Something about Catholicism just boggles me. Well, more than one thing about Catholicism boggles me, but I’m thinking of one in particular.
How can people who identify as Catholic engage in premarital sex, which is a sin according to Catholic doctrine, but justify not using contraception because it’s a sin?
Is this explained somehow by any Catholicism-endorsed hierarchy of sinning? Or it it just that sex is fun, and contraception generally isn’t, so that people who have the strength to refrain from the latter don’t always have the strength to refrain from the former?
None of the Catholics I know or knew engaged in premarital sex while refusing to use contraception because it was sinful. The ones who didn’t use contraception while engaging in premarital sex, at least the knuckleheads in my crowd, were not doing so out of religious conviction.
Nah, you’re not misunderstanding my question. I’ve known several Catholics who conceived children while engaging in premarital sex, and whenever I’ve discussed the matter with them as to why they had unprotected premarital sex, the explanation was usually “artificial birth control is a sin!” (And having premarital sex isn’t, and having a child you are incapable of supporting is a dandy idea? Huh?)
I don’t think this is confined to Catholics. I think what can happen is this. Girl is brought up to believe that sexually active unmarried women and girls are sluts; good people don’t behave that way. She sokes up this attitude as young, not-interested-in-sex-yet kid. When she develops an interest in sex, she’s conflicted. She wants to have sex, yet believes that acting on this desire will make her a bad person. Result: unprotected sex. She can tell herself that she’s still a good person – because she didn’t mean to do it, it “just happened”. I think most girls eventually outgrow this stage and start using contraception. If they’re lucky, they wise up before they get pregnant.
The other half of the equation is often a boy who assumes that contraception is “the girl’s job” and does not even ask, "are you using birth control? or “should I use a condom?”
If a pregnancy does occur during this phase (of needing to believe that one isn’t responsible due to not having intended to “do it”), saying that “birth control is against God’s law” is, I suspect, just a handy excuse. When asked a very personal question, such as “why didn’t you use birth control?”, people don’t necessariy tell the truth. They are apt to say whatever they think people will accept as a reasonable reason (and therefore stop asking prying questions). Often, I suspect, people don’t really know why they do the things they do (and don’t do the things they don’t) – and many have NO desire to introspect.
Lots of things about Catholicism boggle me, but this isn’t one of them.
Eva Luna, the argument that you are presenting is nothing at all to do with Catholicism which is very very clear that pre-marital sex is not permitted. So, no contradiction at all, and not really a debate IMO.
Unless you can show me that is the official position of the RC Church, and I think you can’t, then all you have shown here is that some of your friends are (a) Catholic, and (b) inconsistent and contradictory in their beliefs and practices.
People accomodate their beliefs to their convenience all the time. Are you surprised by the fact that many (if not most) people are not always coherent in their beliefs and practices?
Just to clarify, most of the guys I hung around with were adherents of a sub-sect of Catholicism whose major commandment was, “Thou shalt not get your girlfriend pregnant, lest ye find yourself in a world of shit.”
Not using contraceptives for my pals was not a function of their moral aversion to the practice. It was more indicative of the forethought and planning they typically brought to most endeavors. If they found themselves in a situation where, miracle of miracles, they had a willing partner, they weren’t going to let a little thing like possibly destroying their futures stand in the way.
On the plus side, we were a pretty good crowd to have a beer with.
No, I’m not surprised at all; I was just wondering if that was the only explanation, or if I’d been missing something all this time, since my formal background in Christian theology basically consists of repeated listenings of the *Jesus Christ Superstar * soundtrack and whatever I gained by osmosis as a Spanish major.
BTW, “possibly destroying their futures” was how we viewed that unrealized eventuality at that point in our simple minds. In reality, there were some babies, there were many different ways of responding to the situation, and it was all good in the end.