Rorate Caeli

Pharisaic Debate

It surely seems that ... incontinence and effeminacy are evil and censurable. ... Knowing that certain of his actions are evil, the incontinent man nevertheless does them because of passion. *

... no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.
Small wonder, therefore, if Holy Writ bears witness that the Divine Majesty regards with greatest detestation this horrible crime and at times has punished it with death. As St. Augustine notes, "Intercourse even with one's legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented. Onan, the son of Juda, did this and the Lord killed him for it."
Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin. **
Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it —in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. ***
If acts are intrinsically evil, a good intention or particular circumstances can diminish their evil, but they cannot remove it. They remain "irremediably" evil acts; per se and in themselves they are not capable of being ordered to God and to the good of the person. "As for acts which are themselves sins (cum iam opera ipsa peccata sunt), Saint Augustine writes, like theft, fornication, blasphemy, who would dare affirm that, by doing them for good motives (causis bonis), they would no longer be sins, or, what is even more absurd, that they would be sins that are justified?".

Consequently, circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act "subjectively" good or defensible as a choice. ****
* Nicomachean Ethics, Book VII
**Casti Connubii
***Humanæ Vitæ
****Veritatis Splendor
We refuse to join this false discussion, kept alive by the prophets of hypocrisy and false love of this age, who have little esteem for people and souls and none for the Church; and whose sole aim, as mentioned here before, is to have the Church officially proclaim, by whatever means, especially if motivated by a distorted view of charity, that "It IS licit to do evil that good may come of it".

Many of those who earnestly join the debate believe that those who plant the seeds of doubt are honest and charitable. Alas, that is not the case! These "extreme" cases are always used to corrupt moral certitude and blur the clear principles involved in the great moral debates.

There has NEVER been any tergiversation in Catholic doctrine regarding the illicitness of such physical methods, which are onanism pure and simple, whatever are the "extreme" motives which would allegedly justify them. For historical purposes only, it is useful to remember that the great doubt which led to the reaffirmation of this core moral teaching by Paul VI in Humanæ Vitæ was raised by the invention of new methods which altered the female biological cycle itself and that, as such, seemed to be "natural" and "acceptable", and seemed to circumvent the inevitable illicitness of the physical methods.

[By the way, read the notes to par. 63 in Romano Amerio's Iota Unum; there one will notice that the great pharisee, the same pharisee, was publicly trying to destroy this Catholic moral teaching in 1980, before the great sexual disease of this age had even been discovered as an epidemic and before its viral agent and infection process had been discovered... It has never been about disease or charity... Whited sepulchres, indeed!]


  1. An excellent concatenation of moral truths.

    Kudos, New Catholic!

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  3. I seem to recall an article some time ago in The Remnant (or perhaps Catholic Family News) in which the author took issue with the moral exactitude of Humanæ Vitæ on the basis that the document opened the door to the our present situation by making the procreative and unitive functions of human sexuality equal, instead of the latter following the former as a lesser purpose or acceptable attribute, which had without exception been the case heretofore.

    What think ye of this?

  4. "What think ye of this?"

    I think it had something to do with a movement away from a purely Thomistic view of a hierarchy of goods (primary versus secondary), in favor of a more Augustinian view of the "bona" of marriage on a more equal footing. Then again, it was so long ago that I read it, I'm probably mistaken.

    One could ask, is it essential that the primary exist to the detriment of the secondary? Is the fact that certain goods are secondary make them expendable, whether or not in view of the primary? It would seem to me that, whether primary or secondary, they remain on "the short list," and must be considered as such. If the marital act is indeed sacred, and if it is indeed a foretaste of the nuptial relationship between God and his people, between Christ and His Church, then the question of whether it is -- to view it as a Thomist -- a "plus" or a "minus," has been settled. It is one or the other; it cannot be both.

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  6. What most everyone neglects to do now adays is to distinguish.

    Esp. in regard to marriage and love.

    Love is not sex; nor are the feelings you have toward your wife, of whatever kind they are, love.

    Love in its proper sense is divine charity; there is no other kind of love, really; because we are born sons of wrath on account of the fall of Adam.

    The movement of our wills toward temporal goods for their own sake is not love but an idolatrous lust. Only when we use things in harmony with our duty to get to heaven and serve God on earth do we have true love for things, not as ends in themselves.

    The love which most mean by the word love is the affection of the will or of the emotions. Of the will it is always ordered to what is good, truly, but when it is a disordered love, it is ordered to what is only good in appearances. Affects of the emotions follow both kinds of loves; but mostly the ones we easily recognize are the disordered ones. Like eating chocolate whenever we see it; that is a vicious love, howsoever pleasant.

    And these different kinds of love all exist in marriage. So the love that inclines you and rules you so that you comport yourself and share your life with your wife, is charity. The love which you feel when you exchange the marriage debt, is only a natural affection of the emotions, which traditionally is termed concupiscence, because concupiscence means a complete or thorough desire. When one chooses to have this desire or enjoy what it proposes outside of God's law and wisdom, then one consensts to lust, and one looses self control, and so so many evils come forth form that. And since this is always a possibility even in marriage, for that reason most of the canonized saints are priests, monks and nuns, and not married folk.

    For these reasons, there can never be an actual or real difference between the primary and secondary goals of marriage, because the generation of children and the perfection of divine charity are never in conflict in marriage. For divine charity either leads one to avoid sins against the 6 and 9th commandment, by using marriage, or by abstaining form the of marriage, irrespective of whether one is in or outside of marriage.

    Thus as regards chastity, all Catholics before marriage and after marriage are obliged to the same, as priests or monks or nuns. Even in marraige, there is no moral inequality between sins outside of marriage contrary to the 6th and 9th commandments and similar sins in marriage. That is, yes, you can commit a mortal sin against purity, by violating the natural order of marriage either by using artificial contraceptives, or unnatural relations, or natural methods of contraception without the very limited circumstances they are allowed in.

    We forget that whether married or not, what St. Paul says, that we ough to live as if we are not married, which is a way of saying that we ought all be striving to practice chastity, and only to avoid sin, does one take on marriage: the man who marries for sex, or uses the marriage debt for personal pleasure, rather than to allay temptation of himself or of his wife, falling away from the Lord. It is not a mortal sin always in marriage, but humanly speaking, a man who lives this way will in all likely hood be at least commiting sins against purity in his heart and mind contrary to marriage. Because, as St. Thomas says, virtue is one; with one vice, all virtue is to some extent corrupted.

    And thus those who argue for condom use, show themselves to be driven mad by lust; for no right thinking catholic would forsake Heaven and Jesus, for the sake of any temporal thing, let alone something so low and base as sexual pleasure.

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