The Faithful Scribbler

A Catholic Mother In A Secular World

Condoms or Surgery?

on April 23, 2010

Prepare yourself folks, this post is PG-13. 

(after re-reading it through, it is also slightly rambling, very lengthy, and more of a stream of conscious narration than an actual, academically formulated argument.  read it anyway. ~FS)

I was talking to Little Scribbler’s godfather on the phone today.  The conversation turned towards my most recent surgery and loss of right fallopian tube.

Ben expressed that the way to avoid future surgeries was to stop getting pregnant.  As I dont intend to embark upon a future of celibacy any time soon (too much info? Probably.), there IS no way to avoid future surgeries/miscarriages of children.  If God allows us to create life, and then subsequently takes it away (with or without also taking away my lone remaining fallopian tube), well, I have to believe that His will has been done.

And that, my friends, is the reason for living– to submit ourselves to God’s will!  To do as He commands– because if we DO NOT do as God commands, what is the reason of living?  Self-gratification?  And how long does THAT last– 80, 90 years at best?  Assuming you’re GOOD at self-gratification and you plan well enough to assure your own temporal happiness into your declining years.  So self-gratification with a little bit of forsight?  Certainly 90 years of temporal happiness isn’t worth an eternity of damnation?

NEWSFLASH– it’s not.  90-ish years of temporal happiness is NOT worth an eternity of damnation.  We take a lot of things for granted on this earth– most dangerously our own entrance into heaven.

Heaven isn’t just a nice thought or platitude to pass out to people when they are grieving the loss of their beloved grandmother.  Heaven either exists or it doesnt– (that was rhetorical– I assure you it does!).  We can’t just pass out images of heaven and God’s promises in greeting cards when it’s convenient– we are either prepared to honor our end of the bargain, or we are NOT prepared to do so.  If we’re not prepared to honor our end of the bargain (live as God commands), t hen we have no reason to expect that He will automatically grant us entrance into Heaven.

In fact, in Sacred Scripture, He specifically tells us He will NOT automatically grant us entrance into Heaven!  We have to live as He commands first.

I’ll be honest with you, living as God commands is not always convenient in the modern world.  It’s not.  It’s not always convenient to abstain from things that modern society tells us are ok.  It’s not easy (nor is it always convenient) to walk away from popular Hollywood movies that you’d like to see, but really shouldn’t, because they glorify sin and excess and sex outside of wedlock, and abortion, and reproductive technology, etc.

When we condone sin, we are complicit in it.  If you see my previous post of the Works of Mercy, you will see that we have a RESPONSIBILITY to admonish the sinner, albeit lovingly.  That means no more Sopranos  reruns here at the Casa de Scribbler.  Frankly, this was a really REALLY hard thing for us to walk away from– but when we thought about it, and we realized the number of times God’s name is taken in vane, the other profanity, the nudity, the sexual content and glorification of murder and violence, we really couldn’t reconcile watching it to what God has commanded of us.

Now that’s just one example– let’s return to the concept of contraception.  First of all, whether you believe it or not, chemical contraception kills children.  It’s scientifically proven, however not exactly advertized on TV as a “side effect”.  Chemical contraception DOES allow an egg to be fertilized!  What it is not supposed to do is allow said egg to IMPLANT into the endrometrium HOWEVER, very frequently the egg does implant, and subsequently aborts because the body cant regulate the necessary hormone levels to sustain the pregnancy.  Very rarely, babies conceived while the mother was on chemical birth control DO survive and are carried to term.  In fact I have one such cousin– conceived on chemical birth control and carried to term.

So Ben and I will agree to disagree about this one.  Frankly I doubt very seriously he’s done the research, not being a woman of child-bearing age himself.  The Auditor and I have very, VERY carefully studied all forms of birth control and reproductive technology available today, and  in my humble opinon, I consider myself to be a non-professional expert in this area.

So what about condoms, he asks.  Surely condoms and barrier methods are healthier for me than risking another life-threatening ectopic pregnancy?!  Losing another internal organ unnecessarily?!

Let’s set aside for a moment the fact that although pregnancy is slightly terrifying to me (because my experience thus far is that it leads to heartbreaking loss), I would gladly welcome and child the Lord blessed me with.  Set aside that somewhere, deep down in side, I want to bear a tee-ball teams worth of children.  Disregarding my personal feelings about pregnancy, let’s get to the root of the matter– is the risk of pregnancy a good reason to use barrier contraception?

NOPE.

Why not?

Because God commands that we be open to His life-giving generosity!  We can’t just attribute things to God willy-nilly.  If God has a hand in things, He has a hand in ALL things!  Following that logic to conclusion, God had a hand in my Noah’s death– and in the resulting surgical intervention to save my life.  God had a hand in me losing that tube– and He had a hand in saving my life!

The bottom line is whether or not you truth God enough to obey him.  Obedience despite personal inconvenience is hard– at times, it seems IMPOSSIBLE.  Condoms are a matter of personal convenience. 

 Don’t want to get pregnant, but still want to have sex? Try condoms.

Dont want to spread disease, but still want to have sex? Try condoms.

Don’t want to bear responsibility for your actions, but still want to have sex? Try condoms.

If we are going to have sex, we need to be FULLY prepared for the consequences.  We need to be FULLY prepared to take responsiblity for the resulting child(ren).  HIV positive?  Don’t want to infect your partner, and still want to live according to the commands of God?  Clearly, DO NOT HAVE SEX.  That’s just the bottom line. 

Sometimes we get dealt a bad hand, or an inconvenient hand.  A person who is HIV positive, for whatever reason, has been dealt a bad hand.  But that person still has the responsiblity to live as God commands.  Since s/he can’t engage in marital sex without possibly infection his/her spouse, s/he is morally obligated to abstain.

Every time you get pregnant your babies die in utero?  That’s not such a fun hand either– but that doesn’t mean I get to override God’s command to save myself potential emotional pain should I become pregnant and lose another child.  I am NOT ENTITLED to override God’s commands for ANY reason!  If I don’t keep my end of the bargain, and live as He commands, how can I expect salvation!?  If I put my own needs and opinions and hubris AHEAD of the commands of God (of which I am not ignorant!), how can I expect anything from Him on judgement day!?

A lot of times I hear people argue that “times are different now”, or my personal favorite (NOT) “God gave me a brain to discern for myself”.

Yeah, God gave you a brain so you could learn how to read, open the Bible, and SEE what He wants you to do!  He did NOT give you a brain so that you could think of YOURSELF as God (or knowing better than God), and ignore His commands!

There’s no expiration date on Sacred Scripture folks.  None.  If we believe Scripture to be divinely inspired by God, and Scripture itself does not EXPLICITLY SAY “But none of these rules apply past 1950 AD”, then we can only conclude that we are NOT exempt from living as the Bible commands!

Now let’s turn for a moment towards hypocrisy.  I myself, the Faithful Scribbler, have been in my lifetime the biggest hypocrit of them all.  I claimed my faith, professed my faith, tried like mad to SPREAD my faith– all the while living a life of shallow depravity.  They say faith is a journey?  Well somewhere along the journey I took a little pitstop in Hell.

I like to think that I am SLOOOOOWLY overcoming my own hypocrasy.  More frequently, I am accepting things that are not convenient to me, rejecting things I enjoy but that are detremental to living as God commands, and really striving for a personal relationship with God (honestly– still have no idea what the heck that even means, but that’s a topic for another post!).  They say if you just follow the rules, and live as God commands, the deeper stuff will come.  It’s a process.

But the world today is FULL of religious hypocrasy!  Clergyman (Catholic AND protestant) who abuse the innocent.  Catholic famlies using chemical birth control.  Jewish people scarfing bacon cheeseburgers!  “Religious” world leaders voting for anybody’s right to kill a baby in utero!

Religious hypocrasy is leading to the destruction of American society.  I won’t go so far as to say we’re a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah (although I’ve heard speakers say this), but something is definately wrong in a world where Miley Cyrus can state in 2004 that Jesus is the reason she’s so sane, and then in 2010 her “religion is love and tolerance” (whatever that even means), and we all just EAT IT UP as if it’s the sagest phrase to be uttered outside of the Dalai Lama’s palace in Tibet!

Condoms or surgery?  Personal convenience or complete surrender to the will of God?  I choose complete surrender.  Believe it or not, folks, complete surrender leads to a greater sense of peace and stability in your life!  When you give up control, it is so much easier to take the punches as the come, and to appreciate the highlights as the blessings they truly are!

I dont want to lose another baby.  I do NOT want to go through the physical pain of that again, to feel the exact moment that my child dies within my own body (and dont tell me a woman doesnt know when her child has died, because I’ve known each and every time it happened, and you’ll never convince me otherwise).  I don’t want to mourn and grieve.

But if I want to have marital intimacy (and I do!), then I need to accept the consequences of my actions, put my trust and faith in a God who loves me so much more than any person on this earth EVER will, and get on with my life!  Through relinquishing control, I’ve had an easier time, emotionally, with losing Sarah and Noah, than when we lost Elijah.  I can see the blessings through the pain, and recognize the generous gift God has given me, and know that if I live as He commands, He has promised me an eternity with my children in paradise!

An eternity with my children is worth MUCH more than 90ish years of temporal happiness!  Condoms or surgery? I pick surgery.  I choose to submit to the will of God.

———————————-

In case you were wondering, biblical references for ANY form of birth control being sinful– and for the Jewish reader in the audience, you’ll notice that not only are these Old Testament references, further more, my research tells me that Orthodox Jews do not practice artificial birth control.  So there. Ha. (and you know I love and adore you– you’re just wrong.)

(taken from the catholic.com library)

Few realize that up until 1930, all Protestant denominations agreed with the Catholic Church’s teaching condemning contraception as sinful. At its 1930 Lambeth Conference, the Anglican church, swayed by growing social pressure, announced that contraception would be allowed in some circumstances. Soon the Anglican church completely caved in, allowing contraception across the board. Since then, all other Protestant denominations have followed suit. Today, the Catholic Church alone proclaims the historic Christian position on contraception.

Evidence that contraception is in conflict with God’s laws comes from a variety of sources that will be examined in this tract.

Contraception is wrong because it’s a deliberate violation of the design God built into the human race, often referred to as “natural law.” The natural law purpose of sex is procreation. The pleasure that sexual intercourse provides is an additional blessing from God, intended to offer the possibility of new life while strengthening the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between husband and wife. The loving environment this bond creates is the perfect setting for nurturing children.

But sexual pleasure within marriage becomes unnatural, and even harmful to the spouses, when it is used in a way that deliberately excludes the basic purpose of sex, which is procreation. God’s gift of the sex act, along with its pleasure and intimacy, must not be abused by deliberately frustrating its natural end—procreation.

Is contraception a modern invention? Hardly! Birth control has been around for millennia. Scrolls found in Egypt, dating to 1900 B.C., describe ancient methods of birth control that were later practiced in the Roman empire during the apostolic age. Wool that absorbed sperm, poisons that fumigated the uterus, potions, and other methods were used to prevent conception. In some centuries, even condoms were used (though made out of animal skin rather than latex).

The Bible mentions at least one form of contraception specifically and condemns it. Coitus interruptus, was used by Onan to avoid fulfilling his duty according to the ancient Jewish law of fathering children for one’s dead brother. “Judah said to Onan, ‘Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.’ But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also” (Gen. 38:8–10).

The biblical penalty for not giving your brother’s widow children was public humiliation, not death (Deut. 25:7–10). But Onan received death as punishment for his crime. This means his crime was more than simply not fulfilling the duty of a brother-in-law. He lost his life because he violated natural law, as Jewish and Christian commentators have always understood. For this reason, certain forms of contraception have historically been known as “Onanism,” after the man who practiced it, just as homosexuality has historically been known as “Sodomy,” after the men of Sodom, who practiced that vice (cf. Gen. 19).

Contraception was so far outside the biblical mindset and so obviously wrong that it did not need the frequent condemnations other sins did. Scripture condemns the practice when it mentions it. Once a moral principle has been established in the Bible, every possible application of it need not be mentioned. For example, the general principle that theft is wrong was clearly established in Scripture; but there’s no need to provide an exhaustive list of every kind of theft. Similarly, since the principle that contraception is wrong has been established by being condemned when it’s mentioned in the Bible, every particular form of contraception does not need to be dealt with in Scripture in order for us to see that it is condemned.

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