We hear it said nowadays that God judges people by their consciences. In the current debate on contraception, many theologians, notable among them some Jesuits here in the Philippines and abroad, and dissenting priests, nuns, and prominent lay Catholics, would emphasize the role of conscience in the decision to use artificial contraceptives and to do away with the Church's teaching on contraception.
|The Ten Commandments, the so-called|
Natural Law, together with Sacred Scripture
as understood and proclaimed in the constant
Tradition of the Church determine the
objective moral norms.
|Intentions and the person's blameworthiness|
or non-blameworthiness in every moral act
can never change God's moral laws.
Remember this false argument: a lot of people contracept, a lot of people use condoms, IUDs, vasectomies, injectables, etc. etc. and a lot of people cannot live up to the ideals of the Church's teaching; so let us just change the teaching, and understand the so-called deviations are not anymore deviations but the reality! No, no, no, no! There is a big difference between what is the ideal and what is real. People in reality always fail in living up to the ideal. But that doesn't change the ideal. With regard to the objective moral norms, people may have a host of reasons why they fail to live up to the ideal. And their blameworthiness or innocence will be scrutinized through their consciences honest-to-goodness before God. But as I have said, not even less culpable deviations can change the moral norms. God does not fail to call us to the ideals of His commandments. Yes, we fail left, right, and center. And He forgives. That is true. God is a compassionate God. But He will never cease to call us to the ideals of His moral laws... until we learn our lessons in this world or in the next.
So that's it folks. The Church's teaching on contraception has been constant throughout the ages because of her firm regard for the sacredness of the marriage vow and how it is lived out in the marital exchange in the sacred act of intercourse. (And for those dissenting Catholics who do not believe this, just read this for yourselves and stop saying that Church teaching on contraception only began with Pius XI's Casti Conubii in 1930). There may be a myriad of different reasons why people fail in living up to the ideals. Yes, we recognize them. But we are not going to change the ideal because of the failures in the real world. In my next post, we will discuss how the Catholic faith treats of deviations from the ideals of God's moral law and specifically how best to deal with the problem of deviations in practice on the teaching on contraception.