Class #05


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  • Heaney the natural law  “ each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life ” (§11 of HV) main thing wrote with art. is NOT that it hinders procreation (which NFP intends to do as well), but that it separates what the pope says that the natural law makes inseparable how would Heaney revise that and why? maybe do a quick-write and then share with neighbor go around and hear from groups (they can put their ideas together into one) then see what’s missing or what they had in common he’s looking at the wider context for sex (XP, p. 30) and the wider context is that sex is within an ongoing relationship and if children come about, children are nurtured within and by that relationship THAT’s openness to life! that people are having sex after menopause or during pregnancy says to him that nature itself is showing us that sex shouldn’t always be linked to the purpose of procreation so, separating sex from procreation can still be a “natural” process because it serves an enduring and committed relationship so it’s the relationship and not the individual acts; because if you break things down too much into isolated individuals, you destroy it his title if you break something down so far, it’s no longer what it once was works with breadcrumbs and sex in marriage (the good comes from the composite) Papal birth control commission: (cf. HV §3) Ruether Heaney, sex is natural even without (what the pope means by) openness to procreation because it serves an enduring and committed relationship which is the true and natural context for child-rearing so sex could be procreative in this wider sense when it serves the relationship out of which life is welcomed and nurtured, even when it’s not directly generative or open to procreation in the pope’s sense NO ONE is disagreeing here about the basic values—namely, that sex in marriage should be both love-giving and life-giving and that these things are connected in some way procreation needs loving support and sexual intimacy probably needs to take responsibility for procreation but does the connection have to be there in each and every act of sex in marriage, or is it enough that it be present in the relationship as a whole? Ruether and Heaney’s view of natural law is more inductive/experiential (those things go together) vs. a more deductive model of what sex is for (Paul VI)—you do get a more inductive view in the Campbells, vs. Everett, who’s talking about sex as a sign of something else would Ruether’s view of what’s natural agree with the pope’s no, she says more natural to have sex when woman is most fertile Ruether Take this to the issue from last time about moral experts some SEEM to be saying that because Ruether has had a certain experience and the pope didn’t, she’s more expert than he is about what’s natural as Rice said, everyone has a pope or source of moral authority for them But that raises two questions: (1) do you HAVE to have a certain experience to know something is wrong (or unnatural)? (2) can one interpretation be better than another? (of the Bible, of what’s natural, etc.) a. CHEM lab b. example: introduced to person of your dreams at a party; the person says hi; you wonder what “hi” means; you consult the experts (every floor has relationship experts); when you don’t get a phone call from the person you met, you ask them things like “What does this mean?” You’ve had an experience here—you want the experts to tell you what it means Chem lab—you can be wrong in Chem lab
  • Ann LeBlanc NO ONE said she was a bad Catholic though lots of concerns about the other ‘good Catholics’ mentioned there maybe put: why she’s not bad vs. why they’re not good on board and make list What leads her to disagree with what she does? experience (abortion for the 12 y.o., gay marriage) study (reading & study) prayer (talks about God ‘converting’ her) What would be the implications if she just went along with everything with which she disagreed? lose a sense of integrity or honesty with yourself following conscience is the only way to be true to yourself we can’t just make ourselves believe what we think to be false try this some time! that’s why blind conformity is harmful to oneself [Go forward 3 slides forward and then come back] So: can the people who walk the coast ever learn from those who draw the maps? if you’re too close to something, you want and need someone who looks at the big picture over the next horizon we’ve probably all had the experience of reflecting on earlier periods of our lives and seeing things later on that we didn’t see or notice at the time Isn’t it the case that sometimes we get some distance on something that we did, and we see it in a different way? what does that mean? maybe we’re deceiving ourselves (something we’re all inherently talented at doing) the explorer on the coast is seeing a mirage which is being mistaken for reality we can definitely have moral blinders on and sometimes we see plainly only in retrospect (20/20 hindsight and all) one of the things we’re all really talented at is justifying or rationalizing things to ourselves—essentially creating mirages for ourselves conversely, if you’re too far away or too removed from something, you want someone who can see it up close ∆ , a check & balance system none of us sees the whole picture hence, the need that many mentioned on their Voicethreads to continue to challenge ourselves and ask questions to the general statement that one should always follow one's conscience should be added that one should always inform and question one's conscience (a person's conscience must be conscientious) so don't confuse the Church's teaching that you are ultimately obligated to follow your conscience with a claim that whatever action your individual conscience decides must be a morally right action (as we have seen, if whatever your individual conscience decides must be right is right, then no one could ever do anything wrong; and we really would be back at the Auschwitz principle ∆ , conscience could be wrong don’t confuse disagreement with lack of truth the Church teaches that you must always follow your informed conscience but the Church also teaches that your conscience can be wrong and so let’s not swing to the whole other side and say that ONLY if you have an experience are you entitled to an opinion about its morality maybe who the interpreter is affects the interpretation (as Massaro says) and if, as Heaney says, what’s natural is based upon observation, then some people are not in the best position to make certain observations so being more tentative about what’s natural might not be a bad idea (as Heaney says on XP, p. 27) Because the Church CAN be wrong, need a place for conscience; and because conscience CAN be wrong, need a place for the Church
  • Ask what would be wrong ways of interpreting these statements? As if conscience can never be wrong, that it’s ALWAYS the voice of God speaking to you Why is this a faulty or at least incomplete picture? sometimes we hear what we want to hear or see what we want to see But why are we BOUND to follow our conscience? your conscience tells you to do what’s right or good ∆ , going against your conscience means pursuing what YOU regard as EVIL and to embrace evil in this way is to DO evil
  • Does Authority = Truth? if it does, if the Church is always right, then dissent can never be beneficial (would always leave you in error) how do we KNOW this one is wrong? Church has changed its mind 180 degrees on some issues (can’t be right both times) why does Fr. Curran think that the pope doesn’t always speak for God? points to examples of erroneous teachings But if Authority ≠ Truth in all cases, then the Church might be able to progress, to move forward towards the purpose of life only through dissent of the remaining options, does Truth serve Authority, or does Authority serve Truth (last one)? the map is in the service of the terrain, not vice versa so maybe dissent helps improve the accuracy of the map? In the Church, the pope is the primary authority, but the source of truth and ∆ the ultimate teacher, is the Holy Spirit therefore, following what your conscience is telling you MAY be responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit “ may be” because conscience can be wrong and we could be fooling ourselves into justifying or doing certain actions that’s why you always need to QUESTION conscience as well Then why even need a Church? to help form conscience no one here formed or will form your conscience completely by yourself parents, friends, teachers, media all played a role Ann says that conscience is “formed in conversation” and “in prayer” and as some pointed out, that’s what this class is about—forming conscience the normal presumption is that these things will be in some sync Curran talks about respect as the default, a presumption of truth (XP, p. 33) but if there could never be error, then there’s no reason to talk about conscience (would be redundant) to sum up: Because the Church CAN be wrong, need a place for conscience but because conscience CAN be wrong, need a place for the Church ∆ , to learn geography, have to consult both those who draw up the maps and those who walk the coastline so too to learn MORAL geography the experience of those walking the coastline helps the mapmakers the mapmakers can help those who walk the coastline by telling them what to look for down the road (over the horizon) or what to look out for (dangers to avoid beyond the next bend)
  • A priest/expert at the Second Vatican Council in the 60s, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger might wish he could have these words back.
  • Leaving out the top box leaves you with this picture of Catholicism
  • Class #05

    1. 1. <ul><li>I. Humanae Vitae’s conclusion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A. “openness to procreation” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1. natural law </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. To whom is Humanae Vitae addressed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>B. Can artificial birth control ever be used? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>II. NFP vs. artificial contraception </li></ul></ul>
    2. 2. GOD
    3. 4. Based upon the other readings for today, do you think Ann LeBlanc is a bad Catholic? Why or why not? vt
    4. 5. <ul><li>explore a very different view of what’s natural where artificial birth control is concerned (one more empirically oriented than Paul VI’s), </li></ul><ul><li>use that explanation as an example for what the Church is saying about the primacy of individual conscience, and </li></ul><ul><li>let Ann LeBlanc know whether she’s a bad Catholic. </li></ul>
    5. 6. <ul><ul><li>I. Different perspectives on birth control: Ruether & Heaney vs. the Pope (& Everett or the Campbells) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A. On what ’s natural (breadcrumbs, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>B. On their understanding of sex in marriage </li></ul></ul><ul><li>II. Conscience & Church Teaching </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A. Ann LeBlanc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>B. Truth and Authority </li></ul></ul>
    6. 7. <ul><li>Is Ann LeBlanc a ‘bad Catholic’? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why might Catholics disagree with/dissent from what the Church officially teaches? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can dissent from Church teaching ever be beneficial? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Authority and Truth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fr. Curran on whether the pope always speaks directly for God </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can one’s informed conscience ever be wrong? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are we back to relativism and the Auschwitz principle?! </li></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 8. <ul><ul><li>“ It is through … conscience that [people] see and recognize the demands of the divine law. [All are] bound to follow this conscience faithfully in all [their] activity so that [they] may come to God, who is [their] last end. Therefore, [they] must not be forced to act contrary to conscience.” (Vatican II, Declaration on Religious Liberty, §3) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ [C]onscience is the voice of God resounding in the human heart, revealing the truth to us and calling us to do what is good while shunning what is evil.” (U.S. Bishops, Forming Citizens for Faithful Citizenship) </li></ul></ul>
    8. 9. Does Authority = Truth? Is Authority > Truth? Is Authority < Truth?
    9. 10. Bishops (teaching is “one of the principal duties of bishops”) Pope (“the Supreme Teacher of all the faithful”) Magisterium The Holy Spirit (the Source of Truth)
    10. 11. <ul><ul><li>“ Over the pope as expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there stands one's own conscience which must be obeyed before all else , even if necessary against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority. This emphasis on the individual, whose conscience confronts him with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even the official church , also establishes a principle in opposition to increasing totalitarianism. ” </li></ul></ul>
    11. 12. How will I know? I’m askin’ you ‘cause you know about these things...