This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Reaction to the Pope's comments to Michael Diaz: non-procreative sex, gay marriage and euthenasia

Thank you to Dr. Denise Hunnell, the DC Catholic Examiner for sharing the Pope's comments to the new United States Emmissary to the Vatican.

We on the left actually agree with linking life issues with economic issues. Indeed, while love and fidelity are essential to a family, a decent level of economic support are as important to affirming the Gospel of Life. Among other things, that mean decent hours and pay for medical students and interns and especially nurses. A just and living wage is an essential part of Catholic doctine. State sponsored contraception should not be used in development to relieve societies of the responsibility for providing for a just economy for the poorest of its members.Where some of us quarrel with Humanae Vitae and Evangelicum Vitae are the intrusion into married sexuality by celibates (saying that merely unitive sex is a lesser form of love is a slap in the face to those of us past our child bearing ages) and the inaccuracy of stating that life begins at conception rather than gastrulation.

I must add that I do remember that the sex was best when we were actively trying to make a baby - although that was likely as much about the fact that we were younger with better hormones. Raging ovulation hormones likely give a better experience than the regulated hormones that come with chemical birth control.Regardless of the interaction between the spiritual and physical, other, most Catholics nowadays do not see non-procreative sexual practices as inherently bad since their unitive purpose is inherently good. Once you let the unitive purpose of sexuality in as a good at all, you can't make that good conditional. Once that unitive good is seen as a good in its own existence, you can't call homosexuality disordered without being accused of prejudice and adherence to tradition over truth. Once you see that, the objections to celebrating gay weddings must evaporate. As I have written before, such celebrations are as much about the families of origin as they are about the couple - who I believe are sacramentally united before God (like all married couples) regardless of whether a public ceremony is performed or not.

The Pope also talked to the Dutch ambassador about end of life issues. I must agree with him that the Dutch are way too casual about killing the sick (although in his Utopia, St. Thomas More makes a good natural law case for the Dutch position). The hard right tack the Church has taken on end of life issues is a bit troubling as well. Some more work is needed in developing this teaching.

There is a significant difference between how you treat someone who is declining and how you treat someone, like Terri Schaivo, who has coded, was brought back harshly and has never woken up. While some trauma specialists have found that cooling the body while reviving these patients has stopped many of the harsh side effects in current resucitation techniques - if the current regimes are used after someone has been down too long the damage is likely irreversible and the patient should be considered dead. To some of us, it is goulish to bring someone back after natural death has occurred and keep them alive through medical means.


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