a rise in contraceptive use is correlated to a rise in elective abortions — even the Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood) reported this (though they tried their best to couch it in language that implied the opposite; however, the numbers don’t lie).

          • Mellisa
            The case will be closed if a Pope ever takes the trouble to write an ex cathedra encyclical on it. And no one wants to because the research involved comes up against a host of contradictions.
            Outside the ex cathedra venue, the ordinary magisterium is insufficient where there is great dissent. That’s what the ex cathedra venue is for: to finalize the disputed. Thomas Aquinas and Augustine dissented before definition on the immaculate conception. The ex cathedra encyclical on the Immaculate Conception closed off the position of Augustine and
            Catechism’s don’t close off the positions of substantial theologians for the educated Catholic of Popes fail to employ ex cathedra possibly out of fear of immense work. For example, Trent’s catechism stated delayed ensoulement in the section on the Incarnation and you have been taught something quite different by pro life writers who push up ensoulement quite far. That matter is unsettled though and Trent’s catechism did not close off the matter.
            What you and Ann did above was skip the predicament of the Chinese couple and switch rather to blaming China for their situation. But neither of you solved the couple’s existential predicament. You did an apologetics dance away from couple and toward macro blame. That’s why though such apologetics confirm the pew and convert no one new.

      • Kathryn

        We’ve been thru this before Bill. I am not aware of the Vatican issuing an Encylical about the stopping at stop signs and red lights at busy intersections. Just because an infallible document hasn’t been issued doesn’t change reality. (Heck if I am gonna run a red on East Main and Sag Ave on purpose!)

        The simple fact of the matter is contraception does not work to reduce abortions. If it did, then, possibly you might have an arguement, but it does not.


        (Sexual Wisdom by Wetzel MD has more quotes and documentation on this.)

        NFP is the better way to go.

        The Chinese do not need contraception. They need conversion to Christ and the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I grant this is probably a long time in coming and much easy to say than do.

        • Kathryn
          If all NY City was sterilized (excepting the 6 month initial period) you and such authors would have us believe that NY would still have abortions even though all people got sterilized and thete are no babies.
          And you wonder why Yale doesn’t have courses on Catholic apologetics. They might view us as addicted to apriori casuistry and salesmen techniques.

          • Kathryn

            Actaully, no I don’t wonder why Yale doesn’t do Catholic apologetics. Thought never even crossed my mind.

            And sterilization has its own downsides, both medical and social.


            Wetzle also has something to say about sterilization in his book noted above.

          • Kathryn

            I am going to reply to my own (and your) post. Contraception/sterilization probably does reduce abortion in the long term—fewer babies born, fewer become adults who reproduce. Since contraception and sterilization do little to prevent STDs—and many STDs lead to sterility–that , too, ultimately would lead to fewer abortions over the long term since many babies who would otherwise have been aborted, would never have been conceived. Or, if conceived, might die in utero (due to uterine damage) before a woman realizes she is pregnant and would seek an abortion.

            Eventually, a society ends up with population decline. No population. No abortions. Apparently, China is planning on relaxing it One-Child Policy because the Govt realizes how disastrous it has been for them. Of course, they aren’t about to give us control yet. And I have to wonder based on my conversations with acquaintances and those I over hear at various places around town if the Chinese are really in a rush to have more than one kid anyway. Perhaps once given a choice to have two, they will simply opt to have one like many, many people seem to be doing here in our own country.


          • Kathryn
            There’s reasons China is not “giving us control yet”…lol. The Catholic rep in the 1860’s (France) helped force British opium via India on China by war…the Second Opium War to be exact. A Chinese provincial leader begged Queen Victoria by letter to stop the flow of opium….she never answered. The Pope was silent because France was defending the papal territories back in Europe. So you have a long wait before they’ll trust the West as innocent.

          • PS Kathryn
            Pope Benedict convinced China that Benedict is a fibber. In his letter to China several years ago, Benedict stated that the Church does not seek to overturn governments but simply to have a place at rational discussions.
            Well….pan to George Weigel’s first book on John Paul II where Weigel brags that John Paul II helped overthrow two governments……the Marcoes in the Phillipines and communism in Poland.
            So you have Benedict saying we don’t overthrow and we have recent history saying we do. Duhya thunk China trusts Benedict as a truth teller?

  • Micha Elyi

    Why does the author participate in the continued perversion of the word “gay” when the word “sham” is more appropriate?

  • Howard Kainz

    @Micha Elyi: (“Why does the author participate in the continued perversion of the word “gay” when the word “sham” is more appropriate?”) The original title of my article was “Gay Marriage and Catholic Inconsistency,” but this was re-titled editorially. If I had substituted “Sham Marriage,” this would have been confusing, since there are multiple types of sham marriage. There would be a problem also with “Homosexual marriage,” since this is a contradiction in terms, if you know what marriage is and always has been. I try to avoid Orwellian “doublespeak,” but here we’re talking about events in New York and elsewhere where this term is used, so I wanted the “subject-matter” to be clear.

  • Paul Rimmer

    Dr. Kainz,

    What a wonderful argument you (and Anscombe) give for gay rights, civil unions, even gay marriage!

    Many thanks for this,


  • Howard Kainz

    @Paul Rimmer: Neither I nor Anscombe are arguing for gay rights, etc. The point of argument is only that there is an inescapable logical connection between contraception and these other developments.

  • Paul Rimmer

    @Dr. Kainz,

    I agree, that is your original intent. But, as a Protestant who accepts that contraception is ethical, how else would I interpret this argument?

    How else will many Catholics, who accept that contraception is ethical, see this argument?

    For the 3-% of Christians who actually accept traditional Catholic teaching on contraception, this is another strong argument against it.

    For the 97+% of Christians who reject Catholic teaching on contraception, this is an excellent argument for gay rights, civil unions, and gay marriage.

    So, for the effect this sort of argumentation will have on the vast majority of Christianity, I say to Anscombe and to you, bravo!

    • Cord Hamrick


      But can they (the folk whom you applaud) still be called Christians, at the end of the day? If so, on what logical basis?

      Naturally, I don’t doubt they’ll call themselves that (and of course one ought always to hope and pray for the salvation of their souls).

      But I mean objectively.

      Christianity, to be Christianity, must appeal to some sort of identifiable norms. And, for it to be Christianity, those norms must match the beliefs held and the morals practiced (or, at least, imperfectly attempted) by the vast majority of the Christians in history, especially those whose Christianity is considered to be exemplar.

      But that presents us a quandary, for all our exemplars, through all of history, are uniformly in opposition to your view.

      The apostles taught that mutual masturbation between same-gendered persons was a grave evil (at least we know that Paul did, and that Peter called his writings “scripture,” and that we have no record of any dispute about the matter, then or later). Their successors seem also to have done so (again no record of dispute). And their successors, and so on. No saint in the history of the church, no great doctor, no martyr, thought to contradict it. All was settled.

      And then, suddenly, a reversal! Not a nuanced development of what already existed, but a firm contradiction of what had been firmly held before: Exactly the sort of thing which John Henry Newman characterized as not an authentic development of the apostolic faith, but an abdication of it.

      Supporters of “gay” “marriage” (two Orwellian euphemisms for the price of one, don’t you think?) assert that, after 2,000 years of history, crossing every society on the globe, suddenly they have found out what the true Christian teaching is about God’s intention for human sexuality and its relevance for childrearing and familial bonding. (Not to say its sacramental role in communicating the divine life of the Trinity to the spouses to assist in what the Eastern Churches call theosis.)

      They alone have discovered what Jesus meant. They alone have teased out what the Apostle Paul really intended to teach. They alone have found the truth, after all these centuries.

      This epiphany, in their view, happened not among those who knew Jesus and the apostles personally, but instead happened here and now: In the deeply sexually confused and ignorant post-Christian West, which is 2,000 years removed from the teaching of the apostles and the echoes of the words of Jesus Christ in first-century Palestine.

      How likely is that?

      And this grand knowledge emerges from…whom? Saints and holy men, accompanied by miracles? (As one would have every reason to expect, were such a new public revelation to be given to us by God at this late date?)

      No: It arises purely from among persons with a vested interest, and from the denizens of academia. No miracles, no record of personal holiness. No real theological or ethical credentials at all.

      (I don’t suppose I have to remind you that, of the 100 worst, stupidest ideas of the last century of human history, the one thing most of them have in common is that you have to have a PhD to be foolish enough to agree with them. Academia is notoriously inbred, self-referential, and a sinkhole in the intellectual life of our country comparable only with Jerry Springer. It is the sole nature-preserve where one may still find the last remaining Marxists, for example, long after that unfit species vanished in the wild. And it is next to impossible to find a saintly academic.)

      Really, how likely is it that that crowd should suddenly detect a higher moral teaching invisible to the holiest of their predecessors for two thousand years?

      With St. Thomas More (at least, as depicted in the movie) I ask, is it probable?

      Christianity is either the faith of the apostles the other New Testament authors and the saints and martyrs and confessors, or it is a vague I-know-not-what, lost to us in the mists of history. There are no other candidates.

      But if we treat the faith of the apostles,et cetera, as normative, then we objectively know, without fear of contradiction by anyone other than the most intellectually dishonest, that mutual masturbation between two men or two women is sin.

      Thus we can assert confidently that to hold otherwise is to hold something other than the Christian faith, if the term “Christian” is to have any meaning.

      One can appeal, of course, to the fact of declaring Christ as one’s personal Lord and Savior, or to one’s baptism, or to the location of one’s posterior on Sunday Mornings, as alternative credentials qualifying a person for the title “Christian.” And in a sense these make for valid credentials, in that they are prerequisites.

      But they are not sufficient in isolation. Christianity is a faith in which orthodoxy matters. Truth matters, because Jesus is the Truth as well as the Way and the Life. One who is estranged from the Truth, is estranged from Jesus. There are those who will say to Him, “Lord, Lord,” to whom He will reply, “I never knew you.”

      And there is also that little ditty, from a rather authoritative source, about teaching “these little ones” to sin, and “a millstone.”

      He who has ears to hear….

      • Paul Rimmer


        There’s a lot of interesting information here, but I’m not sure what sort of response (if any) you are looking for. But you did ask some questions, so I can answer these.

        You asked: “But can they (the folk whom you applaud) still be called Christians, at the end of the day? If so, on what logical basis?”

        I’m not sure I understand the question. Today, of course, we are called Christians. Some people may see us as misguided Christians, or heterodox Christians, etc. But, according to the Catholic, Protestants are already heterodox Christians.

        I am unaware of any serious Christian theologian, including Catholic theologians, including of course one of the best Catholic theologians out there right now: Benedict XVI… I’m unaware of any of these theologians saying that we who confess the Creed and believe on the death of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, and his bodily resurrection three days later, but also favor gay marriage… are not Christian.

        Who is saying that we are not Christian? I’d be the first to agree that I’d make a very bad Catholic.

        At the end of the day (if by this phrase you mean, in the future, when this all settles down some), will Catholics still call us Christians? I have never been good at guessing future developments in society. I don’t know, but I suspect we will.

        What logical basis? What logical basis is there for use Protestants, your “separated brethren” to be called Christian? After all, I reject that the Eucharist is really anything more than bread and wine! How can I still be a Christian? The best answer I can give is that we confess the same creed.

        “And then, suddenly, a reversal! Not a nuanced development of what already existed, but a firm contradiction of what had been firmly held before: Exactly the sort of thing which John Henry Newman characterized as not an authentic development of the apostolic faith, but an abdication of it.”

        This is an excellent example of what I’m getting at! Good old John Henry would probably have thought that the Protestant Reformation was not an authentic development of the apostolic faith. Does he see the reformers and the children of the reformers, as he himself was before he swam the Tiber, does he see them as Christian? I think he would.

        So does wanting gay marriage in my church make me not a Christian? No more than denying the real presence or papal authority makes me not a Christian.

        The final insight I’d leave, implicit in the history you’ve presented (and which the good Dr Kainz has also mentioned), is this:

        Before 1930, almost all Protestants thought that contraception was sinful.

        In the very early 1900’s a small group of Anglicans thought that conraception for very limited, emergency, purposes, was acceptable.

        After 1930, Anglicans accepted contraception for this purpose.

        By 1970, almost all Protestants thought contraception was not only not a sin, but normative.

        By that same time, the majority of Catholic (!) and Orthodox families also practiced contraception.

        And now, contraception is accepted by the majority of Christians of all denominations.

        “According to a nationwide poll of 2,242 U.S. adults surveyed online in September 2005 by Harris Interactive, 90% of Catholics supported the use of birth control/contraceptives.” (Wikipedia; Christian Views on Contraception)

        I think that, in line with this very argument, in another 50 years, the same percentages (90% of Catholics, more of Protestants) will advocate gay marriage.

        The “real Christians” grow smaller in number daily. Maybe they will disappear altogether. But I doubt it. I think oppontents of Gay Marriage will, in 50+ years, be viewed the same way as the Ku Klux Klan. They think they’re the “small group of truly righteous Christian men” still alive. They dress up, they perform their advocacy.

        And they are pretty-much ignored.

        • Cord Hamrick


          A good response; thank you.

          I will answer in two parts:

          Part One

          Here is what I mean about the question of whether a person is Christian or not:

          When I was an Evangelical, I was a Christian, following Christ in (imperfect but earnestly intended) obedience.

          When I became aware (I cannot write it any other way, but since you disagree you may substitute “when I came to the conclusion…” for “when I became aware…”) of the historical basis and superior faithfulness of the Catholic church to Scripture, I was faced with a choice:

          I could either become a Catholic, which meant creating division in my home and family, losing part of my income, stepping into an uncomfortable and culturally alienating new world, and following Jesus Christ in obedience wherever He led me; or,

          I could remain an Evangelical, which meant a safe and predictable path for my family relationships, the likelihood of more job opportunities in the Evangelical music world, and being separated from Jesus Christ.

          I would have, by remaining where I was, looked like an Evangelical Christian on the outside. I would even have continued to profess what I had always professed: And I was a Christian before, would I not therefore still be a Christian thereafter?

          I don’t think so. Not in the deepest sense where sanctification takes place by grace through faith. I would have been outraging the Holy Spirit. I would have thereby chosen to be one of those “who went out from among us, because they never really were of us.” There is, after all, a “sin that leads to death,” just as there was for Adam.

          Or to put it in John 6 terminology: The Catholic church is “a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” What happened to the disciples who “no longer followed him” after saying that? Were they saved?

          I would certainly have been a Christian, in the eyes of the world. But God looks at the heart. What would He see? What can we say about those who said, “Lord, Lord,” but to whom Jesus said, “I never knew you.” Were they Christians? Surely they looked like Christians, if they were saying “Lord, Lord.” But what was Jesus’ opinion on the matter?

          My perspective is, then: It is entirely right to call a person a Christian if they follow the ancient creeds, et cetera. It is even right to call them “saints” as Paul did, writing to the “saints” in this or that place. In all of that you are entirely correct. And when we look at a person from the outside, we ought to give them the benefit of the doubt: If on the outside, they look like a Christian; well, we cannot know the final state of their soul, but the evidence suggests they are what they claim.

          But that is the outsider’s perspective. Each man is not an outsider to himself. He need not rely on external evidence of his own commitment to Christ; he has the “inside track.” He knows if he has refused the call of God…unless he is forcing himself not to think about it. In that case, you might say that he doesn’t know, but it’s not an innocent kind of ignorance.

          I call all my separated brethren “Christians:” How could I not, since I myself was a Christian before I became a Catholic? My becoming a Catholic was a persevering in my faith, not a conversion in the evangelical sense.

          (Alternative Definitions Alert: Catholics speak of “daily conversion” as a mandatory thing for all Christians, and thus it is no strange thing among Catholics to speak of me as a “convert.” But in evangelical terminology, a “convert” is someone who has changed religions. For this reason evangelicals often do not even call Messianic Jews “converts” to Christianity, but use the term “completed Jew.” Only a Muslim or atheist or pagan is truly a “convert.”)

          But in my previous note I wished to appeal to each man’s knowledge of his own dedication to obeying Jesus Christ. He knows if he is a Christian, or merely a “Christian.” He knows if, after setting his hand on the plow, he turned away because a teaching is too hard.

        • Cord Hamrick

          Paul, I continue my reply here:

          Part Two

          Okay, we’ve established that while it is perfectly right to call someone “Christian” on the basis of external evidence. But there remains a problem: What is Christianity?

          This was far less problematic until 1053 or thereabouts, and even after the great schism it was not particularly problematic until 1517, after which it became very problematic indeed.

          That is why we have to appeal to such lowest common denominators as the ancient creeds when judging externally whether someone is a Christian.

          These may seem to be bastions of orthodoxy, but are they? When churches declare their belief in “the communion of saints,” or in “the holy catholic church,” do they define these terms the same way as other churches proclaiming (in theory) the same creed? Do they not rely in fact on ambiguity of terms to create the illusion that their common creeds are in fact common creeds?

          What, then, is Christianity?

          I answer, as I said before, that it is the apostolic faith, or else it is something lost in the mists of time. How shall we attempt to recover it?

          Clearly the Bible gives us insufficient evidence to settle the matter: For, while we might claim that the information about the fullness of the faith is in there, implicitly where not explicitly, still, ambiguity defeats us: For well-intentioned men, calling on the Holy Spirit, and armed with scholarly training and resources, can still honestly disagree about its meaning, on a majority of the core tenets of the faith. If anyone ever doubted this, the last five hundred years have proven it conclusively.

          But patristics, especially the study of the Early and Apostolic Fathers, gives us a way to find Christianity. We read the spiritual diaries and apologies of the men who learned Christianity from the apostles, or of the men who learned Christianity from them. And as we learn what they were taught under the heading “Christianity,” we find that all but the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and certain Anglican views drop out of plausibility pretty quickly.

          Likewise with sexuality. Catholic theology of sex is richer and deeper and more profound than the alternatives, but perhaps it is so because it is an innovation?

          Well, no: With Luther and Calvin decrying artificial contraception as an outrageous evil, and with the early fathers doing likewise (apparently some early Christian women were married to Christian slaves, and didn’t want to have children who would be slaves, so they would contracept), we find that the Catholic view shows continuity with the apostolic faith; the alternatives are innovations. There has been development, but not contradiction.

          So it is possible to learn the truth about these things. We do not need to float about in a sea of uncertainty, after all. It is not, after all, merely a matter of this guy’s opinion versus that guy’s opinion. There are always two sides to every story, until you know the facts. After that, there’s only one.

          Putting the Two Parts Together

          Where does this leave us?

          I think some Christians who support gay marriage or artificial contraception do so in ignorance, and others do so in a desperate but dishonest attempt to justify their behavior, and still others are a mix of the two, in which they cling to ignorance so that they do not become aware of any moral quandaries.

          Likewise, Christians who are not Catholic often just don’t know why they should be; others know but don’t want to be; and others are trying desperately not to know so that they can remain where they want to be without guilt.

          Not everyone can spend five years studying patristics and weighing the apologetical arguments for both sides of a contested question. Not everyone has the education. Not everyone has a mind wired for that kind of critical thinking.

          But some can. God gave them that capability for a reason. What can we say about it, if they refuse to use that capacity for truth-finding, or use it without full honesty and openness, because they already know the answer they’re hoping for, and don’t want to see contrary evidence?

          There is innocent ignorance, less-innocent ignorance, and plain rebellion.

          We call many self-professed Christians “Christians” when making external judgments and giving the benefit of the doubt. But we’re pretty sure that some of them, objectively, aren’t earnestly and willingly following Christ. It’s not our place to pretend we know which, or to condemn: But the objective truth is what it is.

          They themselves must each consider internally what they know. They must be tough-minded, and face the uncomfortable questions: What is the Truth? About the Church? About human sexuality? About anything? Is it what we hope it’ll be? Or if we investigate honestly, will we learn something we didn’t want to know?

          (Because Jesus is The Truth, this act of confronting the possibility of uncomfortable truth is rather the same thing as coming before His throne of judgment. It is a matter for trembling…but, better to do it now, while there is time for repentance.)

          I hold that there are Christians who are fighting to hold on to a no-longer-innocent ignorance. This middle-point between innocent ignorance and rebellion is like a puddle on a hot day: It evaporates over time, and one finds out in the end whether one was ignorant through no fault of one’s own, or in rebellion.

          It is those who are in rebellion, who I think objectively are no longer Christ-followers. I don’t know which ones they are, so I’ll call them Christians when I meet them, and assume they are innocently mistaken, as I once was.

          But Jesus looks at the heart. He knows.

          • Michael PS

            Cord Hamrick

            You have followed Paul Rimmer in his question-begging assumption of defining “real” or “true” Christians by examining their tenets, or the Church by its teaching.

            The Edict of Thessalonica (“Cunctos Populos”) of 380, which stands in pride of place at the beginning of the Codex of Justinian, and which established Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire, simply referred to “that religion which from then to now declares itself to have been delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus…”

            Put simply, “Christians” were those in communion with Damasus.

            Not only does this test avoid the vice of circularity, but, suitably updated to refer to a living authority, it is remarkably easy of application; just what one would expect of the criterion of a divine message, intended for all, regardless of learning, capacity or circumstances.

  • Gabriel Austin

    Bill Bannon writes:
    Two things Michael: … Secondly, Miss Anscombe should have taken her husband’s surname/ should have called herself Mrs./ and should not have smoked cigars. I’m done for the day…”

    In Miss Anscombe’s day, a woman with a career was referred to as Miss+ her maiden name.

    Chesterton smoked cigars.

  • Gabriel Austin
    Proof…..give me a link.

  • Gabriel Austin
    I suspect you’re wrong. Anecdote after anecdote mention it is an anomaly of hers not as typical. Civil law countries do what you are suggesting with the maiden name and Scotland which is mixed civil etc. Anscombe was English thus Common Law… which do not do that….hence Michael PS from England did not correct me.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Actually, I am Scottish, not English and, yes, our rules on married women’s surnames are rather different, especially in landed families.

      With us, women in the professions, especially if they have published works, or who carry on business in their own name usually retain the name to which the goodwill, so to speak, is attached.

  • Catholic Guy

    Going back one step before the contraception mentality, the destruction of the family began when the protestants decided to remove books from the bible, reject tradition and teaching authority, make themselves gods by declaring each one his own priest, and rejecting Chrst’s very clear teaching on divorce… It was then that they severed themselves from truth and they became Christ mongers. They divorced themselves from truth yet continued to call themselves married. Western society is failing because of the protestant revolution.

    Those who call Lord Lord / Did we not do deeds of power in your name? TRUTH does not know them.

  • Although contraception is in fact a violation of the nuptial embrace which is the essence of the true marriage between 1 woman and 1 man, same-sex marriage goes even further than the simple violation that which is “contraception” in all its forms. This is because there is a clear difference between a man, and a woman. There is a cosmological difference. Men are NOT women. Women are NOT men. So a husband and wife who do take the path of contraception, although it is an intrinsic evil practice, they still “have” that present distinctive nature that separates their “womanhood” from “manhood”, although obviously being violently suppressed, the given “nature” of how they were created is still THERE, and that cannot be changed.

    However, on the other hand, Two men engaging in sexual relations are “two men” engaging in sexual relations…..there is a clear “deeper” disorder happening here. Equally, two women are “two women”, and when they have sexual relations they are not just going against the violation of what contraception goes against, but a “much deeper” violation, one that is truly blind to the most basic order of their gender.

    We must not confuse the 2. Yes, if there is contraception so widely used, why not same sex marriage? But, remember there are HUGE differences that we must recognize, although both violate the union, we must not overlook that a woman and a man still has that “HOPE” of being 2 in one flesh, and therefore becoming the proper union they ought be in the eyes of God. Two men or Two women in relations can “NEVER” have that because they inherently were not designed in such a way.

    Bottom line, there is a reason why contraception is an intrinsic evil, and it is because it treats fertility as a disease, and therefore distorts the union of the heterosexual couple. Homosexual sex is a grave disorder and intrinsic evil because it is the direct distortion of their very gender.

  • Howard Kainz

    @Paul Rimmer: Christian ethics is not decided by majority vote. It’s interesting that even the majority of Protestants took the same position as Catholics. I’ll excerpt here an editorial from the Washington Post from March 22, 1931, after the Episcopalians had approved contraception: “It is impossible to reconcile the doctrine of the divine institution of marriage with any modernistic plan for the mechanical regulation or suppression of human birth. The church must either reject the plain teachings of the Bible or reject schemes for the “scientific” production of human souls. Carried to its logical conclusion, the committee’s report if carried into effect would sound the death-knell of marriage as a holy institution, by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality. The suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptives would be ‘careful and restrained’ is preposterous.”

    • Paul Rimmer

      It’s a good point. This is not about the majority rule. It’s about what’s right.

      I firmly believe that gay marriage is what God wants. I think it’s what Jesus wants. But, as with women’s rights and abolition of slavery, it would not have made sense to speak about this in the context of his time and the culture he was in.

      Because I know that this is what Jesus wants, I am encouraged by the trend I see unfolding.

      Like you said, before 1930, almost no Christian approved of contraception. Now the majority of all Christians, even the majority of Catholics, approve of contraception.

      Right now, very few Christians approve of gay marriage. How many will approve of gay marriage in 70 years, I wonder?

      My pointing this out isn’t an argument for gay marriage,

      But, while we are on the subject of arguments for gay marriage…

      For the vast majority of Christians in the world, your argument is an argument for gay marriage.

      After all, very few Christians are going to abandon their contraceptives. Because the teaching they disapprove of deals with them, and what they do. They won’t give it up.

      Your argument connects contraception to gay marriage. When push comes to shove, what do you think is going to give? It’s not going to be the contraception. It’s going to be the opposition to gay marriage.

      And for that I say, well done!

  • Larry

    If Jesus Christ himself stood in the street and told the militant gay internet mafia that homosexuality and gay marriage was wrong, they would throw rocks at him. No amount of moral justification matters to them. Everything the Bible says, God says, Jesus says, will be turned arround and used to justify their behavior. Stick arround, you’ll see. The good news is, they will win no hearts here. The bad news is, while were here blogging, their in the streets and schools winning converts.

  • Mark

    “I firmly believe that gay marriage is what God wants.”

    If only Christianity had a visible head of the Church to settle these disagreements — since how I feel has no more value than how you feel.

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