An interesting comeback often heard if one confronts a diehard Catholic defender of papal anti-contraceptive dogma, is that the Church DOES allow a "natural form" of contraception. Hence, if we in the opposition - including atheists, humanists, and other Christians not so throwback - had any sense, we'd see the light and stop fussing. Yeah, well....a few things about that!
Ogino-Kaus or "the rhythm method" is accepted by the Church because it is deemed the only “natural” way to control births. This is beause there are no “unnatural” paraphernalia getting in the way- like pills, diaphragms, condoms etc.. But as numerous observers have noted such as biologist Elizabeth A. Daugherty who has asked ('The Lessons of Zoology'. in Contraception and Holiness, p. 110):
"Why do we call secondary the ends of the sexual act which have been accorded in fullness to us, and why do we call primary the end which we share with the lower animals?"
She's referring to the fact that the core of Pius XI's encyclical Casti Connubii (see prior blog) is that the "sin" of artificial contraception inheres in making primary a sexual aspect that in reality is only "secondary". According to that pontiff:
"Since therefore the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature."
Which is total bollocks. As Daugherty notes in her chapter what the pontiff and his ilk really seek to do is reduce humans to the state of lower animals, at the behest of their "natural" reproductive cycles. In this sense, unlike the lower animals, humans have the intellectual capacity and sense of novelty to introduce a vast variety of pleasure-play into their sex relations. They aren't harnessed by a primitive instinct to simply mount and hump at specific times. As Daugherty notes (pp. 96- 97):
"After ovulation, all mammallian females are under the influence of progesterone from the corpus luteum. This is a period of rapidly declining estrogenic activity which ends the sexual receptivity of the lower mammalian female, whether or not fertilization occurs. But (in humans) marital relations continue during this progesterone -dominated period before the abrupt onset of menstruation. It is the period of lowest estrogenic activity and the progesterone-dominated period after ovulation which are known as the 'safe period' for marital relations."
This then, is what Ogino-Kaus seeks to do, establish the "safe period" for a particular woman and then ordain that this is the time to safely have sexual relations if one wishes not to have any kids. The trouble is, it requires meticulous temperature taking at various times during a cycle to establish where that safe period begins and ends, and often this will be for no more than 10 days or so in a given month. Presumably, the couple is quite happy to do without sex the other two thirds of the time!
Thus, the moralizers of the Vatican are actually demanding that married couples act UNNATURALLY, since as Daugherty observes (ibid.):
"Humans are free from physiologically determined sexual desires so we possess a more or less permanent sexuality from adolescence to old age."
Indeed! But the Church and its robed minions seeks to dictate that despite being sexual or having sexual desires from adolescense until old age, her members are only free to discharge those desires under certain limited times and limited conditions. For example, teens who have such exploding desires on account of their hormones are warned they cannot even masturbate to relieve them because those organs are only allowed to morally function in the state of marriage. Then....once married, the couple is informed they may only use their sexual capacities only if they are open to conception....unless they use the rhythm method. (Which, by the way, is an extremely complex system to expect a villager in sub-Sahara Africa to adopt, and in any case won't protect against AIDS now ravaging that continent).
Again, the Vatican is seeking to harness humans to the lower mammalian level. But why be surprised? This has been a characteristic of the Vatican's thinking for millennia. As Julian Pleasants has observed (op. cit., p. 88) the Vatican has always been hostage to "Aristotelian modes of thought which tend to fix behaviors within very limited and fixed definitions and categories."
Thus, the Church once believed it "natural" that some men be enslaved because they were unable to manage their own affairs. So, why be surprised when the same Church seeks to ordain all her members abide by a sexuality more fitting of lower primates? In light of this it was hilarious to read in the Sunday Denver Post ('Godliness of Rhythm Method Touted', p. 2B) that according to "Catholic family planning expert" Janet Smith:
"Family planning practices taught by the Church respects the way God makes bodies"
Which is total hogwash. Smith claims that "rather than taking a pill or wearing a patch, natural family planning relies on women monitoring changes in their menstrual cycle that indicate when they are most fertile."
Ah yes, Smithie, so harried women with five or six kids and in a rush to get to work and then come home exhausted will be completing a temperature v. time of the month chart such as shown in the D. Post photo accompanying your codswallop. Are you effing nuts? Smithie evidently does have her converts though (just as Mitt Romney and his wife seem to have with married women voters - according to recent polls - but that's for another blog) as one brain-addled mom opines:
"Hey! It's eco-friendly. It's free! It's easy!"
Errrrmm.....not quite! Unless you have the time (like Anne Romney) to waste on making temperature -time ovulation charts via taking temperatures 3x a day over the month! Also, it's "eco-friendly" ONLY if it works! One misstep or missed temperature or even a reading off by 1 C will yield a baby who will, according to stats from Population Connection, gobble up roughly 170 hectares of resources in his or her lifetime. So the only thing true is that it's "free" (unless of course, a mom counts time as money!)
In the end, the Vatican, its Bishops and assorted bunkum pushers can claim all they want they have a natural method of family planning, but the reality is it's "natural" only to chimps, Capuchin monkeys, rhesus monkeys and similar denizens.
But hey! If you're happy emulating apes and monkeys in your sex life, by all means self-limit yourself and spread the hokum it's "easy" and "eco-friendly". With so many brainwashed people already inhabiting this nation, I'm sure a few million more would be easy to find. Fortunately, enough skeptics exist that it's unlikely the Church's nonsense will adversely affect more than a few thousand people at most. At least in this country!