October 19, 2008

Changes in Responsibility and Import

Justin Katz

In his two-part (one, two) revisitation of Humanae Vitae, Fr. John Kiley misses the mark in one instance. From part two:

[Contraception] destroys unitive intimacy by dividing the couple: the condom places all responsibility on the husband; the pill or diaphragm places all responsibility on the wife. By passing responsibility to one or the other, artificial birth control is blatant sexism, dividing a couple instead of drawing them together in mutual restraint.

As I suggested some years ago, when I traced the psychological progression from contraception to cloning, contraception actually places the responsibility on the birth control method itself. One or the other of the parents is responsible only when he or she fails to use the contraception (in which case there may be practical reasons to mitigate responsibility yet by blaming the nature of the contraception, as with the inconvenience and sensation-dulling qualities of condoms).

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Father Kiley is my mother's parish priest, and I got to know him after my father died. My mother credits him for her conversion to Catholicism (she had been Episcopal, but not a regular churchgoer).
When I talked to her two days ago, I mentioned Father Kiley's recent letter to the editor in the ProJo, and she mentioned he has become obsessed lately with sermons about sex, to the point it makes her uncomfortable. And neither of my parents could accurately be described as liberals.

Posted by: rhody at October 19, 2008 8:36 PM
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