September 29, 2020

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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That’s the range of sins against chastity which got this label “sin against nature”. But of course the notion of homicide is clntraception not extendable to contraception. Because, if you are defending contraception, you will have rejected Christian tradition. It is a word with a use but no reference.

Indeed, Anscombe writes that we ought not to try to drop such talk. Augustine’s reference to copulating in a “base” way so as not to procreate, thus to identify some ways of contraception practised in former times as forms of unnatural vice.

Acts of the first type are abuses of our generative organs, treating as mere vehicles of pleasure the very means to bring new life into the world. There’s the germ of an account of the motive called by theologians “rendering the marriage debt” in his observation that married people owe to one another a kind of mutual service.

Not that this virtue isn’t useful: One way of answering Williams and Tanner is to focus especially on marriage and say perhaps a little more about it than Anscombe does in her response to these authors, or indeed to Herbert McCabe. Professor Winch may get to see the point by thinking about the difference between sabotage and working-to-rule. Nor is it that contraception is, as such, a species of “unnatural vice,” though some types of it, involving physical interference with the sexual act, may come to that; but that can’t apply to the contraceptive pill.

Looking at it like this is aided by the following consideration: These connections should not be taken as steps in a logical argument, however, as if we can know by reasoning straightforwardly from the value of human life that casual sex is wrong.

It’s derided for not working. Now imagine that he has a momentary suicidal impulse. In fact there’s no greater connexion of “natural law” with the prohibition on contraception than with any other part of morality. Not everything that seems good really is good, of course, but not just anything can even seem good. Failure to appreciate this grammatical feature, she holds, is what leads into the metaphysical mire of Descartes, Hume, and others who have speculated about the identity of the self.


We can’t ever know that the time of possibility of gaining eternal life is over, however old, wretched, “useless” someone has become. Writing as a Roman Catholic, Anscombe offers a penetrating moral analysis of marriage and sexuality that will benefit any reader who rejects the secularist reduction of marriage as merely a union that sanctions sexual activity between partners.

On the other hand intercourse using contraception by mechanical methods was fairly easy to assimilate to the “sin against nature” as defined by St Thomas. Want weekly summaries instead? Other descriptions of my behavior might be equally true.

Discussion of “Contraception and Chastity”.

This had to be thought out, and it was thought out in the encyclical Humanae Vitae. But they forget, I think, the rewardless trouble of spirit associated with the sort of sexual activity which from its type is guaranteed sterile: Causation Like Wittgenstein, Anscombe was concerned about the culture around her. 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.

You cannot point to the known fact that Christianity drew people out of the pagan world, always saying no to these things. But the Catholic Christian badge now again means separation, even for such poor mediocrities, from what the unchristian world in the West approves and professes.

When we refer to a person we can, then, misidentify the person in question. An individual act of eating or copulation, then, can be bad only because something about it or the circumstances of it make it bad. Intercourse by those using the rhythm method is 1 sort of act, an ordinary act of intercourse; intercourse by those using oral contraception is quite a different sort of act. This question fails to grasp the extent to which the unitive and procreative aspects of marital sex are intimately united.

Anscombe has failed, even within her own kind of argument, to provide any coherent defence of the moral distinction between the pill method and the rhythm method.


Elizabeth Anscombe and Contraception | Anthony McCarthy –

That is, to very general and very well-known facts of nature, and also to ascertained scientific laws. Perhaps Anscombe read Mill in this kind of way she does not say. In a typically Wittgensteinian way, Anscombe argued that some metaphysical theses are the result of our being misled by grammar. If, however, he tries to sabotage his actions – he louses up a machine he is purporting to work, for example – that means that qua intentional action here and now his performance in “operating” the machine is not a doing of this part of his job.

On the one hand, it would have been absurd, wouldn’t it? There always used to be a colossal strain in ancient times; between heathen morality and Christian morality, and one of the things pagan converts had to be told about the way they were entering on was that they must abstain from fornication.

Thirdly, promising itself is a useful but not necessarily essential human practice. Sometimes, she adds, it will be immediately clear whether what is being said is true or false if we use more precise terms of moral evaluation such as just and unjust.

You will have no answer to someone who proclaims as many do that they are good too. Or if for mere love of ease and hatred of burdens you determined by this means never to have another child, you would then be dishonouring your marriage.

Before she preaches impoverishment of life to a significant proportion of people, she should perhaps reflect more deeply on what can be, for different individuals, “natural. That’s the range of sins against chastity which got this label “sin against nature.

That is “the wisdom of the flesh, and it is death” Romans, ch. We have anscombs that the theological defence of the Church’s contraaception in modern times did not assimilate contraception to abortion but characterized chasity as a sort of perversion of the order of nature.