Pro-life: is it for everyone?
Does our religion go against science? A lot of times, we have refused to defend the Church's stand on different issues because of our lack of knowledge, background, and lack of depth in church doctrines. Often, we feel that the issues that the Church is fighting for is only spiritually based and that they can hardly be connected to what can be physically explained.
Last January 23, I'm sure that a lot of us encountered many challenges in explaining our pro-life stand. Many of us at least know what Church is fighting for but a lot of us only have a superficial knowledge about the many issues surrounding it , the reasons behind it and the natural law that confirm the teachings. We have been asked these questions: 1) Why shouldn't Catholic school offer the use of contraception as a last resort when challenged with the temptation of pre-marital sex? 2) Did the Church get it wrong in stopping people to offer contraception to young people to avoid unplanned pregnancy now that many people see it as its cause? 3) What is wrong with abortion and how can we explain it to others especially those who aren't Catholics?
So why should we oppose contraception as an option for family planning? Other people will say that it is good to teach it anyway even in Catholic Schools since it is lessens the chances for more complications, such as unplanned pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted disease. We Catholics know that it can spiritually kill our souls just like what pre-marital-sex can do, and to promote the use of it is, in reality, forgetting that man has a soul to take care of.
Spiritual and Natural
Abortion is a serious sin and so is using contraception. Why? Because these are acts that use our body in ways that is not intended by our Lord.
Let us revisit the reasons behind the Church's unchangeable teachings on these two matters. The Church has always taught that human life starts from human conception and that men should protect and respect life from man's conception until death and so to abort life conceived in a mother's womb is to end a human life. And so for those who set aside faith and failed to see that to be pro-life is to defend human life in all it's stages, we try to plant a seed in questioning themselves "When do they think Human Life begins?". To understand the Church's stand against contraception, we have to know the purpose of sexual relations between married couple. Sex is 1) an expression of Marital Love where couples fully give themselves to one another 2) by it, man participates in procreation. The church has always taught that the use of contraception such as condom is wrong. Sexual relations is a natural expression of married couple to fully give themselves to each other and man's expression to always be open to life. This is also why pre-marital sex contradicts the reality and expression it symbolizes because one cannot fully enter into the giving of oneself without firstly giving to each other the vow of total self-giving until the couple part by death. To sinfully use things that contradicts the natural act of total self giving is contrary to the plan of God. Even without touching on spiritual matters, on the natural level, we can realize that contraception is against the natural design of things which closes the act to life by artificially controlling when to have and not to have babies. It also discourages the practice of discipline between couples and will also make couples susceptible in treating each other as mere objects of pleasure.
Role of faith on reason
With our lack of theological knowledge concerning the issue, and by letting ourselves be carried away by the widespread belief that these stands can only be defended on spiritual grounds, we hesitate in explaining these truths to our non-Catholic brothers and sisters in fear that we may be imposing our Catholic beliefs on non-Catholics.
Is our faith against reason? Do we abandon reason by blindly following our faith. Or do we believe that reason and faith are disconnected which would justify our inaction to live our faith? The Church illluminates us (Fides et Ratio) that Faith guides and perfects reason, Faith also makes man search for reason. We as creatures have limited capacity to know the truth. To rely on reason alone, as Pope John Paul II echoed, is to deprive our search of direction and of meaning. We need God to point us to the right direction, to give us the truth that man cannot attain by natural reason itself. Faith doesn't abolish reason but elevates it and guides it. With this harmony of truth and reason, we learn that they don't contradict each other but complements each other.
Don't be afraid to proclaim the universal Truth!
By acknowledging the roles of Faith and Reason, it should gives us confidence that faith gives meaning and purpose to natural things. Our Faith can guide even those who haven't fully accepted the Supernatural Revelation because faith awakens the natural sense we have for truth which God has put in everyone of us. Even if man's current depth of knowledge about things cannot fully explain what Faith demands, we recognize that even the imperfect knowledge that human has attained blends with the truth that our faith points to, just as Humane Vitae has foretold the the serious consequences of contraception even before the evil effects manifested in our times.
May we continue to let God perfect and bring fulfillment our reasoning. May we continue to preach the universal truth to defend the unborn and sanctity of human life.
-- my heart rejoices in the Lord!