Humanae Vitae: Day 7

7. The question of human procreation, like every other question which touches human life, involves more than the limited aspects specific to such disciplines as biology, psychology, demography or sociology. It is the whole man and the whole mission to which he is called that must be considered: both its natural, earthly aspects and its supernatural, eternal aspects. And since in the attempt to justify artificial methods of birth control many appeal to the demands of married love or of responsible parenthood, these two important realities of married life must be accurately defined and analyzed. This is what We mean to do, with special reference to what the Second Vatican Council taught with the highest authority in its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today.

Paragraphs 7-18 fall under the section of the Encyclical titled “Doctrinal Principles”.

In order for us to understand the Church’s teaching on the transmission of life, we must consider the question of who is man?  Man is not just flesh and blood; He possesses an eternal soul.  And this body and soul together are one in man.

The Catechism says, “The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that ‘then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being’ (Gen 2:7).   Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God” (no. 362).

As such, the transmission of life is not just a physical concern that can only be addressed scientifically.  Souls are involved.  It’s not just a blob of tissue.

The issues that man has to deal with regarding the transmission of life are not all worldly issues.  This concerns the eternal as well because life does not end at the end of one’s earthly life.  What effect does the transmission of life have on man’s eternal destiny?

Our answer to the question of who is man will have an effect on how we understand the definition of married love and responsible parenthood.

(Posted with permission from Fr. Lee Acervo at http://fatheracervo.wordpress.com)

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