Contraception and Chastity was first published by the CTS in Its fresh and incisive defence of the Church’s teaching has helped many to appreciate the. Download Citation on ResearchGate | Contraception and Chastity | Roman Catholic thinker Elizabeth Anscombe relfects on the theological implications of. Much good sense and wisdom is contained in Professor Anscombe’s reflections on “Contraception and Chastity,” but a challenge is made to her suggestion that.
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Elizabeth Anscombe — Contraception and Chastity
Similarly, Anscombe argues, if I contract a disease after having been exposed to it, then it is easy to see what caused my getting sick. At least so she believes.
That was a mistake in execution, not in intention. We have seen one example of this already, the distinction between the pill and other methods being thought ridiculous, while that between rhythm and the pill is supposedly clear. Brute here does not mean absolute as opposed to relative. It does not follow, Anscombe argues, that we must be pacifists. This way we will have a much better idea what is being said. That’s the range of sins against chastity which got this label “sin anr nature.
So what could be meant by a theory, conceived as independent of faith in God, according to which some acts are allowed or right or even obligatory while others are chwstity or wrong? If contraceptive intercourse is permissible, then what objection could there be after all to mutual masturbation, or copulation in vase indebitosodomy, buggery I should perhaps remark that I am using a legal term here – not indulging in bad languagewhen normal copulation is impossible or inadvisable or in any case, according to taste?
The Manichaeans were people who thought all sex evil. She distinguishes between two kinds of sexual intercourse: When we refer to a person we can, then, misidentify the person in question.
Anscombe on contraception and chastity
With modern physiological knowledge contraception by medical methods could be clearly distinguished from early abortion, though some contraceptive methods might be abortifacient. The point is irrelevant, since there is no such thing as the description of an action qua intentional action.
But that does not mean that it is done “purely for pleasure. There’s a sort of servitude to fleshly desire in not being able so to abstain.
Hence the picture that some have formed and even welcomed, of intercourse now, in this contraceptive day, losing its deep significance: The fact that an encyclical is not an infallible kind of document only shows that one argument for the truth of its teaching is lacking. If there is an obligation not to commit murder then it does not stem from our having chosen to engage in some human practice that forbids it.
But we ought to remember also, what isn’t always remembered, that insensibility and unjustified abstention is also a sin against moderation, and is a defrauding of one’s partner. And in one way these may have been psychologically the same sort of prohibition to a pagan convert. But the perception of the dishonor done to the body in treating them as the casual satisfaction of desire is certainly a mystical perception.
Anscombe defends, between rhythm and the pill, is at least as absurd as the distinction between the pill and other methods, which she rejects.
Contraception and Chastity
People would rather speak of the expression of mutual love. A single sexual action can be bad even without regard to its context, its further intentions and its motives. The Christian life simply imposed these peculiar restrictions on you; all the same the prohibition on fornication must have stood out; it must have meant a very serious change of life to many, as it would today. Another possibility is that she regards consequentialism as so unacceptable that it would be uncharitable to read anyone as holding it if their views are at all ambiguous.
Sexual acts are not sacred actions. For instance, if an atheist philosopher argues that abortion is permissible not only are we likely to be thrown by her religious-sounding choice of words, but we also do not know whether by permissible she means just, or likely to promote utility, or rational, or what.
This – that the good and the point of a sexual act is marriage – is why only what is capable of being a marriage act is natural sex. For example, the resources of the earth have to be worked on to supply our needs and enhance our lives: It’s only if, in getting married, you proposed like the Manichaeans to confine intercourse to infertile periods, that you’d be falsifying marriage and entering a mere concubinage. I might try to guess at or hypothesize about the intention that caused me to do this or that, but perhaps only some kind of brain scan would ever settle the matter.
We should notice it as a curiosity that in popular discussion there’s usually more mention of “natural law” in connexion with the Catholic prohibition on contraception than in connexion with any other matters.
We have to remember that, as Newman says, developments “which do but contradict and reverse the course of doctrine which has been developed before them, and out of which they spring, are certainly corrupt.
Anscombe’s argument deals cavalierly with others’ experience. But other people can make distinctions, too; and while from her position she may find it hard to tell the difference between buggery and the pill, or between early abortion and infanticide, others may find these distinctions more relevant to their life, perhaps more effective in practice, than that between hoping, on the basis of a calendar and a thermometer, that one is infertile, and taking a pill to make sure that one is.
In this sense we know what we are doing even if chastoty fact something is going wrong and we are not getting done comtraception we mean to be getting done. Responsibility involves keeping our sexual acts as that kind of act, and recognizing that they are that kind of act by engaging in them with good-hearted wisdom about the getting of children.
Sex, the means of this beginning, is something that she regarded as naturally associated amscombe shame. So his list can be wrong in a way that mine cannot be.