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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Is it certain, further, that no such thing exists? Her book Intention aims to shed light on the concept of intention, and hence on intentional cyastity, and the difference between intentional, rational action and non-rational behavior.

The Christian Church has taught such an ideal of chastity: You can argue truly enough, for example, that general respect for the prohibition on murder makes life more commodious.

The trouble about the Christian standard of chastity is that it isn’t and never has been generally lived by; not that it would be profitless if it were. Action is not like this: And so also we ought to help one another and have co-operative pools of help: Certain practices have rules and these rules oblige us to behave in certain ways, but a exceptions can be made within the practices themselves, and b there is no obligation although there may be good reason to engage in these practices in the first place.

Implicitly, lasciviousness is over and over again treated as hateful, even by those who would dislike such an explicit judgment on it. For you use the rhythm method not just by having intercourse now, but by not having it next week, say; and not having it next week isn’t something that does something to today’s intercourse to turn it into an infertile act; today’s intercourse is simply an ordinary act of intercourse, an ordinary marriage act.

However, if we are talking about the unitive in the richest and widest human sense, the unity experienced by a good spousal coupling, we are talking about something of which the purely physical procreative striving is simply a necessary aspect. I will first ask you to contemplate a familiar point: Moreover, the institution of marriage sex expresses makes sense on account of its relation to children in general, even if, by a natural accident, no children were ever born from a given marriage.

In a sense, then, questions about intention are questions about the meaning of actions. Anscombe’s view of these things that both Church and Pope turn out to be so much better at conclusions than reasons: This occurs in a context in which Professor Anscombe rightly emphasizes that acts as intentional are in question. I’m making this point because I want to draw a contrast between two different types of virtue. Hence we would not think of contraceptive intercourse as an exercise of responsibility in regard to sex!

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Anscombeedited by Mary Geach and Luke Gormally. Thus, those who marry have, as we have the right to do, chosen a life in which, as St. St Thomas follows St Augustine and all other traditional teachers in holding that intercourse sought out of lust, only for the sake of pleasure, is sin, though it is venial if the intemperance isn’t great, and in type this is the least of the sins against chastity. And we should realize that heathen humanity tends to have a different attitude towards both.

In considering an action, we need always to judge several things about ourselves. Traditionally as she sees it the answer was God. The trouble about the Christian standard of chastity is that it isn’t and never has been generally lived by; not that it would be profitless if it were. That’s the range of sins against chastity which got this label “sin against nature”. Anscombe claim to know, and how dare she assert, that any and every act of “the homosexual sort” is a “rewardless trouble of the spirit”?

This is very far-reaching.

Discussion of “Contraception and Chastity”.

There are some parts of Prof. Christian moral teachings aren’t revealed mysteries like the Trinity. All other methods, Catholics were very emphatically taught, were “against the natural law”. Indeed, we understand that its major message to Catholics, on the rationale of the ban on contraception, is itself independent of religious premises, being rather an example of those “discoveries of reflection and reasoning when we think straight about these things” which constitute laws promulgated by God “in the enlightened human understanding when it is thinking in general terms about what are good and what are bad actions”: According to her interpretation of the rules and of the statements of the relevant politicians, traditional rules of war would be broken by the British Government if it went to war with Germany.

They went on to have seven children. The habit of respectability persists and old prejudices die hard. If we used the more precise terms just and useful then we could at least see that the debate was between the relative importance of justice and utility. Without the potential relationship to children it is difficult to see 1 why the arrangement should be life-long and 2 why the relationship should be restricted to two people.


In order that the race should continue it is necessary not merely that 5 Anscombe We have seen one example of this already, the distinction conttaception the pill and other methods being thought ridiculous, while that between rhythm and the pill is supposedly clear. Well, there remains the separate anscojbe to each and in an irremediably unhappy marriage, one ought still to love the other, though not perhaps feeling the affection that cannot be commanded. So that is the explanation of the curiosity that historically medical contraception was equated with homicide – it was equated with homicide because they thought it was that sort of thing, the sort of thing that destroying a fertilized ovum is.

There is not much ancient tradition condemning contraception as a distinct sin.

Discussion of “Contraception and Chastity”. |

Williams and Tanner disagree, but as I have said their argument is not to the point. But soon there is something of a human shape; and anyway this is the definite beginning of a human being or beings in the case of a split – where you get twins – the split occurs soon, at least within two weeksand if you perform an abortion at chaatity early stage all the same you are destroying that human beginning.

St Augustine indeed didn’t write explicitly of any other motive than mere sensuality in seeking intercourse where procreation isn’t aimed at. Why, in any case, should she suppose that she knows these sorts of thing to be true? This is the example that Anscombe uses most often.

G. E. M. Anscombe (1919—2001)

Any type of wrong action is “against the natural law”: But if such annd are all right, it becomes perfectly impossible to see anything wrong with homosexual intercourse, for example. But Athenagoras, the Ecumenical Patriarch, who has the primacy of the Orthodox Church, immediately spoke up and confirmed that this was Christian teaching, the only possible Christian teaching.

And how many miseries and hang-ups are associated with loss of innocence in youth!